My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / ideas?

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tjon.lichy
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My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / ideas?

Post by tjon.lichy » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:12 am

So, here I am, trying to figure out the best way to do my very first Smolov Jr for Bench Press. Hoping, of course, to get my bench press better, as it hasn't really improved during last six months (which is not the case with squat and deadlift which are steadily progressing).

I'd really appreciate if someone could critique a bit my take on this routine. I'm a bit lost with what kind of assistance work, if any, I should be doing during three weeks of Smolov. My guess is that some read deltoid and rotator cuff stuff can't hurt, though it would be great if someone who has gone through Smolov Jr could give any insight in this.

My take on Smolov Jr looks like this (all weights in kg which you can convert, roughly, to lbs, by multiplying values with 2, though I don't think the exact weights are the issue here), I'm going conservative on squat the moment due to an ankle injury:
.
                              Week 1              Week 2             Week 3	
Sun	Bench               6 x 6 x 62.5      6 x 6 x 67.5       6 x 6 x 72.5
	Cable rev. fly      6 x 6 x 20         6 x 6 x 25         6 x 6 x 30
Tue	Bench               7 x 5 x 67.5       7 x 5 x 72.5	7 x 5 x 77.5
	Cable rev. fly      7 x 5 x 20         7 x 5 x 25         7 x 5 x 30
	Squat               5 x 42.5            5 x 42.5            5 x 42.5
                            5 x 52.5            5 x 52.5            5 x 52.5
                            3 x 62.5            3 x 62.5            3 x 62.5
                            5 x 67.5            5 x 72.5            5 x 80
                            5 x 80              3 x 85              3 x 90
                            5 x 90              3 x 95              1 x 100
        Rotator cuff work with resistance band
Thu	Bench               8 x 4 x 72.5       8 x 4 x 77.5       8 x 4 x 82.5
	Cable rev. fly      8 x 4 x 20         8 x 4 x 25          8 x 4 x 30
Fri	Bench              10 x 3 x 77.5	10 x 3 x 82.5	10 x 3 x 87.5
	Cable rev. fly     10 x 3 x 20        10 x 3 x 25        10 x 3 x 30
	Deadlift            5 x 60              5 x  60             5 x  60
                            5 x 77.5            5 x 77.5             5 x 77.5
                            3 x 92.5            3 x 92.5             3 x 92.5
                            5 x 100              5 x 107.5          5 x 115
                            5 x 115              3 x 122.5          3 x 130
                            5 x 130              3 x 137.5          1 x 145
        Rotator cuff work with resistance band
Some specific questions for those of you who are more experienced:

What kind of an assistance exercises I should be looking at for read deltoids? The rear deltoid exercise of my choice is now reverse cable fly, as I've done bent over rows for quite some time and think a three week hiatus from any rowing might be a good idea at this point. Done very little of reverse cable flys, so weight is just a guess (it might as well be 15 kg or 35 kg as far as I know, I've been doing bent over rows with 75 kg).

Should I do something more than just light resistance band exercises for rotator cuffs?

Should I be doing some totally different assistance exercises? Something like cable pulldowns for my latissimus dorsi maybe?

I'm used on doing 10 - 20 reps on assistance work and decided to give a go to a different approach ie. keep my assistance reps on the same range as my main exercise (which for next three weeks will be bench press only). Now is this scientifically proven to be a bad idea and great way to major pain and failure? It seems that pretty much everywhere it's recommended that assistance exercises should be performed with less sets and more reps -mentality.

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by Jungledoc » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:56 pm

Sorry, mate. This leaves my head spinning. I think that these are mostly questions that only you can answer. How is it working for you? Is the assistance work you're doing helping? Is there something else you'd like to accomplish? What are you trying to accomplish now? Do you want to try different assistance? Then try it.
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:53 am

actually...
if you've been on the internet for more than 3 months you know folks don't usually read long posts from new posters that involve too much thinking. We don't know you well enough to give usueful advice to that level of detail

Heck, my posts are barely read

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by hoosegow » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:33 am

Let me start off by professing my ignorance on Smolov. So take this with a grain of salt...

From what I understand, this is ONLY for 1 three week cycle designed to help you bust through a sticking poing on a particular exercise. With the volume of heavy weight you are doing, I'd stick with it ONLY for one cycle. I imagine after your third week, you are going to be pretty beat up.

Consequently, since it is only a three week program, I don't think the auxilliary stuff is all that important. For your delts, I'd add some sort of shoulder press work, but go light. As I said, you are doing a lot of work on the bench so your shoulders will pretty taxed as well.

Out of curiosity, where is your sticking point?
Thanks TimD.

