The replies I get to the emails I send out and the posts I make on this site help me keep my finger on the pulse of what you and other lifters are struggling with each and every day. And it’s pretty damn fascinating.
I know what supplements you want to learn more about, I know what lifting programs you’re interested in, I hear about your lifting hopes / dreams / aspirations… I basically have my own little strength training equivalent of the National Security Agency… the National Strength Agency.
One theme I’ve noticed across most of the messages I get, is a lack of focus. This is when you find yourself jumping from program to program without ever finishing one. Or, maybe you’re trying to combine programs… “what if I mix the smolov squat cycle with a high volume deadlift program?” Here’s the answer… at best, improvements to your squat are attenuated, at worst you become overtrained, get hurt, bail out early and your strength actually decreases as a result.
Former NFLer and well known strength coach, John Welbourn famously referred to this as falling prey to the secret squirrel program. And all of this may seem like a minor thing, but I’m here to tell you it’s probably the number one reason why lifter’s experience strength plateaus.
When you elect to do the Smolov program, it’s because you heard some other lifter got a 40 pound PR on their squat after they did it. You want that, so you start. But, you may also want to lean out, increase your Clean & Jerk and start running. Many of these are competing goals and if you choose to pursue all at once, you’re basically resolving yourself to mediocre results at best.
Body builders catch a bad wrap, but as a group, they’re actually quite good at this focus thing. In their off season, they mass. When they focus on adding muscle mass and not losing fat, they can so optimally. Then before a competition they cut, because they know that exclusively focusing on losing fat rather than trying to lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously is much more effective. As a result, they build crazy physiques – because that is their #1 goal.
So, today I challenge you to find focus in the gym. You want your squat to go up? Do smolov, but JUST smolov. You want to add muscle, then do a hypertrophy focused program and eat ALL OF THE FOOD. You want to lose fat, keep lifting, but cut your calories and don’t expect to set massive PRs in your lifts along the way.
If you do this, I promise, your results will outperform those of the other lifters around you without focus.
So, don’t fall prey to the secret squirrel program, find focus and LIFT ALL THE HEAVY SHIT.