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Shovelglove Newbie

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 5:53 pm
by Sledge-O-Matic!
After three years of sedentary living and multiple failures at the gym, I found this website through an obscure blog. The whole exercise, at first glance seemed kind of "unconventional." But I figured I was tired of giving the gym my money, so I canceled my membership and went to my local independent hardware store. They had an abundance of sledges, from 4lbs. to 20lbs.

I picked up a 10 pounder. It was hefty, but I could picture myself swinging it with some success. Man, was I wrong. This is a serious workout. I felt it working my my puny muscles right away, and it became clear that even though I'm a pretty big guy, I'm going to have to downgrade to an 8 pounder if I want to get through the entire routine.

I went for about 8 minutes with the ten pounder and found my muscles exhausted well before the 14 minute minimum.

I felt some strain on my back. Bending my knees more helped take the strain away, but going with a smaller sledge seems the way to go for now.

What say you veterans out there? I know it's a personal choice, and safety is an issue, but should I stick with the ten pounder and work up to 14 minutes, or go with a smaller sledge to do the whole routine?

Also, just wanted to say that this website is pretty inspiring. Such a simple concept and it gives me a better workout than I was finding on the weight machines at the gym. If I stick with this program, I figure I stand to save my self hundreds of dollars. :)

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 6:30 pm
by carolejo
I'd say stick with the 10 pounder but go much slower and put your hands much further apart on the handle so you don't have so much leverage.

It's not a race to shovel as much as possible in the time allowed :) Pace yourself and build up to it, and it will feel like an oversized toy in no time!

Good luck and watch out for your back.

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 7:48 pm
by gratefuldeb67
The first day is the hardest Sledgeomatic!
I agree with Carolejo..
We are both medium sized ladies with 12 lb sledges!
The first day I did SG I was blasting Led Zep II and the next day, no the same day, I was exhausted beyond words!!!
Metabolic drain big time!!!
But I was just going to ballistic, so I say just take it a bit easier...
Just give your muscles a few days to adapt and watch your form and speed... They adapt fast!
Slow and steady..
You can do it!
Peace and Love,
8) Deb

PS.. Reinhard is a big Ben Franklin buff! LOL.. :wink:
I love the sayings from Poor Richards Almanac!
So witty!

10 pounder...

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 11:05 pm
by Kevin
do what feels right, but you'll be ready for the 10 pounder sooner than you think.

Try going slower, like you're a lazy worker.

The back thing is an issue: be careful. Do bend your knees. Avoid motions with a bunch of twist or where the hammer is extended far from your body.

I started with 10 and moved to 14. I'm not a big guy, maybe 5'9" and an ideal weight of maybe 165...

Thanks for all of the replies...

Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 12:32 am
by Sledge-O-Matic!
I weenied out and am starting out with an 8 pounder. The back thing is a concern. I haven't given my back a workout like this one in a long time. I'll consider this sledge my "training wheels" to get the movements and routine down for a month or two, and if I have to shell out another 20 bucks later for a 10 pounder, so be it. I'm still saving myself from driving to and from the gym and paying their outrageous membership fee.

I'm excited to get going on this.



Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:22 am
by Big Phil
Sensible decision Sledge-o-matic! Good for you. There is NOTHING that works the back and abs like this workout because it works them in an upright position and as a single functional unit rather than as individual muscles. Even the 8lb-der will make you considerably stronger than you currently are - consistency is the key! If you can do this workout without hurting yourself then you will probably never hurt your back again. My back and posture have never been better since starting this.
I stuck with 10lb-der for a good six months before getting a 14lb-der - and I'm a pretty big guy (6'4" and around 100kg). If I do say so myself - I'm strong as F*ck as the moment!

Happy Workouts,


Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:05 am
by gratefuldeb67
My back and posture have never been better since starting this.
I stuck with 10lb-der for a good six months before getting a 14lb-der - and I'm a pretty big guy (6'4" and around 100kg). If I do say so myself - I'm strong as F*ck as the moment!
Raaaahhhh!!!!!!! :twisted:
Woohoo Warrior Big Phil!!!!!
Yeah! :lol:


Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2006 3:43 pm
by reinhard

It is much, much better to start out a bit on the light side rather than go too heavy. This is a long term investment, and it's much better to get the movements down pat rather than risking injury for the sake of quick gains. On the home page I go so far as to recommend starting out with a broomstick until you feel comfortable with the movements.

