Smolov Squat

Bar in Squat Rack - C. Knight / krider

My coach introduced me to the Smolov Squat plan just before I went away earlier this year. We decided (a small handful of us mad Kettlebell Sport people) to try it, and I worked it into my twenty-week plan post a relaxing holiday.

I worked through it for 13 weeks of those twenty, following the standard plan (downloadable at the above link). In fact, I incorporated that spreadsheet into my training sheets 🙂

My squat did increase by a decent percentage, but it is an odd program. Both myself and my coach found the first part harder than the second and both had a greater increase from the start to the part way one rep max test. This is despite a lot of posts about it saying that the hard part is considered the intense phase. It might be worth mentioning here that we were both still doing kettlebell and other training at the same time. The dynamic work in intro 2 and switching (see spreadsheet for clarifications) will have benefitted that more.

The plan has four phases. An introduction phase, base work, followed by a new one rep max test (one is needed before starting the plan to calculate weights to use), switching work, then a longer intense phase. Well, it feels longer 😉 With hindsight (at we all geniuses in this case?!) we both decided that it wasn’t the best plan to follow whilst trying to push kettlebell weights. If you want to read about the plan in Russian, knock yourself out 😉

I’m glad I did this plan, but I think for repeating linear progressions to add weight I’d look to something similar to the 5/3/1 plan instead. That, or make more of the intro/base/switching sections of the Smolov plan. It sounds very intimidating but actually works you brilliantly for adding both weight and dynamic motion.

If you are considering giving it a go, do consider what else you are doing around this plan. It will only work your legs and the back squat. It also takes a decent chunk of workout time. Not a bad thing per se, but you do need to know this to work it into your workouts. Doing things like trying to improve your deadlift at the same time may also not be that helpful!

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