It's so odd to me that very strong, large men who train fairly seriously have a more difficult time snatching the same weight as someone half their size.

How does one continually get those incredible strength gains without it being necessary to have gigantic muscles? I.e., how does one improve strength without it necessitating improvement in size? Is strength indifferent to your muscle's size?

  • Basically by practicing it more or more effectively
    – Raditz_35
    May 11 '18 at 7:50
  • 1
    I have my doubts that lighter people would have less trouble in general. Are you certain you're not confusing anecdotal evidence, considering very fit/strong lighter people versus less in-shape but larger people? May 11 '18 at 11:52
  • Well, physical strength is almost always anecdotal. It's extremely rare to actually measure the strength of a human being.
    – user31078
    May 11 '18 at 21:03
  • It’s not rare at all? Every max single bench press, squat etc is a measurement of strength. Granted Olympic lifts have more confounding factors involved than just raw strength.
    – G__
    May 12 '18 at 2:42

Strength is neural. Having muscle mass helps and the heaviest of weights are usually pushed/pulled by larger people. As @Raditz_35 mentioned, it's a lifetime of perfect practice, good nutrition and coaching. At the highest levels there's also steroids involved. You'd be amazed at how much more weight you can leverage with the proper form for of your size.


This premise is incorrect. While an elite lifter in a lighter weight class may indeed outlift a heavier less-experienced lifter, with similarly-experienced lifters there is a correlation and heavier classes outlift lighter classes.

Take a look, for example, at world records - notice how the records categorically go up with the weight classes.

Systems such as the Wilks Coefficient have been developed to allow apples-to-apples comparisons between lifters in different weight classes, effectively handicapping heavier lifters to account for their natural advantage.

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