What is Smolov Jr ?
In its essence, Smolov is a high frequency, high load, focused rep scheme for advanced lifters to push one of their main lifts. Usually, it is used in powerlifting. The Smolov Jr name is a result of the program being a the base cycle of its bigger brother. It lasts for a month and can be used as a bridge or focus program between two bigger cycles.
What is Smolov Jr ?
Smolov Jr is a shortened version if the Smolov routine which was made available to the public through Pavel Tsatsouline. The original smolov routine consists of four cycles. These cycles are the introduction cycle, base cycle, switching cycle & intensity cycle. While smolov stretches over a time of 13 weeks, Smolov Jr. can be finished in three. To achieve this you only take out the base cycle of the smolov routine and leave out all of the parts.
You will train four times a week doing 6x6, 7x5, 8x4 and 10x3 sets. As you will only train one of the main lifts, bench press, squat or deadlift, Somolov Jr. is considered to be a high-frequency program. If you wanted to pick the deadlift as the exercise of choice, please be careful, as high-frequency on deadlifts usually spells injury. This is already a program with higher than average injury risk, so be mindful of the double whammy if you were to do this rep scheme for deadlifts.
The other lifts will be put on hold and only trained to obtain to muscle memory for these lifts. You should be fine with throwing in 2 - 4 sets of five at a very low load just to keep the pattern oiled. Keep the accessory work and other lifts to a minimum and save the power for the focus that you pick for the program. This can be done on the off days of Smolov Jr
All this being said Smolov Jr is a program for advanced lifters. It is recommended to have at least two years of lifting under your belt before attempting this iconic Russian template. It gets especially tough in the last week when you have added about 10kg / 20 lbs to your starting weights.
If you map it out the rep scheme looks like this (take rest between day one and two and two and three):
The entire program is calculated based on your real one repetition maximum. This is not the time for hubris or prepared to be humbled. I recommend deducting ten percent of whatever number you think is your one repetition maximum and use that to map out your Smolov Jr cycle. When I did my first attempt at this program, I did not follow my own advice and had to help on too many sets with the Mark Bell Slingshot to get the volume done.
When to do smolov Jr ?
Smolov Jr can be a good tool to bust through a plateau. If you are facing a certain weight and it just won't go up on the more common 5x5 programs and you continuously fail to pass a mark, throwing in a focused Smolov Jr. cycle will help you to push through that barrier.
The other scenario to consider is when you injure yourself and can only do a certain amount of movement patterns until you are back to normal. For example, if you break your leg and you are a bit crazy and do not want to lose your entire gains, you might opt for smolov until you've healed. Always consult your doctor and this is definitely not recommended, but an option to train around injuries.
Is smolov jr hard to do ?
That depends on how you pick your numbers. If you do it as prescribed it is a very hard program to do. Definitely not something when you already feel tired, want to cut or put your body under any additional stress already. This is a program when you are well rested and mentally ready to get your ass kicked and push through. Enjoy!
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