Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Smolov Squat Routine: Full Review

Well ladies and gents, I have reached the end of this 14 week Russian powerlifting program. It has been very vigorous and strenuous but also fun. I've had up days and down days suffering from illness and the aches and pains throughout joints and muscle. But progress has well and truly been made. I'll apologise straight off as unfortunately due to my gym's restrictions I was not able to take photos from the final session.

Results after Base cycle:

1 Rep Max (1RM) Gain: 30kg
Adaptation to large volume of workouts
Stronger back, core and legs.
Reduction in body fat

Results after switching cycle:

1RM Gain: 5kg
Explosive power increased
Reduction in body fat

Results after Intense cycle - end of program:

1RM Gain: 25kg
Gained mass to upper back and legs
Stronger back, core and legs
Reduction in Body fat


Total 1RM gain: 60kg

That's right, a huge 60kg increase over 14 weeks, although technically 12 minus the introductory cycle which isn't necessary. I feel so much stronger and actually have much more power to apply to my other lifts, even though I haven't been training them! 

My deadlift had increased by 15kg for example. The only thing stopping my deadlift progress is grip strength, I believe firmly in using just hook grip with no straps, so grip is extremely important in completing the lift. It would have been useful to incorporate some grip assistance work. I feel my bench may have slipped though as I didn't really focus on it.

My bodyweight hasn't changed much either, adding a couple of kilos, ignoring the 5kg weight loss from stomach flu. I've lost a large amount of body fat, become more defined in the process.

This program is incredible for all-round strength and power in a short time frame. Would not recommend for those who are building mass aka bodybuilders.

Very pleasing results, resulting in a 2.1x bodyweight squat RAW without any belt or wraps.


I will be using principles from this program to sculpt an ultimate strength program. I am actually going to take a week off and repeat the base cycle to see if I can add a further 30kg over the next 4 weeks. To match up the workouts and give a fair test, I will also be running the Smolov Jr. for bench routine simultaneously, which will be reviewed at the end. Assistance work will include grip strength, speed deadlifts and pull-ups.

If anyone actually reads this and has questions don't hesitate to comment and ask!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this review. How did it go with sculpting your ultimate strength program ?

    Second opinion on smolov here

    All the best