Hold Fast Iron

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

Hold Fast Iron is dedicated to sharpening the lives of others.  

SMOLOV SQUAT CYCLE

The Smolov squat cycle was designed by the Russian Master of Sports Sergey Smolov. 

 

The full Smolov cycle is a brutal 13 week reckoning.  In the tables below, all percentages are based off your 1 rep max.  At a high level, the program consists of the following:

Weeks                                          Description

1 - 2                                                                                  Phase In

3 - 6                                                                                  Base Cycle

7 - 8                                                                                  Switching Phase

9 - 12                                                                                Intense Cycle

13                                                                                     Taper Week

Phase In

This initial two week phase is all about getting your body acclimated to doing heavy squats regularly.  None of these lifts should be too challenging, if so, you probably should make sure that you’re basing your numbers of your true and current maximum.  Leaving ample time to stretch your legs is highly encouraged during this period.  Since we keep the loads pretty light, it’s ok if you want to mix in some accessory work like plyometrics or lunges.

Week  Day   Lifts

1                 1                3 x 8 @ 65%, 1 x 5 @ 70%, 2 x 2 @ 75%, 1 x 1 @80%

1                 2                3 x 8 @ 65%, 1 x 5 @ 70%, 2 x 2 @ 75%, 1 x 1 @80%

1                 3                4 x 5 @ 70%, 1 x 3 @ 75%, 2 x 2 @ 80%, 1 x 1 @90%

2                 1                1 x 5 @ 80%

2                  2               1 x 5 @ 82.5%

2                  3               1 x 5 @ 85%

Base Cycle

Heavy squats 4 days a week.  This cycle will test what you’re made of.  It’s quite normal to see an uptick in appetite… go with it.  You need to properly fuel those muscles to maximize gains.  Your week-to-week increase should be based off how you feel.  If during the first week you feel fantastic, you don’t struggle at all with any of the sets, then go ahead and load an extra 20lbs onto the bar in week two.  At the other extreme though, if you’re failing sets in your first week, you’ll want to stay at the same weight in week two.  If you’re not at one of those two extremes, pick something in between

If week 2 felt fantastic, then add an additional 10lbs over what you used for week 3.  However, the same applies for week 3 as it did in week 2, if you’re failing sets – don’t increase the load!  Week 3 should be both physically and mentally challenging, if it isn’t you didn’t add enough weight.

Week       Day    Lift

3                          1                 4 x 9@ 70%

3                          2                 5 x 7@ 75%

3                          3                 7 x 5@80%

3                          4                 10 x 3@ 85%

4                          1                  4 x 9@70 + 20 pound increase from Week 3

4                         2                   5 x 7@ 75% + 20 pound increase from Week 3

4                         3                   7 x 5@80% + 20 pound increase from Week 3

4                         4                   10 x 3@ 85% + 20 pound increase from Week 3

5                          1                   4 x 9@70 + 30 pound increase from Week 3

5                         2                    5 x 7@ 75% + 30 pound increase from Week 3

5                         3                    7 x 5@80% + 30 pound increase from Week 3

5                         4                    10 x 3@ 85% + 30 pound increase from Week 3

6                         1                     Rest

6                          2                    Rest

6                          3                    Build to 1RM

6                         4                     Build to 1RM

 

Switching Phase

During this period you get to give your legs a bit of a rest from heavy loads.  You will focus on dynamic effort lifting during the switching phase.  This means you will work at about 50 to 60% of your new 1RM and concentrate on speed out of the bottom of your squat.  You can also use this window to cycle in some box squats and even do band work.

Intense Cycle

Hope you enjoyed your break from heavy loads during the switching phase because it’s time to get back to it now.  While we are dialing back our lifting days per week to 3, the loads are very heavy now and your percentages should be based off your newly acquired 1RM from week 6.  I’m not going to lie, this cycle is going to suck.  We don’t want you consistently failing reps though, so if this is the case, try reducing the loads a bit.

Week     Day      Lift

9                      1                1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 4@ 75%, 3 x 4@ 85%, 1 x 5@ 90%

9                      2                1 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 1 x 3@ 90%, 2 x 5@ 85%

9                      3                1 x 4@ 65%, 1 x 4@ 70%, 5 x 4@ 80%

10                    1                1 x 4@ 60%, 1 x 4@70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 1 x 3@90%, 2 x 4@ 90%

10                    2                1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 3@ 85%, 3 x 3@ 90%, 1 x 3@ 95%

10                    3                1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 4@ 85%, 4 x 5@ 90%

11                    1                1 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 5 x 5@ 90%

11                    2                1 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 2 x 3@ 95%

11                    3                1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 3@ 85%, 4 x 3@ 95%

12                    1                1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 5 x 5@ 90%

12                    2                 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 4 x 3@ 95%

12                    3                 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 4@ 90%, 3 x 4@ 80%

 

Taper Week

Ahhh… sweet relief!  This is the week you’ve been working so hard for and dreaming about since you started the program.  We’re going to get a little squatting in this week, but it’s mostly about resting, stretching and preparing yourself for your 1RM test at the end of the week.

Week         Day    Lifts

13                          1                 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 2 x 5@ 90%, 3 x 4@ 95%

13                          2                 1 x 4@ 75%, 4 x 4@ 85%

13                          3                 Build to 1RM