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Smolov Powerlifting Cycle

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The Smolov powerlifting cycle is an extremely demanding system of training that is known for getting results. If you run Smolov for squats, do not deadlift of perform any other posterior chain movements (good mornings, Romanian deadlifts, power cleans) during the cycle. The cycle looks like this:

  • Layoff or maintenance training
  • Introductory microcycle …2 weeks
  • Base mesocycle …4 weeks
  • Switching …2 weeks
  • Intense mesocycle …4 weeks
  • Taper …1 week
  • Competition

Introductory Cycle

The introductory cycle is two weeks, and prepares your body for the intense load to come.

Week 1 begins as follows…

(SETS x REPS x WEIGHT)
Monday 65% x 8 x 3, 70% x 5, 75% x 2 x 2, 80% x 1
Tuesday 65% x 8 x 3, 70% x 5, 75% x 2 x 2, 80% x 1
Wednesday 70% x 5 x 4, 75% x 3, 80% x 2 x 2, 90% x 1

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, perform lunges with the emphasis on getting a good stretch in the thighs.

During week 2, train on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Use 80-85% of your 1RM, and work up to a set of 5. Your goal is to be able to perform at least one set of 5 reps in the 80-85% range of your 1RM.

Please note that Smolov also believes you should be performing explosive drills during the introductory cycle. Drills may include: jumping over obstacles, broad jumping, etc. Avoid plyo jumping and anything else that can be brutal on the knees.

Base Mesocycle

Welcome to hell. It’s time to get it on. the following percentages are based on your 1RM without a suit.

Week 1

Monday …70% x 9 x 4
Wednesday …75% x 7 x 5
Friday …80% x 5 x 7
Saturday …85% x 3 x 10

Week 2

Monday …70% + 20-25 pounds x 9 x 4
Wednesday …75% + 20-25 pounds x 7 x 5
Friday …80% + 20-25 pounds x 5 x 7
Saturday …85% + 20-25 pounds x 3 x 10

Week 3

Monday …70% + 30-35 pounds x 9 x 4
Wednesday …75% + 30-35 pounds x 7 x 5
Friday …80% + 30-35 pounds x 5 x 7
Saturday …85% + 30-35 pounds x 3 x 10

Week 4

Monday …REST
Wednesday …REST
Friday …Prikida: work up to a near max single
Saturday …Prikida: work up to a near max single

Switching

If you survived the first 6 weeks of Smolov, your probably now have legs that look like tree trunks. Great job. But we’re not home yet.

The switching phase is a period of rest. You will not be performing a set/rep pattern. Instead, Smolov recommends that you perform…various jumps and hops,  deep squat jumps with a light barbell, moderate weight leg presses, squats with explosive thrust from the sticking point, etc. Perform all lifts and exercises in the switching phase with maximal explosion.

Smolov also recommends performing negative squats twice a week during this phase. Do NOT perform these explosively.

The switching phase is all about speed.

Intense Mesocycle

I know, I know. You froze when you read the work intense. What could be more intense then the base mesocycle? Ha! Comrade! Read on…

It is recommended that you train with full gear during the intense mesocycle.

NOTE: If you are dead 2 weeks into the intense mesocycle, you can cut back on weight by 5-7% WITHOUT cutting  down on sets or reps.

Week # 1

Monday …65% x 3, 75% x 4, 85% x 4 x 3, 85% x 5
Wednesday …60% x 3, 70% x 3, 80% x 4, 90% x 3, 85% x 5 x 2
Saturday …65% x 4, 70% x 4, 80% x 4 x 5

Week # 2

Monday …60% x 4, 70% x 4, 80% x 4, 90% x 3, 90% x 4 x 2
Wednesday …65% x 3, 75% x 3, 85% x 3, 90% x 3 x 3, 95% x 3
Saturday …65% x 3, 75% x 3, 85% x 4, 90% x 5 x 4

Week # 3

Monday …60% x 3, 70% x 3, 80% x 3, 90% x 5 x 5
Wednesday …60% x 3, 70% x 3, 80% x 3, 95% x 3 x 2
Saturday …65% x 3, 75% x 3, 85% x 3, 95% x 3 x 4

Week # 4

Monday …70% x 3, 80% x 4, 90% x 5 x 5
Wednesday …70% x 3, 80% x 3, 95% x 3 x 4
Saturday …75% x 3, 90% x 4, 95% x 4 x 3

Taper

Almost time for the competition. At this point, your wake up each night screaming, dreaming that your life has become one endless squat session after another.

Wear full competition gear during the one week taper period.

Monday …70% x 3, 80% x 3, 90% x 5 x 2, 95% x 4 x 3
Tuesday …REST
Wednesday …75% x 4, 85% x 4 x 4
Thursday …REST
Friday …REST
Saturday …REST
Sunday …COMPETITION DAY

Of course, most meets in west of Russia have meets on Saturday. Here is the recommended taper week for a Saturday meet…

Monday …REST
Tuesday …75% x 4, 85% x 4 x 4
Wednesday …REST
Thursday …REST
Friday …REST
Saturday …COMPETITION DAY

Smolov Powerlifting Cycle, 5.0 out of 5 based on 3 ratings

3 comments

  1. Ignore Jim Hooper. You don’t deadlift on this cycle but you can Bench, Press and other accessory exercises. BEWARE of anything that involves the primary squatting muscles. They will be destroyed, and this is why you don’t deadlift during the cycle. Don’t worry about your deadlift max. Increasing your squat by 100lb (is possible on this cycle for some people) will also increase your deadlift. In fact, your deadlift will probably be stronger than ever, even though you didn’t train it.

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  2. OK – stop and take a deep breath. If you squat only, and do no similarly intense training on BP or DL for the entire cylce . . . what do you suppose the chance are that you will perform miserably in a PL competition? If you guessed 100%, give yourself a cookie and a merit badge. Who posts this absurdity?

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