Smolov: Squatting out of my comfort zone!

What on Earth is Smolov?!

Alright guys, I?m sure many of you are sick and tired of seeing my squat posts WITHOUT any info on what exactly I?m even doing! Well if you are wondering what on earth ?Smolov? is (I?m sure you?ve seen the hasthags?), and why I?ve been doing it, I?m here today with answers!

A few months back, I decided my booty needed a boost?something to build and perk. After 4 kids, it was more of a pancake than anything, and ONLY my favorite, super-tight yoga pants could give them ANY shape at all. Ladies, you know exactly what I?m talking about. I call them my magic pants?they magically created a cute booty out of nothing ;). Anyway, a good friend of mine (along with our husbands) pointed out that if I want a butt (Brazilian, please), I need to squat, squat, SQUAT!!! She sent along this pretty intense, but incredibly effective program for me to take a look at.

At first glance, I was terrified?squatting high volume 3-4 days a week (think heavy weight, lots of reps, and lots of sets) just seemed insane to me. Especially for a girl that maybe squatted heavy weight every few weeks. And when I say ?heavy weight?, I mean ?comfortable heavy weight??so in reality, not heavy weight at all. To be totally honest, the thought of my smaller frame stuck under a heavy load of weight has always scared me just a bit.

Scared of what?

I was terrified of squatting down?and not being able to get back up! I?ve always kind of had ?chicken legs? and had just convinced myself I wasn?t made to lift heavy weights. How nuts is that??? That?s the kind of thinking I coach people through?and I was sitting there allowing this thinking to dictate my strength and power!!!

After reading through every link I was sent and really digesting the program, I decided it was ?go? time. If I truly wanted that “squatters butt”, I knew I needed to squat! At the same time, I realized it was beyond time for me to take my own advice and face my fears?and put some REAL weight on the bar.


So for the past 6 weeks, I?ve been squatting religiously according to the plan. And I must say?I can very proudly present THREE amazing results:

In just 5 weeks of working the program (to the ?T?, I must add), my back squat max increased by 20 lbs. My max 6 weeks ago was 145 lbs (feeling really heavy); my max this week was 165 lbs (feeling rather easy). I know I can squat more too!
Clearly, by #1, you can tell this: I feel SO much more comfortable under a heavy load. Thanks to facing my fear 3-4 days a week, squatting heavy-loaded barbells no longer terrifies me!!!!!!! Success!!!!! #ActionConquersFear
Surprisingly, my deadlift max ALSO increased by 16 lbs?and I didn?t perform one single deadlift the entire 6 weeks! Smolov helped train and grease those neurological pathways (aka my body?s electrical wiring) to be able to handle heavier loads all-around?not just with the back squat. My deadlift max went from 219 lbs to 235 lbs!
And my most exciting result is that I AM getting a perkier, slightly bigger butt!!!!!!! YAY. Now it?s time to maintain this bad boy until bikini season?and beyond ;).

Keep in mind, there are several reputable programs out there?Smolov is just one of them! For those interested, you can learn more about this Smolov Squat Program here ( Before you even consider this though, PLEASE heed my warning: this is a very high volume squat program for experienced squatters ONLY. If you are not yet an experienced squatter with excellent form and a decent amount of comfort with barbell squatting, you should not try this. Please consider starting with the basics: learn how to air squat with proper form. Once you have mastered the air squat, you can move on to a weighted squat, but you SHOULD obtain qualified coaching for safety. Improper form on a back squat can wreak havoc on our bodies. If you aren?t ready for this program now, don?t worry?keep working on the basic squat and your time will come!

For those that are ready?enjoy!!!

Questions, comments, or personal experience with Smolov (or another program)? Post below!!!


Additional reading on Smolov:

28 Responses

  1. Yes! I’m so glad I found another female who went through this program, I am curious what your 1RM was at the conclusion of the program? I am on day #2 (1RM is currently 200lbs – I’ve been at it for nearly a year and a half!!) and I’m hoping for at LEAST a 50lbs increase by week 13. Also curious if you did a weight and body fat analysis before and after and, if so, what the results were? I’m starting at 5’7″, 153, 22.5% BF. I couldn’t care less if I gain weight as long as the BF stays the same or gets lower!

    1. Hi Belen: There is a link to the Smolov program at the end of the post where you can get additional information including how to adapt the program to your own fitness level.

  2. I am on day 5 of the SMOLOV program and am loving pushing myself. I wondered what you did in combination with these for your workouts? I want to make sure I don’t kill my legs, but I want to get in enough cardio too. Also, did you use any weight for lunges or just body weight?

  3. Hi Heidi- I have recently started this program but I am just wondering if you do weights on the lunges in week 1 of the introductory.. Thanks!

  4. I was hearing and seeing a lot about the Smolov program – so I looked into it and saw the same warning you gave, “this is for experienced squatters…” I consider myself experienced, but I still felt like I needed to start somewhere a little less intense – enter “StrongLift 5×5” The same Website I was directed to for Smolov stated that, unless you are experienced or already squatting extremely heavy weights, it’s best to start with StrongLift 5×5, progress to Madcow 5×5, THEN progress to Smolov. I’m in my second week of StrongLift 5×5 and am loving it so far – doing crossfit or other HIIT style workouts on my off days. I’m excited to see what kind of progress I’m capable of 🙂

  5. Hey! Great post Heidi! I also commented on your IG post, but figure you get too many notifications to keep up! 2 questions…
    1. How does this fit into the rest of your week in terms of working other body parts. Can you squat and then move on to you’re normal back workout for example?

    2. I have checked both sites you provided and see they both recommend lunges for the 3 says following days 1-3. Are these body wright or weighted lunges? And are there specific rep schemes for the plyos?
    Thanks, did day 1 this morning and really like it. :

  6. I was wondering what is Heidi’s starting weight on this program? My back squat it’s 145 same as hers, I would like to know what weight do I need to start at. I would love to increase my back squat weight.

    Thank you!

  7. Heidi, Chris, do you guys work with neighbors too? I’m in Scottsdale with my family and would love to love 50 lbs and get fit for the summer. Love the show, we watch constantly. My kids love it too! Totally hate my legs and arms! Any advice?

    1. Hi Alina: Chris and Heidi aren’t taking on clients due to their heavy filming schedule, other obligations, and young family. I do hope you understand. This is why they’ve put all the tools they use in their book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” for all of us to use to reach our goals! The book contains their complete nutrition and exercise program, and it will teach you everything you need to know and do to achieve your own transformation! Learn all about it here: You can do this!

  8. Thank you for this article and your honesty! It’s always encouraging to here how fitness professionals themselves overcome self doubt. I would love to try this program but currently I am about 11 weeks pregnant. I have a decent background with strength exercises, though I am about 20lbs over the weight I wish I was, especially being pregnant. Do you have recommendations for strength plans to keep me strong and cardio to keep my endurance up (though it doesn’t take much for me to be out of breath!) Thank you!

    1. Congratulations on your pregnancy – that’s so exciting! It’s best to work with your healthcare team on any exercise program while pregnant since they know your health history and can help you make any necessary modifications as your pregnancy progresses. We wish you the best!

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