Last day of Smolov introductory microcycle
Today's goal was to do 5 reps at 85% 1RM. I'm using a 1RM of 475 for the first part of the program, so this worked out to about 405.
Free squats with med-wide stance (WL shoes, knee sleeves) - 45x5, 135x5, 225x5, (add belt) 315x3, 405x5 ... Not too difficult. Form stayed solid.
Front squats (held bar with straps until final set) - 135x5, 185x5, 225x8, (add belt) 255x5, 275x5 ... The straps were good for saving my wrists/fingers but I definitely could not hold the weight as well.
Standing abs - 100x25, 120x15, 130x10
Standing calves - did a few warm up sets of 20, then did 4 sets of 15-20 reps followed by another 10-15 forced reps (partner helped lift up the weight stack)
Sh!t squats (for soleus) - 3 sets of 8-12
Smolov base meso cycle starts Wednesday!
First day of Smolov base meso cycle
Free squat (knee sleeves, Do-Win shoes) - warm up then 335x9x4 sets ... I did the first 3 sets of 335 without my belt. It didn't seem to make much of a difference at this weight anyway. Moving the weight wasn't a problem but I was pretty out of breath by the end of the 4th set.
Bench - warm up then 265x6x6 sets ... This was freaking hard after squatting. My wrists were very shaky.
Dimel deadlits - 150x25,25, 20, 20
This took about 1.5 hrs including warm up
Calves on toe press machine - 10 sets of 10 reps + 5 stretched partials
Chins (just bodyweight) - 5 sets of 10 with various grips
Chest supported row - 120x16, 140x10, 160x8, 180x6
Cross body cable lateral raises - pin 2 x 20, 15, 12, 8
Reverse cable curls - 3 sets of 8-12
Preacher curl machine - 3 sets of 6-8
Smolov base meso cycle - week 1 workout 2
-- Changed things up by benching first today. This solved the shaky wrist problem and saved some time because we were able to do some lower body warm-ups for the squat (foam roll, and mobility stuff mostly) between sets of bench.
Bench (ring finger on ring grip) - 280x5x7 sets
... Easier than last workout. Trying to take each rep like it's a max single, lowering it quickly and exploding on the concentric portion.
Free squat (Do-Win shoes, TK knee sleeves) - 355x7x5 sets
... Squats felt good today. I only used my belt on the last set of 7, and again, it didn't seem to really make a difference. I'm guessing when I get to heavier weights it will help more. I think I need to work on staying more upright as I come out of the hole.
Dimel dead lifts - 155x25, 25, 20, 20
Took about 1.5 hrs again
Extra workout in my apt building's fitness room
Calves on leg press machine - pin 10x50, 12x50, 13x40, 14x40, 15x35, 16x30, 17x25, 18x25, 19x25, 20x25
Dual handle seated cable row, elbows flared to try to hit rhomboids/traps/rear delts more than lats - pin 12x20, 14x20, 15x20, 16x20, 17x20, 18x20, 19x20, 20x20 ... last 4 sets were challenging
Standing DB lateral raises - 8 lb dumbbells (only dumbbells in the fitness room) x 20 x 5 sets with 15-20 seconds between sets
Between sets I worked on mobility by sitting in a full squat position and pushing my knees out with my elbows and just shifting my weight around. I also tried to keep my spine as extended as possible. This is very challenging for me. My hamstrings, glutes, quads, and calves all feel very tight. I used my weightlifting shoes because without them, my ankle flexibility is so poor that I can barely keep my heels on the ground without falling backwards. I did 7 "sets" of 1 minute and 2 of 90 seconds. I also stretched my hip flexors, 3x1 minute each side. They've been getting tight from the free squatting but feel a lot better after stretching.
Smolov base meso cycle - week 1 workout 3
Bench - 300x4x8 sets
Squat - 380x5x7 sets
Used belt for last set only ... definitely noticed it helped this time.
Dimel dead lifts - 160x25, 25, 20, 20
Work sets of bench took about 25-30 mins and work sets of squat were about 30-35 mins total. With the bench warm-ups and dimel deads it took about 1.5 hours.
Tomorrow I have a block exam in the morning, then need to do 10 sets of 3 on both bench and squat. Gonna be a fun day!
