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billroy fineman

exercises for guitar players

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Hi folks - do people do any exercises for their hands, wrists, arms to keep your body in good playing form?

I've got a sore strumming arm at the elbo, I believe from working on a song with an aggressive strumming pattern - but it affects everything right now so taking a little hiatus.  I've also had issues with my fretting arm (forearm) getting sore as well from time to time, so believe it's time to get proactive.  Anybody have any tricks to keep father time at bay?  Thank you all for any input.

(Moderators - I was hoping the acoustic guys would have opinions on this, but feel free to move to the lounge if needed)

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My only issues have been a sore left hand and sore finger tips. What kind of physical shape are you in generally? Do you exercise daily? I do push-ups and sit-ups every day.

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I used to lift 12 oz. bottles many times a day. Well, cans also.

Day and night and extra work on weekends.

I'm actually in better shape now.

My exercise is maintaining 30 acres and a cabin and also a 100+ year old house in a small village. 

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1 hour ago, Boyd said:

My only issues have been a sore left hand and sore finger tips. What kind of physical shape are you in generally? Do you exercise daily? I do push-ups and sit-ups every day.

I'd say I'm in ok shape, but evidently need to get better.   Started doing light curls and stuff last winter - but it fell off, push ups and sit ups are just not fun, but probably necessary.

 

1 hour ago, Murph said:

I used to lift 12 oz. bottles many times a day. Well, cans also.

Day and night and extra work on weekends.

I'm actually in better shape now.

My exercise is maintaining 30 acres and a cabin and also a 100+ year old house in a small village. 

12 oz bottles, wuss - i've moved up to the 18oz cans.   Too bad we don't live closer - I'd offer to mow your 30 acres as a way to stay in shape.

 

46 minutes ago, scriv58 said:

the first minute is a stupid intro but the reminder may be found helpful

Thank you, will give it a proper review later today.  

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I have bad a right wrist from playing tennis for 40 year. Also working for 25 years with a mouse behind a computer doesn't help. I'm right handed, but thaught myself to use the mouse with my left hand many years ago. It really has helped save my right hand/wrist, and enabled me to play guitar more easily.

Lars

 

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3 hours ago, billroy said:

Hi folks - do people do any exercises for their hands, wrists, arms to keep your body in good playing form?

I've got a sore strumming arm at the elbo, I believe from working on a song with an aggressive strumming pattern - but it affects everything right now so taking a little hiatus.  I've also had issues with my fretting arm (forearm) getting sore as well from time to time, so believe it's time to get proactive.  Anybody have any tricks to keep father time at bay?  Thank you all for any input.

(Moderators - I was hoping the acoustic guys would have opinions on this, but feel free to move to the lounge if needed)

If your strumming arm’s elbow is sore, I had a similar situation a number of years ago.  I treated mine as Tennis Elbo, which though it has a name that references tennis, is a physical ailment that is not limited to tennis players, but pertains to pain from muscle movement of the elbo.  Mine was from my guitar playing and quite painful for awhile.  I looked up Tennis Elbo in the internet and treated mine as such.  If I recall, I bought a bandage at Walgreens that had a bubble in it that held the muscle that moves the elbo in place when I played for awhile and wore it under my shirt for awhile, to enable the muscle to heal...which it did over time.  

My other suggestion is to see a MD if it doesn’t go away or begin to go away within a reasonable period of time.

For future preventive measures, I exercise daily, including walking and arm stretching exercises and light cardio weightlifting.   

Hope this helps.

 QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by QuestionMark

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59 minutes ago, billroy said:

I'd say I'm in ok shape, but evidently need to get better.   Started doing light curls and stuff last winter - but it fell off, push ups and sit ups are just not fun, but probably necessary.

Having been a bit of a gym rat for the past 30 or so years, I've found the trick is to find physical activities that you actually enjoy doing.   It doesn't have to include going to the gym, but the key is to get your body moving. 

