Making progress

Take a sledgehammer and wrap an old sweater around it. This is your "shovelglove." Every week day morning, set a timer for 14 minutes. Use the shovelglove to perform shoveling, butter churning, and wood chopping motions until the timer goes off. Stop. Rest on weekends and holidays. Baffled? Intrigued? Charmed? Discuss here.
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Making progress

Post by Artekus » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:10 pm

Hello :)

Reinhard, firstly thank you coming up with Shovelglove and sharing it so willingly. I'm sure you've improved the lives of so many people; people who (If I'm any guide!) would have just carried on being a lump if it wasn't for your myriad health systems.

This is my first post, so a bit about me would probably be fitting so you can all get an idea of who I am. I'm a 17 yar old from England. Next October I'm off to university. In no particular order, these two things make me want to look awesome so as to help me along in my 'socialising'... I think we all know what I mean here! :D

Shovelglove and NoS are constituent parts of my campaign to achieve this. So far I've been plugging away at it for a few months somewhat intermittently, but with renewed motivation after discovering the HabitCal. Underestimate that thing at your peril!

So far I've seen great changes in my upper body! I now have visible abs, including obliques and the other little ones around the ribcage, and much more general meatiness all over. It will take a bit more NoS-ing to get ripped, but it's heartening to see progress even if only I know where to look for it! Again, I have Reinhard to thank for this :)

This sort of (kinda) brings me onto my main question about progress and how it happens. Because aesthetics aside, I do want to get physically strong from this more than anything.

And yet, there's a lot of gym websites and trainers who dismiss high rep exercise for strength gains. They instead recommend heavy weights and low reps, leaving anything >20 for endurance only. Perhaps they are talking in the short term world of monthly memberships and daily protein shakes?

Because many people seem to have become very much stronger after taking up SG and that's just the ones who choose to post on here. Basically, I'm curious as to how this happens when conventional sport science says it shouldn't. Are the gym trainers wrong? Or is SG a different type of exercise entirely to the dumbbell swinging they're presumably thinking of?

On a practical level, if you wanted to get stronger from SG, do you have to push yourself to swing harder or use more leverage every session? Or does it come naturally so long as your 14mins is reasonably taxing?

Sorry for the essay, well done if you got this far :D As you can see I'm a physiological n00b. I'd love to hear your views on this as far more experienced practitioners...


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Post by Djemps » Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:55 am

Welcome Artekus! Adopting SG and NoS before going off university is a great choice.

Concerning your question about heavy weight training: well yes, high weight / low reps is the right way to build large muscle mass. But that is not the goal of shovel glove.

We used to live out our days working in the fields and doing chores. This naturally kept our bodies strong and healthy. Now that most of us no longer live on a farm, we need to find other ways of obtaining an overall work hardened body. 14 mins of SG is a reasonable way to keep healthy and build a natural strength like our ancestors had.

Building muscle mass at the gym is achievable but requires constant devotion to maintain such abnormal size. If you met a rural farmer from 100 years ago I doubt he would appear like a body builder. But I bet he'd be able to crush your hand when he shook it and could pitch hay bales all afternoon without any trouble.

So what kind of body type do you want to achieve? If you want to build lots of muscle then follow the rules of the heavy weight lifters. If you want to have a working man's physique then shovel glove is right up your alley.

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Post by Cantab » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:29 pm

My understanding of exercise science (from reading boards like t-nation and Alwyn Cosgrove's blog and books) is that there are multiple paths to fitness depending on your goals.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), including Shovelglove and the Tabata method, is highly effective at burning calories, which can allow the existing muscles to show through better.

Lifting heavy weights is highly effective at building muscle. Building muscle does not mean building big muscles: depending on genetics and hormones, different people respond differently to heavy weight lifting. Women generally get smaller when they lift heavy weights, not bigger. If you've seen the pictures of the strongmen of past generations, like the guy who just died by being hit by a car at age 104, they were also quite compact. The burly weightlifter look seems achieved mostly through steroids or exceptional genetics.

It's not either/or. I do HIIT to lose fat: on the elliptical, Tabata with a kettlebell swing or dumbbell thrusters. And I lift heavy weights to become leaner and smaller.

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Post by Artekus » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:23 pm

Thanks very much Djemps and Cantab!

That's all really encouraging, I'm really not going for the abercrombie physique at all, it's so unnatural.

What worried me was reading that heavy weight was vital for strength gains period. Perhaps conventional gym wisdom is taking size=strength (not true if the wiry but inhumanly strong Muay Thai fighters are anything to go by)

If I can build strength (as opposed to just muscular endurance) from SG then that's great :wink:

Sort of ties in with my general cynicism as to gyms and their associated marketing; it must be in their interests to say that only their machines and weight plates will get you where you want to be. We know better :D

Incidentally, I really like the historical/timeless aspect of shovel glove (history is what I'm going to be studying at uni). Five (?) thousand years of civilisation can't be wrong!

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Post by LockieKermit » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:41 am

Technically yes, Someone who goes and lifts weights at the gym is probably going to have a higher bench press than yourself. As is the same with Squats, Deadlifts, Shoulder presses, Bicep curls etc

However, ask that muscle bound hulk to pick up a 12 pound, or even a 20 pound sledge hammer and spend 14 minutes swinging it around imitating various movements and he will probably die before the end.

Check out Reinhards progression
Not the biggest guy in the gym, but you certainly wouldn't call him skinny or weak.

Yes. Shovel glove will build strength, swinging a weight around on the end of the stick is hard work. It will build all the joints and tiny muscles that don't really get worked in the gym. Are you going to be able to lift a house? No

Will you be able to arm wrestle the bicep curling monkey to oblivion. Probably, your grip, biceps, shoulders and forearms are going to be strong as hell, even if their not huge.

With dedication and a good diet will your body reel in the ladies. Well yes.

As I said, your not going to deadlift 1000 pounds from this, but your going to get strong as hell. Enough to pick up your girlfriend and twirl her around all romantically and shit.

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Post by Mika_Onida » Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:27 pm

As I said, your not going to deadlift 1000 pounds from this, but your going to get strong as hell. Enough to pick up your girlfriend and twirl her around all romantically and shit.
That's all we ask. :)

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