Smolov base meso cycle - week 1 workout 4
Bench - 320x3x10 sets + a mis-loaded set of 310x3
Squat - 405x3x10 sets
No belt until last set. These were pretty challenging without the belt, and it felt much easier when I used it for the last set. I feel like by not using the belt I'm getting better at staying tight, especially in my abs and low back.
Dimel deadlifts - 165x25, 25, 20, 20
Tri rope pushdowns - 5 or 6 sets of 15-20 reps, just trying to do some easy work and get a nice pump
Oh and the exam this morning went well :-)
what is a block exam? congratulations on doing well on it!!!
nice work on the squats without the belt...the dimel's for such high volume feel good after the squats? is that movement just part of your program?
do you still have your training partner?
Our classes are divided into short "blocks" that are usually 2-5 weeks depending on how much content there is for that particular subject. So instead of "final exams" at the end of each quarter/semester we have an exam every few weeks at the end of each block. This course was endocrinology, reproduction, and metabolism.
The Dimels are not part of the program. Dead lifting is strongly discouraged during Smolov, but I figured that since Dimels are meant to be performed 4x per week, and the intensity is relatively low, it would be actually be a nice supplement. My low back and glutes are typically very pumped by the end of each session, but my recovery seems to be good so far. Over the next two weeks I'd like to slowly decrease the volume to 2-3 sets of 15-20 and raise the intensity to close 40%. If I feel like I'm not recovering we'll or that they're interfering with the squatting, I'll consider cutting back on them or dropping them completely.
I still train with Jon and have also been training with an undergrad (Brian) for a few months. Brian and Jon are at a similar strength level, which is nice for them. We are all struggling through this program together!
Smolov base meso cycle - week 2 workout 1
Bench - 275x6x6 sets
Much easier than last week. Benching first is definitely the way to go.
Squat - 355x9x4 sets
Didn't use the belt on any of the sets. These felt great. Jon said my back is staying very tight during all my reps.
Dimel dead lifts - 190x20x4 sets
Did about 30 mins of rolling/stretching/mobility stuff last night. Everything seems to be holding up so far.
Calves on leg press machine - pin 15x40, 17x30, 19x30, 20x30x4 sets
Dual handle seated cable row - pin 15x20, 18x20, 20x20x5 sets
Smolov base meso cycle - week 2 workout 2
Bench - 290x5x7 sets
Easy ... For fun I did my last set with a close (thumbs out from smooth) grip. To my surprise, it was by far the easiest and fastest set. I think with the high volume/frequency benching, my pecs and delts are recovering more slowly than triceps. I would guess if I took a week off the wider grip would feel a lot stronger. I'll continue to use a wider grip because I feel like part of the point of this program is to accumulate fatigue over 3 weeks and then have a supercompensation period in week 4.
Squats - 375x7x5 sets
All done with no belt. My squats just keep feeling better.
Dimel deadlifts - 200x20x4 sets
Pull-ups/chins - bodyweight only for 5 sets of 10 with various grips
Standing DB lateral raises - 25x20, 30x15, 35x11, 40x8
Cross body cable lateral raises - 3 sets of 8-10
Low cable rope curls (1-arm) - 3 sets of 8-10
Preacher curl machine - 3 sets of 8-12
Smolov base meso cycle - week 2 workout 3
Bench - 315x4x8 sets
Squat - 405x5x7 sets
No belt. These were tough but form stayed solid.
Dimel dead lifts - 210x20x4 sets
Workout took about 2 hours today. I was supposed to use 310 for bench and 400 for squat, but I felt like rounding up to a nice 3 plates and 4 plates. Tomorrow is 10 sets of 3 on both bench and squat.
Smolov base meso cycle - week 2 workout 4
Morning workout (10am)
Bench - 335x3x10 sets
These were hard. All the pressing muscles were aching. We did some light assistance work and stretching after this to help the muscles recover ->
Pec deck - 115x30, 145x25, 175x20
Tri rope pushdowns - 2 sets of 25
Seated overhead rope extensions - 2 sets of 20
"Triceps assassination" on the assisted pull-up machine (just pushing down the pad you usually stand on with a variety of grips) - pin 6 x 200 reps
Evening workout (7pm)
Squat - 430x3x10 sets
No belt. These were tough. I almost didn't make the 3rd rep of set 8.
Dimel deadlifts - 225x20x3 sets
Will be doing 3 sets or less from now on.