People think willpower is all about pushing uncomfortably forward. That's sometimes true in some areas of endeavor, but not in this one. Willpower here is about throttling your impatient energies so you don't move forward too quickly, so you can sustain this habit for a lifetime. Upgrading is the temptation, the comparatively easy way out. It's the throttling that's hard.

Also, 8 pounds is more than you think, with leverage behind it. A while back a link was posted about a world-class turn of the century professional strongman who built himself up with what was (essentially) just a 10 pound sledge.

(in case you're wondering, "so why ever upgrade at all if you can get world class strong with a lighter sledge?" it's because the movements will no longer feel natural if you leveraged them like you'd have to with your hands all the way at the end of the stick. You'd also have a less secure grip and it would actually be less safe than a natural, firm grip on a heavier sledge)

Keep us posted, may you too soon be strong as Ph*l,


Sledge-O-Matic!: A Cautionary Tale...

Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 12:38 am
by Sledge-O-Matic!
So, I went after it too hard with too much that first go round with the shovelglove. Yes, I read all the red printed precautions, and yes I ignored them, and yes, oh most certainly YES, I suffered dearly for ignoring them!

I took my cue from Reinhard's quicktime videos. In the videos Reinhard is shoveling deliberately and quickly. Probably quicker than a new guy should start out with...

Anyway, the result were both of my arms stiff and virtually immobilized by contracted biceps. Biceps that were no doubt wondering "uh, what the hell does this guy think he's doing???" :oops: :oops: :oops:

So much for long-term muscle memory. :roll:

After a couple of days my arms are back to about 85%, tomorrow or the next day I can get back to the exercises, and despite the false start, I know this is a great way to get in shape.

Thanks for all your support! :D

Sounds good

Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:25 am
by Kevin
Sounds like an ambitious, but successful first workout.

Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 1:35 am
by gratefuldeb67
Ha ha! That was funny.. :lol:
I overdid it the first day too!
But I never did again!
Keep it up!
Peace and Love,
8) Deb


Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:05 am
by Sledge-O-Matic!
If I was any more "successful" I'd be addicted to painkillers and muscle relaxants by now! LOL.

Seriously though, it was a success. After just two workouts I can feel the difference, even if I can't actually see the difference.

Man, I can't even imagine the strength of those guys (and gals) working out with 16lb sledges! Don't even get me started on those who are using the huge twenty pounders!

Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:18 pm
by reinhard
Sorry to hear you overdid a bit... maybe I need to added the dreaded blink tag to my warnings :wink:

Give yourself a good rest before trying again. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself.

You get surprisingly strong doing this, after a while. The 12 pounder I used to use felt very tough at the time, now it seems like a toy. But it takes time, so don't rush it. It took me a solid year to make my first upgrade.



Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:37 pm
by Sledge-O-Matic!
Reinhard, there is no question in my mind that I can get strong from doing this. Even with my overdoing it the first couple times I can feel a positive difference.

I'm at 90% and will probably be good to go tomorrow.

Believe me. I'll take it easy!

Thanks everyone for your support.


Ok, back to shoveling...

Posted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:01 am
by Sledge-O-Matic!
Dropped down to an 8 pounder, and went through 14 minutes of exercise. It's good solid resistance. I imagine in a few months I'll go back to the 10 pounder. No rush as long as I feel good resistance and some progress!

Posted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 1:05 am
by gratefuldeb67
Good for you S-O-matic...
Respecting your body is the best way to maintain your exercise routine..
Hurting ourselves by not listening and "insulting" our bodies by not respecting where we are now isn't a good plan!

You are doing the right thing!
Peace and Love,
8) Deb

Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 2:16 am
by reinhard

Glad to hear that initial spurt of overdoing it didn't do you in. Deb is right. There's no rush. Force yourself to go slower than you think you need to, really build the habit and get the movements natural and fluid. The upgrade should be a reward for months (at least) of good behavior.