Bill Starr addresses an element of strength training that’s too often disregarded by hard-charging athletes.
Editor’s note: Bill Starr completed this article before he passed away April 7, 2015, in Maryland.
There are three sides to the strength pyramid: training, nutrition and rest.
It takes time to learn how to do various exercises using proper technique, what exercises to do on which training days, what sets and reps to use, etc. Sometimes it can take two or three years to do so unless you happen to be lucky enough to have a mentor.
Same for nutrition. Everyone has individual needs and requirements, so it takes trial and error over an extended period of time to know just what foods and nutritional supplements benefit you the most in terms of training and recovery.
However, you really don’t have to spend any time thinking about the rest factor, nor does it cost you any money. Yet this is the factor most overlooked in strength training.
I’ve known athletes who would spend hours designing and redesigning their routines. They would study everything they laid their hands on about the many facets of nutrition, from what wholesome foods they needed to the dosages of the supplements they had selected to use. Then they would show up in the weight room in a fatigued state because they hadn’t bothered to pay any attention to the final side of the strength pyramid. The result was always a subpar workout.
Obtaining an adequate amount of rest is not a luxury; it’s an absolute necessity. And I’m not just talking about getting bigger and stronger. Rest is critical to our overall health in a very big way. I recently came across this Irish proverb: “The beginning of a ship is a board; of a kiln a stone; and the beginning of health is sleep.”