I used 5 lbs more than prescribed on the bench and squat again today.
Chest supp row - 120x20, 140x16, 160x10, 180x7
Wide grip lat pulldown - 150x20, 165x15, 180x12, 195x10, 210x8
Face pulls - 3 sets of 10-15
Standing DB side raises - 20x20, 15, 12
Reverse curls cable superset with regular curls - 3 sets of 8-12
Concentration curls - 25x8-12x3 sets
Spent 10 min in full squat position stretching
Smolov base meso cycle - week 3 workout 1
I'm still using 5 lbs more than the program calls for. I'll continue this until the end of the program.
Bench - 290x6x6 sets
For squat, I decided to work up to a heavier single with my belt on before the work sets. I just wanted to get a feel for heavier weights and using the belt before I test my max in a couple weeks. I might do this again in a week or so depending on how I feel.
Squat - worked up to 455 no belt, then 485 with belt ... felt solid
Work sets - 370x9x4 sets
Dimel dead lifts - 235x20, 235x15
The Dimels are catching up to me. My low back was still a little sore going into today's workout. If I don't recover well from these by Friday I will drop them entirely.
Smolov base meso cycle - week 3 workout 2
Bench - 305x5x7 sets
Easy. I played around with my grip again and tried everything middle finger on the ring to index finger on the smooth. Thumbs out from smooth felt the strongest, and index on smooth and middle finger on power ring grips actually felt about the same difficulty. Again, I think this is because my pecs are recovering less relative to my triceps, and I anticipate my regular competition grip will still be the strongest when I take a week off after the last workout of the meso cycle. 4x per week benching is clearly too frequent for optimal recovery, so I'm interested to see if taking a week off will really result in a kind of super-compensation when I'm able to rest enough to actually fully recover from all the volume I've been doing.
Squat - 390x7x5 sets
No belt. Felt good. I had some pain on my right tibial tuberosity after Wednesday's session, but it wasn't a problem today. [I had/have Osgood-Schlatter disease and my knees have always been super sensitive to stress or even directly applied pressure]
Dimel dead lifts - 245x20, 245x15
Smolov base meso cycle - week 3 workout 3
Bench - 325x4x8 sets
Squat - 415x5x7 sets
I wore my belt on the final set b/c I wanted to see how much it would help and I also need to get used to wearing it again. I helped quite a bit. I've gotten pretty good at staying tight without it, but I could tell it really helped me rebound out of the hole and just generally made things feel a lot easier.
No more Dimel dead lifts. I have one more workout left of the base meso cycle and then will test bench and squat 1RM in about a week from today. I'm really looking forward to getting back to doing some heavy dead lifts!
Chest supp row - 120x20, 140x15, 160x10, 180x8
Close grip pulldown - 180x12, 210x10, 225x8
Face pulls - 120x15x3 sets
Standing DB side raises - 20x15x3 sets
Reverse EZ bar curls with 3 sec contraction at 90 degrees - 65x8, 45x10
Superset with DB preacher curl (hammer grip) - 20x10, 8
Front double biceps curls on cable machine - pin 3 x 15, 10
Smolov Jr for bench - last workout
I was supposed to finish the base meso cycle for squats today too, but I decided to take an extra day to recover before the final squat workout.
Bench - 345x3x10 sets
Biceps started aching like crazy around the 6th set. Must be because I trained them earlier today.
After bench did a few easy sets of 20-30 for machine flys and rope pushdowns followed by stretching for chest/shoulders/tris.
Smolov base meso cycle - week 3 workout 4 (final workout)
Squat - 440x3x9 sets (put my belt on for the last set @ 440), then for set 10 I decided to have some fun and did 460x6 with my belt on ... my previous best for free squats was 455x5, which I did a few weeks before I hit 529 at the SB meet last year (it was turned down 2 to 1 for depth, but I still consider it my "gym PR"). I will test my max next Monday and am really looking forward to taking almost an entire week off heavy squatting!
Deadlifts (convo) - did several speed pulls, mostly singles, working up to 465x1. Mostly I just did these because I will be getting back to serious deadlift training next week and want to get used to pulling again.
