Is it better to have incredible strength, or insane technique? Which one should you prioritise? Which one is going to help you become better at Weightlifting?

Let’s start by talking about strength. There are many different classifications for “strength”, whether that be absolute strength, speed strength, strength endurance etc. For the purpose of this article we will refer to strength as the ability to overcome a force or load. The “stronger” you are the more weight you can move.

Now in terms of Weightlifting, the need for strength is obvious. In a sport whereby the winner is the one who lifts the most weight, it’s a pretty safe bet to state that strength is paramount. However, what we have to consider is how this strength is displayed. Does the athlete that wins gold in the Snatch have the highest Deadlift? Possibly not. Do they have the highest Back Squat? This is more likely but again, not necessarily.

The Snatch and Clean & Jerk are not mastered by simply being a strong motherfucker, thanks to their complexity they also require years of practice and thousands of repetitions. This can explain why the strongest athlete in the field may not necessarily be the winner, if they come up against a competitor with a superior technique.

So which is more important, and which should you prioritise? Whilst technique is important, once you develop a certain amount of proficiency in Snatch, you need to focus on getting stronger. You can have the most technically beautiful Snatch that the world has ever seen, but if you’re not strong enough to separate a heavy bar from the floor, you’re going to run a ground. Picture pulling yourself under a heavy Clean, if you don’t have adequate leg strength, you’re never standing up out of that motherfucker. You can practice your technique until the cows come home, but without also working on Squats and Pulls, you’re numbers simply won’t go up past a certain point.

So should you stop practicing your comp lifts and just Squat and Pull? Fuck no. A good programme should have the correct blend of both. Yes there will be certain biases depending on your focus at the time, but your coach should know this and will take of it. An increase in leg strength has the potential to disrupt your timing, which can inturn throw off your entire lift.

My advice is this, always work on mastering your technique, but never never neglect your strength work. Your Squats and Pulls will give you the ability to overcome weight, whilst your technique will allow you to execute the lift.

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