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by Jungledoc » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:12 am

Oscar_Actuary wrote:actually...
if you've been on the internet for more than 3 months you know folks don't usually read long posts from new posters that involve too much thinking. We don't know you well enough to give usueful advice to that level of detail

Heck, my posts are barely read
Oscar, I read every one of your posts. Several times. I pore over them, savor them, memorize some of them. :grin:
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:15 pm

cheers, mate

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by tjon.lichy » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:25 am

hoosegow wrote:Let me start off by professing my ignorance on Smolov. So take this with a grain of salt...

From what I understand, this is ONLY for 1 three week cycle designed to help you bust through a sticking poing on a particular exercise. With the volume of heavy weight you are doing, I'd stick with it ONLY for one cycle. I imagine after your third week, you are going to be pretty beat up.

Consequently, since it is only a three week program, I don't think the auxilliary stuff is all that important. For your delts, I'd add some sort of shoulder press work, but go light. As I said, you are doing a lot of work on the bench so your shoulders will pretty taxed as well.

Out of curiosity, where is your sticking point?
My sticking has been and still is 90kg 1RM bench press. I did four months 5/3/1 during autumng and thought why not give something else a try for a while. I did start low, yet got only back where I was before with bench press, so obviously I did something wrong or 5/3/1 just isn't for me when it comes to bench -- works nicely on squat and deadlift, though.

My idea is that I'll do exactly one round of Smolov Jr for bench and then go back to 5/3/1 for the next few months again to see if my high volume three weeks have helped at all.

And yes, I realize that this was a shot in the dark, so thanks for comments, really.

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by hoosegow » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:50 pm

What I meant on sticking point is where in the bench motion are you failing?
Thanks TimD.

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by hoosegow » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:58 pm

And another thing (I should have asked this first), what does your diet look like? If you are truly not making progress and are really putting in the work, I'd question your diet.
Thanks TimD.

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by uggy » Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:31 am

http://exrx.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8429" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There is my result from it.

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by tjon.lichy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:25 am

After my 1st week of Smolov Jr I thought to put out a few lines of reflection how things are progressing. This may (or may not) be interesting to some older lads out there.

First impression is that doing bench press for four times per week is definitely a good idea. Even if it doesn't help on anything else, it most definitely will give you a good chance of honing your technique because of high frequency of exercise (I suppose it's an accepted fact that for technical skills you should train at least three times a week). Having said that, I also notice that at the age of 38 it's still possible to recover from four workouts per week, even though I was a bit sceptical about this at first. I'm still sceptical about how long this is possible and have certain doubts about week number 3 when weights are going to get closer to my 1RM maximum.

Having oscilated quite a bit about any or what kind of assistance exercises I should be doing, I finally settled down for doing pretty much the absolute minimum: on sundays I do bent over rows with overhand (wide) grip and weighted chin-ups (6x6 as in BB), tuesdays chip-ups at bw and face-pulls, thursdays chin-ups at bw and cable reverse flyes and on fridays weighted chin-ups. The reason for this is that why just do smolov jr on bench press when instead you can hone your chip-ups at the same time? Answer seems to be there is no excuse for not doing both at the same time.

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by tjon.lichy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:30 am

hoosegow wrote:What I meant on sticking point is where in the bench motion are you failing?
I'd say it's about 15 centimeters off my chest. I'd say it's the point where the load of the movement should be transferred from muscles of chest to triceps, though I might be wrong. I most definitely fail by having the weight off my chest yet it's far from having my arms straight and elbows locked.

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by tjon.lichy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:40 am

hoosegow wrote:And another thing (I should have asked this first), what does your diet look like? If you are truly not making progress and are really putting in the work, I'd question your diet.
I've been trying to reduce a bit my fat percent, so most definitely my diet hasn't been much else but a diet quite literally. On the other hand I did put a nice 15kg on top of my deadlift personal best and got 7,5kg more on squat too while adding absolute 0 on bench press.

While admitting that It's possible that I've been eating too little to make any progress on bench press it might also be that 5/3/1 -- which I've been doing all autumn -- may not be optional system for developing bench press. For squat and deadlift it's really fine to train them only once a week once you've reached a certain level (I'd say it's around 2 x bodyweight on deadlift and around 1,5 x bodyweight on squat). I've done my 5/3/1 bench press on sundays and some lighter narrow grip work on bench press on thursdays. But to be honest, that's still just one benching day a week. While having deadlift and squat going steadily forward with similar system, I failed at bench. I'm not really sure where all this is going, but I think some kind of a twice a week 5/3/1 adaptation for bench press is going to be my routine for next few months after smolov jr. Maybe bench press twice a week and one a week standing overhead presses like in those routines in Starting Strength. One thing is sure, though, I'm not going back to plain 5/3/1 on bench press for a while.

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Re: My take on Smolov Jr Bench Press, critique / help / idea

Post by Jungledoc » Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:43 pm

tjon.lichy wrote:This may (or may not) be interesting to some older lads out there.
Thanks, but I don't see how this applies. How can you apply the experience of a 38 year old to the "older lads"?
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