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I have a weird thing that I don't even remember where it came from.  It is a device about as wide as my hand, with two parallel pieces of nylon separated by three springs, with one side having grooves for the fingers to fit in. When I think of it, I use it on both hands while watching TV or listening to music. I am no spring chicken by any means, and sometimes my fret hand and wrist get pretty tired while playing. This thing really helps. I THINK I may have found it in a music store in Alaska when I lived there.

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On 5/28/2019 at 9:12 PM, billroy said:

Hi folks - do people do any exercises for their hands, wrists, arms to keep your body in good playing form?

I've got a sore strumming arm at the elbo, I believe from working on a song with an aggressive strumming pattern - but it affects everything right now so taking a little hiatus.  I've also had issues with my fretting arm (forearm) getting sore as well from time to time, so believe it's time to get proactive.  Anybody have any tricks to keep father time at bay?  Thank you all for any input.

(Moderators - I was hoping the acoustic guys would have opinions on this, but feel free to move to the lounge if needed)

 

 

You should probably try to find what is causing the problem and make sure it is guitar playing and not working on a computer or jackhammer too long....we tend to work longer than strum.

If it is  something guitar related - you mentioned a sore elbow from strumming too hard, well, don't strum too hard. Try a different approach - strum gently with your index finger only, for example. It is ok if you are playing at home for entertainment, have a rest, but it is the end of the world if you have 2 1/2 more hours to go in a gig.

While there is no one answer, warming up before stretching anything is usually helpful. I 'say hello to the guitar' - I strum an E chord, then play each note/string in the chord, play a gentle E major run that goes up and over the whole fingerboard just using my 1 and then 3 finger on my left hand...then back up. Then the same run with 2 and 4 finger left hand. Then I do an A Major scale at the 5th fret from deep to high and move the whole form up a fret, repeat, move all the way up as far as I can take it. Then I repeat that but play Thirds. Finish off with playing frets 1234 on each string with alternating picking, start at the 1 fret and do all strings and then move to the 5th fret, do all 1234, and then move up to the 8th etc.etc. Then I play a few chords and then an easy blues introduction that even my dog knows. But I have 'said hello to the guitar' and it has said HELLO back. I have warmed up my working bits and also got used to the different guitar/s neck/strings/action/ width......

If I don't do this, everything is wrong and aches later.

BluesKing777.

 

 

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Ahh thank you all.   I see this as two fold, treating the issue (as tennis elbo a la Lars) and then doing stuff to be preventative.  I like Mike Ls response to find something you like, I tried fishing, I like that, but no exercise 😞  I have started a decent stretching routine, brings me back to my fruit loopy yoga days, but I do feel better after doing it, so now to keep it up.  As I'm sharing too much information, I've been on my diet for two days as well, do I look thinner?  I feel bloated and grumpy.

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12 hours ago, Tekboy said:

I have a weird thing that I don't even remember where it came from.  It is a device about as wide as my hand, with two parallel pieces of nylon separated by three springs, with one side having grooves for the fingers to fit in. When I think of it, I use it on both hands while watching TV or listening to music. I am no spring chicken by any means, and sometimes my fret hand and wrist get pretty tired while playing. This thing really helps. I THINK I may have found it in a music store in Alaska when I lived there.

 

What I have sounds similar:  Gripmaster  by IMC products corp.   4 springs, each independent with a button/pad on top so each of your fingers has its own resistance.  The other side has a padded contoured rubber cushion where you rest it on the other side of your hand to squeeze. Comes in 3 tensions I believe.  I assume it builds strength, and is not 'therapeutic' in the sense it would fix a problem.  G'Luck. 

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Even if your guitar life is on a stool in front of a mic while recording, or sitting on the porch for yourself, or doing acoustic sets from a stool during dinner:

Get a good strap, wide enough, smooth/rough enough, whatever you like on the shirt side of it.  I like it smooth on the shirt side, guitar moves around a lot while I'm playing.

Set the strap up to the right length for you, and keep it that way.

Spend as much time as you can walking around, standing looking out the window, moving in some way while you play.  Helps keep your posture as good as it can be, keeps you from hunching over, extends your arm so you can get your shoulders into what you are doing, and is better for singing than hunchbacking it over your uber sweet vintage dreadnought.  Couple hours a day if you can, I used to get up at 5am and walk around for an hour, today I have all day to plonk at it and I still do.

I usually say this because that's how most of us spend time with our guitars, we are on our feet for three or two or four sets.  If you are lucky enough to stool it for a night, it still helps to be used to standing.  You'll be less tense up top, shoulders neck and back.

That's my advice.

rct

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Thank you again all, arm still hurts so still on hiatus.  It's only a hobby vs providing income, so not the end of the world.   Don't want to belabor the point, but did want to point out an observation,  those moments sitting down doing nothing are sure a lot more boring w/o a guitar in your hands...

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My exercise routine for my right hand and fingers consists of fingerpicking four measures, then pausing to  raise a 24oz coffee mug to my lips (keeps my 'Chet Atkins" type fingers in great shape).  For my left hand (chords), I typically break-off a piece of a large chocolate chip cookie after a few chords (keeps my fingers and wrist flexible and strong) and then take a bite (helps keep my lips moist for the harmonica.  Hard work, but worth it.......Seriously-------I've got some arthritis in my right hand and sometimes my left hand ring finger is a little sore at the joint, but I just play through the pain until it's gone..  No medications so far and my doctor said what I'm doing is good, because so long as the pain isn't horrible, I should keep flexing the muscles.

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Been working on things to make my 'tennis elbo' feel better for about 4 months now, so thought I'd give an update.

  • Still hurts sometimes, not all the times... it's a whole lot better than it was.
  • I do fruit loopy yoga stuff to stretch my neck and shoulders, then legs and lower back, fingers and wrists (4x / week anyways)
    • When I do several days in a row, feels really good
    • It's not hard, doesn't take long, and seems very beneficial - but due to human nature, avoid doing it
    • I'll say it a second time, really feels beneficial, the body just feels good when it's stretched out.
  • Asprin helps on the days my arm does hurt, then moderating the amount of playing
  • Tried CBD oil, but it rubbed off my arm onto the guitar, and the guitar started acting all goofy, so stopped
  • Different playing positions affect my arm more (the more crooked my arm is the more it hurts), finger picking sitting down is the worse, playing standing up is a lot better
  • Trying to avoid foods known to cause 'inflamation' in the body...  for this and as a general food management tool

So summary - doing lots of things, it's better but not done... input from this group helped me put the routine together, and thanks for that and I'm happy it is at least moving forward.  Tried laying the guitar down flat and seeing if I might like a dobro, but I'm resisting.  Stupid arms.

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19 minutes ago, billroy said:

Been working on things to make my 'tennis elbo' feel better for about 4 months now, so thought I'd give an update.

  • Tried CBD oil, but it rubbed off my arm onto the guitar, and the guitar started acting all goofy, so stopped

So summary - doing lots of things, it's better but not done... input from this group helped me put the routine together, and thanks for that and I'm happy it is at least moving forward.  Tried laying the guitar down flat and seeing if I might like a dobro, but I'm resisting.  Stupid arms.

THC lotion works better, Or eat some gummies or a caramel or two, wait 30 minutes and you wont even know what hurts

Edited by kwalker201

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2 hours ago, billroy said:

Been working on things to make my 'tennis elbo' feel better for about 4 months now, so thought I'd give an update.

  • Still hurts sometimes, not all the times... it's a whole lot better than it was.
  • I do fruit loopy yoga stuff to stretch my neck and shoulders, then legs and lower back, fingers and wrists (4x / week anyways)
    • When I do several days in a row, feels really good
    • It's not hard, doesn't take long, and seems very beneficial - but due to human nature, avoid doing it
    • I'll say it a second time, really feels beneficial, the body just feels good when it's stretched out.
  • Asprin helps on the days my arm does hurt, then moderating the amount of playing
  • Tried CBD oil, but it rubbed off my arm onto the guitar, and the guitar started acting all goofy, so stopped
  • Different playing positions affect my arm more (the more crooked my arm is the more it hurts), finger picking sitting down is the worse, playing standing up is a lot better
  • Trying to avoid foods known to cause 'inflamation' in the body...  for this and as a general food management tool

So summary - doing lots of things, it's better but not done... input from this group helped me put the routine together, and thanks for that and I'm happy it is at least moving forward.  Tried laying the guitar down flat and seeing if I might like a dobro, but I'm resisting.  Stupid arms.

Bill, did you, go see your Doctor?    If you have not, I'd consider.  you may just get a referral to either an orthopedic doc, or some one that works on these kinds of things.

My brother inlaw had the issue you are having as well.  He got in with some PT and the RIGHT exercises to address his issue, and it was eventually resolved

I had frozen should a few years ago. ,  If I stretched out my arm to get around an acoustic guitar and played for any length of time, it would just stick there (hence, frozen shoulder).. 

One afternoon I had kind of forgot about it, as it only hurt when I moved it in certain ways.  I tried to throw a foot ball  to my  grandson.   I wound up on the ground in total agony...  That was enough for me.. That week I was in seeing an ortho doc who xray'd on the spot, and knew exactly what it was..  With in 6 weeks, doing PT weekly and daily PT Exercises that I got from the sessions, it got 100% better.  at times it will start to stiffen up again, I do the exercises for a few days, and it goes away.

Go see your doctor man..  you may be surprised with how you will feel in a month.

 

 

Edited by kidblast

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2 hours ago, kwalker201 said:

THC lotion works better, Or eat some gummies or a caramel or two, wait 30 minutes and you wont even know what hurts

Sounds like a good weekend solution 🙂

 

1 hour ago, kidblast said:

Bill, did you, go see your Doctor?    If you have not, I'd consider.  you may just get a referral to either an orthopedic doc, or some one that works on these kinds of things.

My brother inlaw had the issue you are having as well.  He got in with some PT and the RIGHT exercises to address his issue, and it was eventually resolved

I had frozen should a few years ago. ,  If I stretched out my arm to get around an acoustic guitar and played for any length of time, it would just stick there (hence, frozen shoulder).. 

One afternoon I had kind of forgot about it, as it only hurt when I moved it in certain ways.  I tried to throw a foot ball  to my  grandson.   I wound up on the ground in total agony...  That was enough for me.. That week I was in seeing an ortho doc who xray'd on the spot, and knew exactly what it was..  With in 6 weeks, doing PT weekly and daily PT Exercises that I got from the sessions, it got 100% better.  at times it will start to stiffen up again, I do the exercises for a few days, and it goes away.

Go see your doctor man..  you may be surprised with how you will feel in a month.

 

 

I got an appt in Oct...  I do believe what I'm doing is in the right direction - but it's time to get a specialist to weigh in.  PS - you're too practical.

 

25 minutes ago, Leonard McCoy said:

Jogging around the block twice a week on the weekends.

Nice!  I've started walking a 2 mile path a couple times a week with the aim of getting up to jogging.  Feels good.  I hate running.

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Nice!  I've started walking a 2 mile path a couple times a week with the aim of getting up to jogging.  Feels good.  I hate running.

My advice here is just walk.   but try to do it religiously.   I ran quite a lot for a # of years.   4 to 5 miles a day,  5 days a week.     We had a pretty hard winter a few years ago, and I kind of fell off the wagon  I'd be one of those nuts you'd see running the side roads in January.   When the thaws came, I tried to get back to it, but  I've never been able to get back there, my body just doesn't want to do it.  I think being 62 has something to do wit it.

 So now, for the last 2 years, it's walking for me.   Truth is, the running beats the hell out of you,  Lower back, hips, feet..

I try to do the same amount of days a week, 3 ~ 3.5 miles if I have time 4.  I will still take a half mile along the route and run it,  but to run the whole route, I gave up on it.

I don't get that endorphin slam like I used to,  but my entire frame does much better on the walks then it will do on the runs.    I try to find hills, when I ran, I avoided them, we have some pretty steep ones around here.  And when I go golfing, (about once a week) I usually walk that too,  (only 9 holes during the week day afternoons)

 

 

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