View Full Version : body workout

10-05-2003, 06:04 AM
Hello everyone!

How true is it that gym workouts affect an instrumentalist's dexterity, does it damage the hands?
Is it unadvisable for instrumentalists not to workout?
I wish to improve my body tone, but i fear a bit that my chops could fall apart. please help.


10-05-2003, 10:17 AM
Nothing scientific in my answer here, but I've been hitting the weight room pretty hard for seven months, and I've made quite a bit of progress on the guitar during that time. I don't think there has been any effect on my finger dexterity. I am a little concerned sometimes because I do get sore wrists from working out occassionally, but I've never noticed wrist pain during guitar playing. I'm interested in hearing the opinions of others on this too!

10-05-2003, 11:18 AM
Ask Zakk Wylde

or this guy :cool:

10-05-2003, 01:27 PM
Kane Roberts, right ?

Itīs a bummer... George Lynch used to have workout-tips on his site years ago... not anymore. I donīt know whether he contributes to it a lot these days

10-05-2003, 01:51 PM
I've just come back from the gym :) I go regularly, about 2-3 times a week. Like Danster, i too have sore wrists from working out sometimes. But less so these days, since i try to do low impact excercises where available. Also, i don't pump my muscles, i go to the gym to feel good, to avoid pains from sitting at the office to much, etc, and to relieve stress. Those guys that go 'ok, i could do 50kg's yesterday, so i'll try 90 today' wear out their bodies. I stay away from that. Most gyms won't allow you to work out on your own unless you've done a session under the supervision of a personal trainer. The stuff they say makes sense, if you just follow that, you should be safe from harm.

Working out is good for everyone. It makes you more healthy, more optimistic, more creative...

10-05-2003, 03:11 PM
Hey Roel, well according to me it has nothing to do. Unless of course your biceps have a 2m diameter, then it does get kinda complicated to mute strings lol. Maybe DANF can give us a hand here.

10-05-2003, 03:20 PM
Vai, Lynch, Wylde, Petrucci, Morse, etc... these guys all work out a lot. Some are power lifter types (Lynch & Wylde), some aren't... even Yngwie works out and talks about it on his web site.

Fitness is very important. I would not play guitar right after hitting the weights though. I'd wait several hours, or else play before lifting. When I play right after lifting I find that my fine motor control is usually a bit shaky, especially after curls or forearm workouts. This is probably due to the buildup of lactic acid or some similar phenomenon.

10-06-2003, 03:13 AM
absolutely agree there. i find that i get the shakes in the hands after a hard workout, and therefore my playing is severely affected. i find it better if i either do a workout well in advance of practice, or well after. otherwise every note i hit has vibrato! (not a bad thing i guess).

workouts i would recommend though, especially if you use a heavy guitar. my les paul weighs plenty, and i feel i can play for much longer standing up if i have done some lat/trap/deltoid workouts

10-06-2003, 06:53 AM
Well, dexterity is more a product of your nervous system than your muscles but I can tell you that I've figured out myself that bowling with a 15lbs ball has improved the dynamics of my picking :P Increased muscle mass in your forearms can provide you with more "oomph" and stability but it won't really affect your speed.

I don't want to touch a nerve here (no pun intended) but look at how many grossly overweight musicians die young, I totally would encourage you to workout it improves your ability to burn calories. balances out serotonin levels (Put you in a good mood to practice) and keeps everything running smoothly for a long life of guitar playing. Obviously you don't want to perform after working out (shaking etc.) but go ahead and practice, you can just consider it a fantastic warmup.

Be reasonable with your fitness goals and remember that as far as fitness goes (rather than athletic ability goes) cardiovascular is where it's at. If you do weight training always train your muscles in opposite pairs (biceps, then triceps. Quads, then hamstrings) to insure that you don't lose flexibility in that muscle group.


10-06-2003, 02:46 PM
True there, I am also a fitness freak and I must say that, as long as you do it reasonably working out is a great tool to improve your physical condition and muscle response and that my friend includes your guitar playing, I won't go onto detail on how it actually works, instead I'll give you some tips that have helped me out quite a bit:

1. Cardio is the most important thing in your workout, skip
everything else if you have to but NEVER cardio, do at the very
least 20 minutes (30 if you're trying to lose weight)
2. Always stretch afterwards, that will help you achieve two
results your muscles won't be as stiff after the work out and
you will reduce the pain associated with overtraining.
3. DO NOT lift more than you can (sounds obvious but A LOT of
people overlook it) otherwise you can develop problems such
as tendinitis or even a major injury, the rule that works for me
is: "If you can do more than 12 rep in 4 sets it's too light but if
you can't do 8 it's too heavy"

Ok, I hope this helps.


