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Q&A: Strength Programs: Smolov

Blog Article ImageQuestion: “Have you ever used the Smolov in your training?  If so, what are your thoughts on it?”

I have used Smolov. It is a very high volume squat program that is intended to produce large gains in the squat in a relatively short amount of time. I see very little use for Smolov in the strength athlete’s training regime. As mentioned, it is intended to produce large gains in the squat in a relatively short amount of time. Therefore, it should only be used when large gains in the squat are needed in a relatively short amount of time. However, even if this is desired, the athlete still has to recover from the very high volume of training and this is very difficult to do without performance enhancing drugs. Two common results of this program that I have seen among strength athletes are:
1. Injury – due to the high volume and consistently training in a non-recovered state
2. Quitting the program before it is finished because the athlete simply could not perform the required weights due to lack of recovery.

Other limitations of the program include the following:
*You cannot train deadlift while on the Smolov program – this obviously limits progress in your deadlift.
*It is very difficult to address lower body weaknesses while on this program. There is simply no room for things such as posterior chain movements to address weaknesses in the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings because the volume of squatting is so high.

The way I would apply this program to powerlifting is to do front squat, instead of back squat with it (easier to recover from and less load on the lower back), and I would run it in the off-season as a way to build a foundation for competition preparation training that would include back squats.

-Bryan Dermody, Powerlifter

Posted on November 5, 2014


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