It was the final rep of the final set on the final day. I took one last deep breath and descended. My body was trembling, my legs were jello, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it out of the hole. Three weeks ago it was a battle between me and my mind, but today was a battle between me and the bar. I fought back for what felt like an entire minute and finally reached the top. I exhaled, walked the bar forward and put it back on the rack, and smiled. It was done. I had just completed Smolov Jr.
The first three days of the first week were cake. I thought it was challenging, but not anything I couldn’t handle. Then, the final day of the first week came. 10 sets of 3 at 85% of my max. By the time I was done my legs were absolute toast. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the whole program, or even make it to the next day in the program. I waddled around church on Sunday and someone even asked me if I had started training for my next marathon. Apparently my limp game was real.
But, I wasn’t going to throw the towel in that easily. I was determined to grind it out and finish even if that meant I wasn’t going to walk like a normal human being for a few weeks.
The second week was interesting. The program calls for adding 5-10 pounds on top of your already calculated percentages. I decided to be bold and go for the full 10 pounds on each day. Each day I was successful. However, this bold decision wasn’t met without consequences. And these consequences occurred almost immediately after I was done squatting. My body was programmed to squat the prescribed amount and then cease to function normally until I re-entered the rack two days later.
When you do such a high volume of squatting you begin to critique yourself. You could call it constructive criticism. You’re able to feel aspects of your squat that need to be fixed in order to improve your overall lift. You fix them, and get better with each repetition. It’s magic.
I was extremely sore, but even more determined the final week. This week called for an increase of 10-20 pounds from the calculated percentages. Go big or go home right? I was going big, even if that meant I failed on a final rep. The final set of each day was a war between me and my head, and the bar on my back.
Have you ever had to take a few extra breaths and talk yourself through a lift? Before this program, my self-talk was borderline bullying. This time was different. I knew I was strong enough. I knew I had it. The battle was between the bar and I. And I won.
When you feel so rewarded by putting yourself through hell, it becomes an addiction. When you’re able to feel yourself get stronger, you forget about the muscle tightness, soreness, and fatigue you experienced. When you are squatting insanely high volumes at weight you used to be scared to even load onto the bar, you become addicted. You want more, you crave more.
And that’s why I took a week off and decided to do Smolov Jr. part two.