Upper assistance work
Incline DB press - 70x15x4 sets
Bodyweight pull-ups with various grips - 10, 10, 10, 7, 7, 6
Pullovers - +230x16, 10
Superset with 1-arm stretchers - pin 4 x 10, 10
Tri rope pushdowns - a few warm up sets of 20 then pin 6 x 10 x 3 sets
Superset with incline DB L-extension - 25x8x3 sets
Cross body DB hammer curls - 55x10, 55x6, 45x8
Superset with EZ bar preacher curls - 55x10, 8, 6
Finished with a bunch of reverse EZ bar curls superset with regular EZ bar curls
ME Bench (1RM test after Smolov Jr)
Bench - worked up with pinkie on ring grip to 405x1 (PR for this grip)
425x1 with ring finger on ring grip (PR for that grip)
440x1 with middle finger on ring (all-time "gym PR", my butt came off the bench a little, but it also did on my previous best of 435)
315x9 (rep PR, used pinkie on ring grip)
Incline BB press - 185x8, 205x8, 225x6
Seated overhead DB press - 50x15, 12, 12, 10
Superset with face pulls - pin 7 x 15 x 4 sets
Tri rope pushdowns - did 3 sets of 10-15 on pin 7
Superset with stand DB lateral raises - 20x15, 15, 12
Jon and Brian both hit big PRs today and passed some important milestones!
Here's the link to the program as a reminder of what we did: http://www.seriouspowerlifting.com/2362/articles/smolov-jr
Jon's previous best was 285 and he used 275 as his 1RM for the 3-week program. He followed the program's recommendations of increasing the weights 10 lbs for week 2 and and additional 5 lbs for week 3. Today he hit 290, 300, and 310, all solid reps.
Brian had never tested his 1RM previous to this, but used 295 as his 1RM for the program (this was probably right around his true max). He increased the weights by 10 lbs for week 2 and an additional 10 for week 3. Today he did 300, 315 and 320.
I used a conservative 375 as my 1RM and increased the weights 10 lbs for week 2, added another 5 to everything half way through week 2, and an additional 10 for week 3 (so 25 lbs total). Based on how I felt during the last few workouts, I thought I'd max around 405. I guess I was just really beat up from 12 bench sessions in 20 days and really did get some nice supercompensation after a 6 day rest.
The heaviest weight I used for the whole program was 345 for 10 sets of 3, so I feared my CNS would not be prepared for heavy weights. I did make it a point to try to lower the weights quickly and be explosive on the presses, so maybe that helped. The only part of the program that I felt was hard were the 10 sets of 3 days, which always fell one day after the 8x4 days. The weights always moved well on these days but I had this like deep nagging pain in my arms on these days, probably just from overuse of everything.
Overall, I'm pretty impressed that everyone had such great results from just 3 weeks of high volume, very simple training, and I would definitely consider running this again further down the line. I'm also considering how to incorporate some higher volume pressing into my routine.
Great results Jay....nice job again on trying out all sorts of different routines!
ME Squat (test after Smolov base meso cycle)
Squat - warm up then 495x1, 530x1 (1 lb PR!), 545x0 (got stuck coming out of the hole) ... only a 1 lb PR but I'm happy about this considering my squat was probably below 500 a few weeks ago and I only used 475 for my training max. I believe I am capable of more, but I felt a bit burnt out today. I think I built up a very strong base during this cycle (particularly because I didn't use a belt) and I'll be able to really build up some maximal strength now by incorporating speed and ME work.
Back off set - 455x4 ... felt much harder than 460x6 did last week after 440x3x9 sets ... weird
Pause squats (no belt, went down and had spotter call me up after a 2-count on each rep) - 315x8x3 sets ... these were hard!
Jon and Brian both hit big PRs. They used 335 for their training maxes for this cycle and maxed out at 370.
Overhead press (strict form) - 45x10, 95x10, 135x10, 10, 9, 8
Front squat - 45x5, 135x4, 185x3, 205x5, 225x5, 245x4, 275x3, (add belt) 305x1, 335x1 ... I was planning on doing less sets and more reps, but I was having trouble holding the bar today (flexibility issue). 335 was fairly easy and was 5 lbs off my PR.
Drag curls with EZ bar - 4 sets of 8-12
Standing front double biceps curls - 4 sets of 10-15
Superset with V-bar triceps pushdowns - pyramided up in sets of 30->15 reps
Incline DB curls - 3 sets of 10