Is This the Future of Home Excercise?

It’s one man’s invention, called the Shovelglove. Here’s how he came upon it:

It was a rainy Sunday. I hadn’t gone to the gym in over three months, and I was feeling painfully out of shape and antsy to do some kind of exercise. But I didn’t want to go out in the rain, and the prospect of subjecting myself to the boring torture of the gym seemed even drearier. I wanted an exercise I could do right there, in my bedroom, without any fancy equipment.

But I didn’t want to do sit-ups or pushups. I didn’t want to grovel on my stomach on the floor, like some degraded beast. “There must be some kind of movement I can do standing up, with the dignity of a human being,” I thought, “some kind of movement that is natural and interesting, that my body would like to do.”

If you like Seth Roberts and the spirit of self-experimentation, you just might like Reinhard Engels and his Shovelglove.

(H/T: politicalcalculations)


I think the most curious part of the site is the part about the time. He claims that 14 minutes is one minute less than the smallest unit of schedulistically significant time.

"You guessed it, 14 is a significant number. Why? Because it's one minute less than the smallest unit of schedulistically significant time. No calendar has a finer granularity than 15 minutes. No one ever has a meeting that starts at 5 or 10 or 14 minutes before or after the hour. You have no excuse not to do this. Time-wise, it doesn't even register."

I guess it is supposed to be some psychological ploy to make people feel like they have the time to do the exercise but I am skeptical of both the 'schedulistically significant' number of 15 and just the oddness of choosing fourteen.


The really cool thing is, you have full access to Reinhard. For instance, he's part of the Health Hacks Podcast. You can listen to the thoughts behind the plans by listening to him there. This is one of several interesting fitness systems Reinhard's built.

There are lots of paths to the goal. Reinhard's happen to be outside the box. Give them further investigation, and maybe check out the podcast. You'll hear the "behind the scenes" on some of it.


Reinhard Engels suggest that the shovel glove is a more "natural" way of excercising, but what is he basing this assumption on? It is not likely that Homo erectus or early Homo sapiens were swinging sledgehammers. In fact they would probably be more likely to perform similiar motions to weight lifting, since stone tool making was becoming an important aspect of their lives. Thus a lot of lifting of heavy objects would occur (which is not too dissimiliar to weight lifting).

Furthermore push-ups and pull-ups are even more natural. For most of hominid history before Homo erectus our ancestors were predominantly arboreal, thus they would perform motions similiar to sit-ups and push-ups(because of an intensive use of arm and shoulder muscles, while climbing trees).

So working in the mines, which has taken up a very short time frame in human history, is not a more "natural" motion than many of the alternative excercise possibilities. So if anyone really wants a natural excercise, then I suggest living with a hunter and gatherer society (except that will not guarantee a natural excercise regime either since there's no strong evidence that any given hunter and gatherer society is a reliable replica of pre-holocene human lifestyles).

As a result I'm going to stick with weights until some real information comes in concerning what's a more "natural" and hence "better" excercise.



in response to chrisbryan's disparaging remarks: i don't think the point of shovelglove is that it's "better" than weightlifting. the point is you can do it at your apartment (remember: it's raining), it's more fun than pushups (you can pretend you're a french coal miner), and it works really well.


I agree with Joe, and would add that the whole premise of Shovelglove seems to be based on some sort of idea of exercising with dignity. The creator doesn't want to go to a depressing gym, and he doesn't want to grovel on the floor doing pushups like an ape. His routine keeps him fit and is easy to maintain because it eliminates many undesirable aspects of exercising that would have otherwise kept him from doing it. I personally don't think i would enjoy pretending to shovel and chop wood in my living room, but I think Reinhard is definitely onto something.


Just have to say...some of you are a pretty serious bunch! Especially chrisbryan! A lot of what Reinhard writes is meant tongue in cheek...he's a witty guy.

FWIW, this works. I do it, becuase I loathe weights and if you swing a 12 pound hammer through these movements, do it hard for 14 (or heck, 15) minutes, you will feel the pain. 12 pounds on the end of a stick is different than 12 pounds in your hand.

As for Reinhard's thing with pushups...well, I think he does them now anyway in addition to his shovelglove/hammer workouts. Again, I think he was being somewhat humorous when he wrote the degraded beast stuff or whatever it was...years ago.


Just want to say >>

Thanx Engels, good and funny idea, great results.

Yes there are squats, pushups etc can add
5 tibetans or 8 canadianc or 8 brokade.
Or if one is very old - like I am - and did some East Erupian army training there are 8 minute simple bodyweight training ! Simple but far from easy.

Yes there are dambbells etc ... good stuff, one has to very carefull to train.

AND there are clubs, maces, swords ( real heavy one ) excellent for training strength AND endurance AND flexibility. Here goes hammers as well.

1. shovelglove/sledgehammer RULES !
2. results are superb !
3. easy for home workouts
4. natural movements - most of them
5. all body exercises
6. compound exercises

and not easy at all !

Good work mister Engels !


My body likes to do pushups, until I get tired that is.