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Firing Coal

 
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Djemps



Joined: 01 Dec 2009
Posts: 25
Location: Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:54 pm    Post subject: Firing Coal Reply with quote

Here is an exercise I have been working on for the past month. The video explains it the best...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Meko1EcQKA4

Fire Coal: Sledgehammer exercise

This exercise is meant to imitate the movement of a locomotive 'Fireman' shoveling coal on the footplate of a steam engine. Having heard an interesting anecdote attesting to the impressive abdominal strength of coal shoveling 'Firemen' on steam trains, I became interested in researching HOW this movement was done. There are a few photographs of men 'firing coal' to be found online. They help us understand the basic position of the Fireman: stooped over with a short shovel. But WATCHING a Fireman at work would be much better. I did some searching on the internet and found a few good movies of people working on vintage steam trains. You can see the clips in my video... Not only is the Fireman stooped over as he shovels, but he is also rotating back and forth between the coal chute behind him and the steam boiler at the front of the locomotive. This works the Abs by creating a perpetual 'crunch' position while the body rotation works other parts of the core muscles.

Admittedly, you can also hurt your lower back this way if you are not careful. So how do we approximate a safe version of this movement with our sledgehammer / shovelglove? Start by holding the hammer with one hand near the head. Place the palm of the other hand on the end of the handle. Position the head horizontally and parallel to the ground. Now imagine you are sliding the coal shovel along the bed of the coal chute at waist level. Then rotate your waist and put the coal into the furnace near your legs. Twist the hammer head vertically to 'dump' the coal out. Remember to engage your Abs. Some trains did dump the coal directly on the floor of the footplate and had a very low furnace mouth. You can take a deeper stance when 'firing coal' if you wish, but be careful not to harm yourself.
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phayze



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 297

PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My videos have been shamed. ;_; *seppuku*

No, seriously - I love it!

I developed something similar, that was basically just a combination of shoveling and stoking the furnace. I dig low in front of me, and then pick it up to propel the "load" forward as if into a furnace. It's my standard shoveling move, actually, though this may have just replaced it.

I think I'm going to go for bonus points and include that little cross-step that the firemen in the video were using. It's very similar to some Aikido footwork, so with a little personalization I can train two things at once!

Thanks for sharing this, and for putting all the effort into it. Great work!
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Djemps



Joined: 01 Dec 2009
Posts: 25
Location: Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Phayze, thanks for the compliments. Very Happy

But in all honesty, a flashy video doesn't mean much if the exercise movement isn't of any use. I hope lots of people will try this movement for a few weeks and report back and let us know if it felt effective.

Yes, the cross step is right there in the video. I haven't tried it myself because I just wanted to work on creating an exercise that wasn't too complicated. But for those of us who are quick on our feet, it might be very useful to include. I think I will go try it out today.
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Finnigan



Joined: 20 Jun 2008
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally got to view the video. Great work, and great investigative work! I enjoyed your other videos as well. Thanks a bunch!

I will try out the move and report back in a while.
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Djemps



Joined: 01 Dec 2009
Posts: 25
Location: Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I've been shugging with a 10lb sledge and it works great for me. This is the weight I used when coming up with the 'Fire Coal' movement. Just last night I was helping a buddy clean up his property in the country and we found an old home-made sledgehammer with a metal pipe for a handle. It must have been at least 16lbs and possibly more. I tried the 'Fire Coal' movement with this beast and immediately I felt my Abs getting a workout. So I was happy to see that the movement does place a target on the Abs, but now I'm wondering if you need to bump up your sledge's weight to something John Henry would swing before you can truly reap the benefits of 'Fire Coal'.

The point of Shovelglove is to be a simple system without having to purchase multiple weights etc... so I don't want to head in that direction if I don't have to. Has anyone else been trying this move with a reasonable weight hammer and felt a good workout?
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reinhard
Site Admin


Joined: 12 Apr 2005
Posts: 5774
Location: Cambridge, MA

PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Djemps,

This is awesome -- I'm so sorry it's taken me forever to take a look at it (just started a new job a few weeks ago and it's been a little distracting Smile)

I LOVE the historical footage. My final-cut-pro-understanding brother is planning on visiting in June to shoot a shovelglove dvd -- I'd love to stick stuff like this in for each of the moves (assuming we can get away with it in term of copyright). I'd also love to stick in some "user contributed footage" (with permission, of course) but it's possible that might take too much legal black magic for me to afford. In any case, if I'm even loosely inspired by anything you or phazye or others have posted (as I'm sure I will be) I'll make sure you get in the credits.

In terms of the "fire oven" move, it looks like a "composite move:" shovel + stoke oven (though I guess the transition is also important, and there's that twist at the end).

Reinhard
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phayze



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
Posts: 297

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't speak for anyone else, but I'd more than happy to sign a talent release for any of my footage you'd like to use. The downside, though, is that the stuff I've posted is pretty low-rez, and I don't have the raw versions anymore.

Email me if you're interested, and maybe I can convince the lady of the house to help me re-shoot some stuff.
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0:01s Video = 30 pictures
therefore, 0:01s Video = 30,000 words
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