Thursday, July 5, 2012

Strength vs. Technique

So, what's more important: strength or technique?

While strength is undoubtedly very important, technique wins the day in the long run. Always.  At a certain point, strength can only take you so far.  If your strength is through the roof, but your technique is poor, a "weaker" person with better technique will out lift you any day of the week.

In a previous post, I told you I'd talk about this as it relates to weightlifting.  There is a misconception out there by some that our lifters need to improve on the "strength lifts" in order to get better at the snatch and the c&j.  The problem with this is that it is pretty well known in the weightlifting community that American weightlifters are pretty strong in the "strength lifts".  It is our technique that is lacking at the national and international levels.

At a certain point, "strength" doesn't transfer over to the lifts, or even athletic performance for that matter.  In this article, Sean Waxman provides a great example of when too much strength doesn't transfer over as he discusses the difference between the Olympic (high bar) squat and power (low bar) squat.  If you're too lazy to click on the link and read the article, here's the point:

"It is true the Power Squat will allow you to squat more weight however, more is not always better.  Is a 700lb Back Squat going to help you more than a 500lb Back Squat? In the sport of Powerlifting it most certainly will, but that doesn't necessarily equate to improved performance in other sports.  Sport is not about maximal force development.  It is about maximal rate of force development.  Once my athletes reach a particular squat weight (between 2-3 times bodyweight calculated as a function of body weight and the physical demands of the particular sport), I maintain their strength levels while switching the training focus to generating force quickly.  I use the Olympic lifts to accomplish this because they do it better than any other exercise."

Again, don't get me wrong.  I believe strength is essential, especially if you're a beginner.  What I am saying is that strength can only mask your technique deficiencies for so long.  Solid technique is what will take you to the next level!

Here's another great article that asserts that the problem with USA weightlifting isn't a lack of strength (quite the opposite actually), it is a lack of technique.  This one is definitely worth the read!

So, for all you people out there who are strong as hell, its time to dial in your technique.  You do that, and I'm willing to bet you'll see a big jump in your snatch and c&j.

Lift with efficiency!

I need to get stronger, bro!

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