Time to Get Strong

This topic comes as I’ve had this discussion with several athletes over the past couple weeks. For much of the time you’ve been doing CrossFit or Weightlifting, your technique has probably been the limiting factor that prevents you from lifting as much as you ideally could in the snatch and clean & jerk. However, after you’ve dedicated quite a bit of time to technique work, how do you know when your technique is no longer your limiting factor? AKA It’s time to get strong.

As Brett Jones says, “Absolute strength is the glass. Everything else is the liquid inside the glass. The bigger the glass, the more of “everything else” you can do. So, lifting weights is the quickest way to build strength. As your strength goes “up,” everything else can be expanded, too.” Strength and technique are imposed limits. As your technique improves on lifts and you become a more efficient lifter, your lifts will approach your strength limit. Once you reach that strength limit, the way to improve your lifts is to raise your strength.

That’s also the reason world-class weightlifters are so damn strong. They may compete in the Snatch and Clean & Jerk but most have over a triple bodyweight back squat, can deadlift even more than they squat and press stacks of weight overhead. You can’t fake strength; you can only earn it by lifting heavy weight.

Here are the ratios I use to judge whether I need more focus on technique and/or strength: (The top lifts are used as references to base your efficiency on)


While there are obviously individual differences that make each one of use unique, these are simple guidelines that can help you to find your weaknesses. However, once you reach a certain technical level, the fastest way to improve your lifts is to get body stronger, specifically the legs and torso. While it may a little extreme, Glassman’s comment, “Regardless of what the problem is, the answer is to squat” is not far off.


Additional reading:

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