So this morning I did my first shovelglove routine and I've got to say that I feel great! It was easy, took only 14 minutes, and worked out my upper body considerably. I was initially worried about where I would do the exercise since wielding a sledgehammer in realistic activities might entail a whole lot of smashing, but I found a spot at the foot of my stairs that works perfectly.
After 200 shovelling repetitions—he was right that you could do two rotations of the routine in 14 minutes—my arms feel like elastic. When I extend them, they say, "Umm, let's just retract a little, shall we?" It's better than what they were saying right after the workout, "Hey buddy, you're a desk jockey. The hands are the ones that are supposed to exercise." Okay, so anthropomorphizing your body is a little tired but you'll have to excuse me.
The amazing thing is that I could definitely see myself developing the upper-body strength I've lacked my entire life. I'm not looking to be The Hulk or anything, but it would be nice to be able to dig a trench without getting sore or to rip a phone book in half. The one idiosyncrasy in the system that I discovered was that the guy that made the chopping wood has clearly never chopped wood since this technique would just splinter chips off the logs, but that's really a nitpick.
[UPDATE (6/8/05): Day after correction: my right arm is doing splendid but my left arm bicep is terrifically sore. I can't even fully extend it. While I was doing the exercise, I noticed the difference in sensation between the two arms but I wrote it off as muscular grousing. I now know what that muscle was trying to tell me. I didn't shovelglove this morning for that reason. Tomorrow I'm going to give that muscle the day off again, only do one rotation, and relegate my right arm to more of a supporting role. Once it's doing better, I'll work it back into the mix and take it easier.]
[UPDATE (6/9/05): Nope, today's no good to resume the exercise. It's actually become painful to extend my left arm. I know how a Tyrannosaurus rex must've felt because I have to bend over to reach anything below waist level; I'm sure it's rather comical to watch. This has been a very important lesson learned.]