Could Shovelglove be right for me?
April 23, 2008 7:12 AM   Subscribe

How effective is Shovelglove, and will it help me in what I'm trying to accomplish?

I'm considering adding Shovelglove to my workout routine, but I have a few questions. I'm asking here because everything I've read at the Shovelglove site is so completely positive that I'm coming here in case there is another perspective on this workout.

Background: I'm 37 and an ove-lacto vegetarian. After a few years of the completely sedentary/pie-based/dietary anarchy workout system, I'm getting back into shape. I bought a mountain bike last week which I love to ride. Right now, I'm going 30-45 minutes a day each morning. I'm also using the No-S Diet

I'm what you could call "skinny-fat." I'm 6' and around 187. I'm the guy about whom everyone says, "You're do lucky to be so thin," but there also seeing me with my shirt on. My arms and legs are skinny, but my gut/torso have gotten flabby and jiggly.

My goal is to look and feel better. We have a baby coming in early autumn, and I want to look better, feel better, and (most importantly) have more energy when the baby comes.

What I love about the idea of using Shovelglove is the simplicity of it. It's what I used to love about running. There is nothing to futz with; you can just get dressed and do it. Compared to using a weight set, there is no changing plates or anything like that. It seems like a nice, compact, easy to learn workout. However, it's simplicity makes me wonder about its effectiveness.

Thanks in advance for your help.
posted by 4ster to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I was in more or less the same place you are, agewise and level of activity, last year.

I tried shovelglove for a little while but got kind of bored with it after a few weeks. After I started cycling, I noticed alot of new definition in my thighs and calves. My upper body was still sort of scrawny, so I started push-ups and ab crunches and have an actual chest for the first time ever. All of the desk-job flab is gone and I feel great. I'm probably in the best shape I've ever been.

I'm getting to a point where I may start doing some work with weights, so I may revisit the sledgehammer routine (after all, it is just sitting there in the closet) soon. It may be that my shovel just wasn't heavy enough to be a decent challenge.

In any case, be careful swinging that thing around. Furniture, ceiling, etc. Trust me.
posted by jquinby at 7:42 AM on April 23, 2008

I do it a 12lb hammer, 4 days a week. (I take Wednesdays off in defiance of the "every weekday" orthopraxy.) I do it while I'm having my first cup of coffee, a habit whose inception was an accidental stroke of genius. Two "forms," sip of coffee, repeat. Doing it that way has cast it as a distinctly pleasant experience which I look forward to first thing in the morning, with the result that I don't feel tempted to skip it. That, and I feel a lot more energetic on the days that I do it.

I have yet to hit anything with it, and I do it in a smallish room in front of a glass-faced cabinet. I do have high ceilings though.

I throw in some weighted squats and lunges at the end.

I'm a lanky guy, too, and I don't really see it building noticeable mass, but I think I look a bit trimmer since I've started doing it. I'm certainly stronger. I'm not skinny-fat anymore, but I attribute that more to the No-S diet.
posted by bricoleur at 8:00 AM on April 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I did it for about 1.5 months a couple years ago. (My workouts ceased when a car rolled over my arm, thus making the exercises rather difficult to perform for a couple months.) Having a rather oversize sense of self, I used a 17-lb sledge. Outside. My forearms looked like Popeye, and I was noticeably stronger. (I attribute not having borked any bones via that car to the increased muscle from shovelglove.) However, I was working construction at the time, so I didn't see any further size or definition beyond the construction-worker muscle.
posted by notsnot at 8:37 AM on April 23, 2008

I've noticed a difference in my arms. I'm working on a sort of informal no-s diet. I feel thinner. I'm not sure there is any real weight difference but I'm pretty sure I look a lot better.

I can see some ab definition, which seems ridiculous considering how little time I end up doing it, and how not really painful it is.

I've been less than consistent with it but when I do it it feels like it's working pretty well. I feel broader and more powerful in my shoulders.

I do some squats with it. Some of the exercises I like better than others and I made up a few of my own.

I'd definitely give it a try. It's cheap, no?
posted by sully75 at 8:39 AM on April 23, 2008

At this point you are doing just cardio work, adding any resistance training will get you great results. After some time you will probably stop getting those great increases of muscle. At that time you would have to look into diversifying your resistance training. But hey, it sounds like a great way to get into shape and I can't see a reason to not go get a sledge hammer and start swinging it around.
posted by munchingzombie at 8:49 AM on April 23, 2008

I tried it briefly when I was looking for something simple for a workout. If you keep the pace up then you will break a sweat and it does feel like you are doing something, BUT I just didn't feel like I was getting that much out of it. Maybe my sledge was too small (8lbs).

I think if you are set on the shovelglove you should also add in some pull ups, push ups, squats (no weight) and maybe burpees.

As an alternative to the shovelglove you may want to consider looking into kettlebells. They are selling them at a lot of sporting goods stores now and give you the option of going heavier in weight.
posted by WickedPissah at 9:11 AM on April 23, 2008

I tried shovelglove for a bit, but felt too silly doing it when the standard pushup/situp/pullup/run/swim exercises worked just as well (for feeling good and flab reduction, not becoming a body builder).

The BUD/S preparation (scroll down) (authenticity not guaranteed) seems plenty to me. Of course, I live near a gym with a pool I can swim laps in for free. Everything else is doable in/around my house.
posted by ctmf at 10:09 AM on April 23, 2008

Okey doke. Here are some thoughts: If you want your fitness to be useful on the bike, I'd recommend at least one long ride per week. The other rides can be short and intense. If you're not riding the bike to ride fast, but just to exercise, keep on keeping on.

As far as strength training goes, I'd skip shovelglove, but I have no experience. But for me, the idea of doing the same fitness routine M-F seems awfully dull. I prefer to mix it up. You can do quite a bit with just bodyweight exercises and a little creativity. If you add a pullup bar and two dumbells, your exercise options go through the roof.

Here are some bodyweight exercise resources to get you started:

Scrapper's bodyweight conditioning page
A page with TONS of articles about bodyweight conditioning at DragonDoor.

Good luck, whatever you choose.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 4:45 PM on April 23, 2008

I was considering ShovelGlove when I discovered CrossFit. Started doing the workout-of-the-day in September and have never looked back. You might give it a try.
posted by phoebus at 9:30 PM on April 23, 2008

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