Strength & Technique Training - What is more important for you in CrossFit?
“So Sam, I am wanting to get better at ‘X’, what should I be working on?”
Well, as with most questions like the above, it depends on the individual, however I am going to answer the main question above and say that training strength and technique are both valuable, and I will elaborate on the reasons why over the course of this blog.
“Ok, so why is technique so important?”
There are multiple reasons, but the biggest ‘why’ is for safety and efficiency.
Performing complex, dynamic movements such as the olympic lifts and kipping gymnastics places a lot of stress on your muscles and joints. If you do not know how to move in an efficient way, your potential for injury rises dramatically. Although this doesn't only apply to dynamic movements, even the simple stuff requires you to pay attention.
Improving your technique also comes with benefits to your performance. The more efficient our technique can become, the less energy is expended with every rep, meaning a higher total of work can be achieved over the course of a work out.
A point to add here is efficient movement doesn’t necessarily have to look aesthetically pleasing. We should always be striving towards maintaining a high standard of movement economy when we train, but your technique does NOT have to be ‘perfect’ for you to be able to perform the movement. Mastering something takes thousands of reps and multiple years of work, this is the long game.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of constantly going through various technical drills to help you get your first rep or improve your current ability, I know this because I made this mistake early on in my training, which resulted in me losing strength, not gaining it.
“Ok, so what do I do about strength?”
If you want to achieve something very physically demanding, you won’t get very far with zero strength training and only having 'technique' sessions. The argument between which is more important is a difficult one that doesn't come with a straightforward answer. Let's look at it another way.
Do you want to perform a/multiple ring/bar muscle-ups? Can you perform a/multiple strict pull ups… in this case, strength is the limiting factor. That doesn't mean that your technique isn't of concern, it still is, but the chances are that too much technical focus at this stage is less beneficial than the raw strength needed for the goal.
Becoming stronger opens so many doors for you in and outside of the gym, there really aren’t any negatives to doing this. For general health, It helps with daily life, making you more robust and keeping injuries at bay. For your performance, improving your strength moves you towards performing advanced movements and their variations.
“All Sounds good, so what should I take away from this?”
If anything, I want this to serve as a reminder that training strength and technique will always be key to your development as a CrossFitter. Neglecting one or the other will leave you with gaps that won’t be filled unless your approach evolves.
Get stronger, keep practicing, keep a good standard every session and you can achieve some truly amazing changes using CrossFit. Stay patient but hungry!
Happy training friends,