The Smolov cycle is finally over. It was a tough and grueling six weeks. Now that itís behind me, I can say that completing this has given me a nice sense of accomplishment.
As you know, I did Pavelís ďtameĒ Smolov on the Bench Press and Squat, and added a few other things around them. You can find out about the Smolov anywhere on the net. Pavelís version is simply the 3 week base meso stretched over 6 weeks. I also did the loading part of a Russian peaking cycle on the Deadlift. Hereís how I organized it:
MON & THURS
Shoulders and Triceps
TUES & FRI
Back and Biceps
Hereís a rundown of how each day looked.
Bench Press (Smolov)
Incline DB Press
Lying Tricep Extension
I started with the Bench work. I originally wanted to do the JR set/rep scheme, but I just went ahead and tried the SR. I didnít have any trouble with it in the first week, so I stuck with it. The assistance lifts I listed were the norm, though I dropped things if I felt tired. As the weeks went on, more and more stuff got dropped. I started to have trouble making all the reps in week 4. I needed a spot on the last two sets of the 7x5 and 10x3. Week 5 was fine, but in week 6 I started missing reps all over the place. I had to drop the weight on both days to get all the reps in. If I had to do it again, I wouldnít be as ambitious with all the assistance stuff. That said, all the assistance stuff kept going up until the very end.
EZ Bar Curl
Very hard, but I never missed a rep. There were several occasions I thought there was no way I was going to finish the work, but I made it. The assistance stuff moved along to the very end as well. Again, the assistance stuff I listed was the norm and things got dropped if I felt tired. This was the better day of the two.
Also, about a year ago it was my goal to squat 300 LBS for 5 reps. At the end of the cycle I ended up doing 325 for 7 sets of 5, so although it's late, mission accomplished.
Deadlift (Load cycle)
This day went off without a hitch. The first week I was able to complete with a regular grip, but as the weeks went on I had to change to an alternate grip earlier and earlier into the workout. The last two weeks I did exclusively with an alternate grip. Never felt like I was going to miss a rep. Good times.
Hereís a few random thoughts about the Smolov portion:
1) After the first micro, I thought there was no way Iíd be able to add 5KG to the Bench and a whopping 10KG to the Squat in the second. Sure enough, the next micro didnít feel any more difficult than the first. The third and last micro, which added 2.5KG to the Bench and 5KG to the Squat, proved to be noticeably harder. Well calculated Mr. Smolov.
2) The 4x9 and 5x7 days felt like a mental and physical break. The 7x5 and 10x3 were grueling torture. The last 10x3 Squat work took, including warm-ups, 80 minutes. Itís inhuman, but puts hair on your chest.
3) I timed my rest periods. First micro: 2-3 minutes; Second micro: 3-4 minutes; Third micro: 5-6 minutes.
Hereís a few random thoughts about the assistance portion:
1) I was too ambitious on Bench day. It was just too much for my shoulder griddle to handle for the full six weeks. The last week proved that. If I had to do it again, Iíd tone it down considerably.
2) Putting back exercises on Squat day was fine. I had no problems doing Deadlifts the day after either. Good times.
3) I started with three higher rep sets in week one, and progressed down to five lower rep sets in week 6. I took a lot of sets to failure or at least one rep shy.
4) I timed my rest times to 1-2 minutes, depending on the day. I did this to keep things moving and to keep the workout times relatively reasonable.
5) It was a fun throw-back to do all these BBing exericses. Armageddon was legendary. Great pumps
By the time week 5 rolled around I started to see some minor signs of overtraining. Besides the fact that I started to miss reps on the Bench, my shoulders started to ache slightly and my sleep patters werenít optimal. By the middle of week six these signs were even more so. I started to dread the sessions, my knees also started to ache a little bit, sleep was getting worse and my appetite started to wane. Worst of all my resting heart rate has increased somewhat. These things are all minor and will be back to normal soon enough.
I also ate like I meant it the whole way through. I wanted to gain about 10 LBS but I gained 17 LBS instead, putting me at 218. I was more concerned with supporting the training and satisfying my constant hunger pangs. I did have a certain amount of food that I wanted to get down every day, and some days were easier than others, but if I was still hungry I just ate more. Realistically speaking, I probably ate somewhere between 3800 and 4500 per day during the week, and less on the weekends. The 17 LBS is all over me. Iím bigger everywhere, including my waistline. My arms are about an inch bigger, just shy of my PR of 17 Ĺ, and my legs and chest are at least an inch bigger than theyíve ever been before. To be honest, itís not all that comfortable with legs this size. My jeans arenít nearly as comfortable around the thighs as they used to be. The were expensive too.
Iím going to taper over the next 4 weeks and test around the 20th or 21st of June. Iíll figure something out over the next few days. Itíll be similar to how I tapered after the Sheiko program, but Iíll include a few more heavy attempts along the way this time. Iím also going to lose some weight as well; try to get down to about 205-210. I eventually want to get back to 198 (90KG) as thatís the ďweight classĒ I feel most comfortable in, but thatís too ambitious for myself in this time frame.
Iíll update if something significant happens.
Thanks for reading,