SMOLOV JR. BENCH PROGRAM REVIEW (2021)

Introduction

Smolov Jr. bench press and squat program are a condensed version of the Smolov 14 Week Squat Program. It lasts only three weeks and you can run the three week routine two times as long as you take a one week deload between each cycle. Smolov Jr. program is high frequency, you will be training 4 days per week, not only that it’s high volume training performing a total of 136 reps during the three week bench program and 133 reps for the squat program.

Considering it’s just three weeks and your performing only your competition bench and squat (no variations) for 30-36 reps per session between 70-98% of your 1RM. This is demanding as hell!!!! It’s like Sheiko on acid!

The Smolov Jr. is based on the principles of the original 2001 “the Russian Master of Sports” Sergey Smolov Squat Program. The difference its only three weeks instead of 14 weeks taking only the Base Mesocycle from the Smolov Squat Program and leaving out the rest. Lifters who run and FINISH the Smolov Jr. report that they add 10-25 kilograms to their squat personal best and 7.5-12.5 kilograms to their bench press.

The killer is you are training four times per week for the squat and the bench press program. This is manageable for the bench press, however it can be very taxing for the squat program. Especially advanced lifters with bigger Personal Bests (300 kilograms or more. Normally the recommended frequency for squatting at sub-maximal loads is 1-2 times per week. But four times per week performed at high volume and high intensity is hellishly challenging.

The Smolov Jr. program is not for beginners – this program focuses on progressive overloading training at high frequency, high volume and high intensity and would not benefit a true novice/beginner lifter. Once you develop the muscle memory and your form and technique is as close to perfect for you as possible, then try this program. This is a later staged Intermediate to Advanced lifter program.

Program Overview Table

DayBench Program
(set x rep)
WK 1-3 % RangeTotal
Reps

P.W.
Squat Program
(set x rep)
WK 1-3 % RangeTotal
Reps

P.W
Monday4×970-80%366×670-74%36
Wednesday5×775-85% 357×575-79% 35
Friday7×580-90% 35 8×480-84%32
Saturday10×385-95% 3010×385-88% 30
Total136133
Smolov Jr. Reps x Percentages Table (P.W.=Per week)

The main difference between both program’s is you’ll be performing fewer reps per set for the squat program when compared to the bench program (with exception to Saturday). In addition, the squat program intensity is slightly less than the Bench Press program and overall volume is slightly less. As seen below you will be progressively overloading by more weight each week for the bench press program than the squat. Thus why the intensity is greater for the bench press program than squat program.

Weekly Progressive Overload (kg/lbs)

WeekBench PressSquat
1xx
210 kg (20 lbs)5-7.5 kg (10-15 lbs)
35 kg (10 lbs)2.5-5 kg (5-10 lbs)
Smolov Jr. Progressive Weekly Overload in Kg and Lbs

Weekly Schedule

  1. Monday – high volume/Low sub-maximal loads (RPE 9.5)
  2. Tuesday – REST (no exercise)
  3. Wednesday – medium volume/mid sub-maximal loads (RPE 10)
  4. Thursday – REST (no exercise)
  5. Friday – low-mid volume/high sub-maximal load (RPE 10)
  6. Saturday – Low volume/Maximal Loads (RPE 9)
  7. Sunday – REST (no exercise)
Program Review: Stronger by Science 28 programs: weightroom
R.P.E Scale VS Percentage One Rep Max

When you benchmark the number of reps per set against the percentage of 1RM on the above R.P.E scale every session will be at an R.P.E range of 9-10. Meaning you will be training at maximal effort or maybe/definitely could do one more rep. This is why this program is torture – your performing high volume sets, at high intensity (percentage of 1RM) for high frequency (training the lift four days per week) every week. No deloading, no introductory phase, no rest week just all out for three weeks, 9 training sessions four days per week.

Accessory work?

The creators of the Smolov Jr. program recommend skipping accessory work whilst undertaking the program. The volume and frequency will be taxing enough and will assist in muscle growth and strength adaptation. The days between each training session is for recovery, if you start using these days to perform variation lifts, accessory exercises, cardio and bodybuilding fluff routines then you will eat into your recovery and rest time.

It WILL 100% effect the end result of undertaking this program and possibly even stop you from completing the three week program. REMEMBER: it’s just three weeks and it’s an intensive program – if you can’t go three weeks without bicep curls, tricep extensions and chest flyes then this program is NOT for you.

Summary

  • Make sure you rest three-five minutes between each set to restore and replinish your ATP reserves.
  • Sleep a minimum of eight hours.
  • Don’t cut or calorie deficit or fast when undertaking this program; make sure you are getting a steady supply of proteins, carbs and healthy fats.
  • Don’t train on your rest days – they are for recovery!
  • Don’t perform any accessory or assistance lifts during the three week program.
  • Be organized for each training session and keep notes of your progress.

Tips for Smolov Jr.

  • If you fail a day, do not increase for the next week.
  • Use elbow sleeves for the bench press to help keep pain away while benching.
  • Use knee sleeves for the squat program to maintain healthy knee joints and keep the pain away!
  • Do not start too heavy, especially if you are not used to such high frequency! Choose your true one rep max and be conservative.

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