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Can you use Smolov for the deadlift? [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jan 9, 2018 10:00:00 AM



Can you use Smolov for the deadlift?

This is a short article looking into whether you should use the Smolov squat routine for the deadlift. The short answer is I personally would not recommend and would not be surprised if many experienced powerlifters agreed.

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The big three

The big three lifts are the squat, the bench press and the deadlift and are directly related to the sport of powerlifting. If you are in the Iron Game and want to improve you will look for any possible way to bring the numbers on these three up. You will find programs of all different sorts like
And much, much more. It can get quite hard to navigate the sometimes conflicting information to pick what is best for you. The main goal should be to get stronger while not getting injured if you take the game serious and want to be smart about it. You only have one back and if you break it you will miss it. 

The squat

Of the three lifts, the squat is the lift which most closely resembles what you do on a daily basis. The legs have been designed to carry the entire body and move a lot. It takes less effort for the nervous system to activate the legs and the weight in the squat can distribute on your entire spine. There is still a lot that you can do wrong with the squat and especially hip and ankle mobility can be big issues. All in all, this is the lift which produces the least problems and that is one of the reasons why Smolov originates here. The athlete is most likely to absorb the beating Smolov dishes out with the squat.

The bench press

The bench press is next in line and the lift of the three which is easiest to learn. Many people do the bench press in gyms all over the world because it is easy to learn and still feels bad ass. Not the same can be said about the squat and deadlift. The squat might well be the most complex of the three to be learned properly while being the safest if performed correctly. The bench press is demanding for the shoulder and lower back if performed in the powerlifting style. Smolov Jr is the go to program from the Smolov family to boost this lift. 

The deadlift

The deadlift is very popular with younger lifters or beginners as it is fairly easy to pull a lot of weight quick. Very often technique is poor and has to be fixed as backs are being rounded. The internet is full of these examples and discussion and I will not bother you too much with it. What has to be noted is that it is the most demanding of the three on your entire system. The nervous system is challenged to the utmost performing this lift and the intensity is high. Therefore most programs only prescribe a very little amount of deadlifting compared to the other two lifts.

Can you use Smolov for the deadlift

Yes, you can, if you want a broken back or permanent injury. Programming this much volume for the deadlift is a disaster about to happen and not recommended. Even for the squat, it is a lot of volume which increases injury risk. Please refrain using Smolov as a deadlift protocol as you will most likely hurt yourself in a bad way. If you are looking for a good program for deadlifts either read Deadlift Dynamite and follow the instructions of Andy Bolton, first man on earth to ever pull 1.000 pounds, or use the simple deadlift program written by Matt Kroc which I used to high satisfaction.


Yes, but don't....

Further reading

On Smolov

On deadlifts



Topics: Lift stronger, Smolov, Deadlift, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding