That may not be the way in which he would present it, but I have just read a really interesting piece by the great Clarence Bass, which I think illustrates on of Art Devany's principles about physical training: the power law.
Art Devany explains it thus: The power law shown here (frequency is on the y axis and intensity on the x axis....so you have a high frequency of low intensity stuff, while you have a low frequency of high intensity stuff) is the signature of nature's strategy of organization and one humans followed for millenia. It is one I follow today. Note the frequency versus intensity scaling and the lack of a central tendancy. The mean is not a good indicator of the typical activity, in fact the mode is over at the far left where languid ease is the rule. The variance is infinite, which is the same thing as saying it does not exist. Constant variation but within a pattern of constrained novelty is the human condition until very recently.
Mix brief, intermittent episodes of highly intense physical action with languid periods and play.
Art Explains more in the essay
Clarence is commenting on the apparent contradiction between the high intensity crowd - e.g. Doug McGuff - and those that favour long easy aerobics, like Phil Maffetone. (both athletes and writers that I really respect and incidentally, both trainers who favour a low carb diet).
It is really worth reading Clarence's article - McGuff’s Brief Muscular Effort and Maffetone’s Slow Aerobics, Never the Twain Shall Meet? - you can combine the two he concludes.
"If you took McGuff’s ideas and combine them with Maffetone’s ideas, you would perform one extremely hard anaerobic workout every seven to ten days, and the rest of the time would be very low intensity aerobic workouts,” Dr. Johnston suggested in an email message. Far fetched as it sounded at the time, I believe he’s on to something. Maffetone is off base on high-intensity training, and McGuff is out of the strike zone on aerobic exercise. The combination of the two, however, may very well be a home run.
One commonality that comes to mind is that McGuff and Maffetone are both risk averse. Both claim that their system prevents injury. Low intensity aerobic exercise and slow lifting are both about preventing wear and tear on muscles and joints. That’s one for a combined system.
My earlier suggestion (two months back) that McGuff’s Big-5 workout might work well with a walking program now makes even more sense. Consider doing the Big-5 workout on day 1, walk on days 3, 4, and 5, rest on days 2 and 6, and then repeat. That would be an upgrade on either system alone. Recovery from the 12-minutes of strength training would be enhanced by walking, and walking during the week would build aerobic fitness and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and early mortality. Sounds like a win-win to me.
It is the power law again.....lots of low intensity easy stuff, coupled with a few brief, infrequent really hard sessions. It is natural.....
It is also Mark Sisson's approach summed up in 3 of his primal laws:
- Primal Blueprint Law #3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace
- Primal Blueprint Law #4: Lift Heavy Things
- Primal Blueprint Law #5: Sprint Once in a While