11-22-2003, 10:56 AM
Thanks to all of you who gave responses.

let me tell you about a simple finger workout i experimented about since last month. This is similar to the "basic" chromatic exercise usually taught to beginning lead players.

I stood facing a wall at about arms' length, did finger push-ups (or "push-offs" if you'd like to call it that) on the wall, with all ten fingers. I varied the angle of my fingers to the wall, first time-the fingers stood perpendicular, next i made them a bit slanted. I especially focused on the left hand index finger and thumb, which usually aches after playing a song using many barre chords. I tried different variations with all the fingers on the wall, as i do when playing scales (134, 124, 34, 24, 12 fingers etc.) and this has since given me lightness and strength during playing. I hope this could bring many of you good too if you would like to try.

Most of the time, i play acoustic guitar with heavy gauge strings (a set of heavy Martin strings) because of the sound. when I play single notes/lead, before i had a little setback on bending techniques. I could only bend the three thinnest strings up to a major second, and bending gave a hard 'opposition' to my lh fingers. But since exercising with my fingers on the wall, it gave my hands, and fingers more endurance and lightness in playing.
I played electric guitar after that, and i was amazed at the lightness of my fingering (of course, the guitar was armed with super slinky Ernie Balls) that kind of exercise contributed to the dexterity i already had, cuz movement over the whole fingerboard is so much easier, while playing consistently clean tones.

11-23-2003, 10:07 PM
does anyone know of a fitness site, like a how to of weightlifting??? And different exercises and stuff????
I wanna try to avoid injury :)

11-24-2003, 01:04 PM
I don't know of any sites (use google though and you'll find like a million) but I can give you some advice on some principles that have worked for me:

1. Always keep your abs tight (they'll support your back and you'll
find that they'll get toned even without you doing situps)
2. If it hurts you're doing it wrong (if you do it right you may be
sore the next few days but that's a different)
3. Take it EASY do not go on crazy trying to bench press 80
pounds because you can, start out below your natural
strengtht that way you'll concentrate on doing the right
movements instead of pushing the weights up.
4. Work out slow and concentrate (it's a lot better to do slow
curls with 10 pounds than doing fats ones with 20) you'll feel
it, believe me
5. If you can't do 4 sets of 8 reps it's too heavy.
6. If you can do more than 4 sets of 15 it's too light.
7. There's nothing wrong with drinking water during your
session, go ahead and drink all you want (don't over do it or
you'll get a bellyache)
8. Keep the right possition at all times, once you get past the 1st
couple of weeks and start adding weight use the same
technique that you used for light weight.

I hope this helps.


11-24-2003, 03:22 PM
...that good regular sex sessions can do wonders.

Burns a lot of calories

Different positions will work the muscles in different parts of the body, such as abs, legs, thighs, arms, etc.

11-24-2003, 04:02 PM
True there, an active sex life in addition to a regular work out routine will keep you happy :D

And actually with great sex session (45 - 60 minutes of vigorous sex) you'll burn as much as doing two hours of cardio how's that?

Try it and tell me how you feel after just two months of trying it :)

I hope this helps ;)


11-24-2003, 06:09 PM
But always practice safe sex ya damn youngsters! You don't want no gonno-herpa-cephal-aids hehe.

A few other littles notes in addition to what Jorge said. Cardiovascular excercise should be part of your routine, it reduces your chance of heart attack down the road and makes your body more efficient at using oxygen. It is also MUCH more effective at burning fat.

Regarding reps (repetitions of lifts) in weight lifting. Doing more reps with less weight will tone your muscles (there's that word again), doing fewer reps with more weight will build your strength. It all depends on your goal. If you are very overweight, diabetic, have a history of heart disease or are pregnant (Not you Metaljustice!) you should consider seeing your physician before you alter your diet or start a rigorous excercise program.


11-24-2003, 06:41 PM
at least for me

I have twins (2 and a half year olds), and if I plan on being able to have time to play guitar, I better practice super safe sex all the time. Other parents will know what I am talking about.

11-24-2003, 06:46 PM
Safe sex keeps kids away :D, and leaves more time for guitar and... more sex :p

11-25-2003, 12:04 AM
Originally posted by DanF
Cardiovascular excercise ...is also MUCH more effective at burning fat. True, but I really like weight training for weight (body fat) control. Thing is, if you put muscle on by weight training, you've put on tissue which is highly active metabolically. Therefore, the more muscle mass you have, the more fat your body will burn 24hrs a day, not just while you're exercising.

11-25-2003, 01:26 AM
You know I actually once thought these forums were about musicianship :mad: :mad: :mad:

11-25-2003, 02:44 AM
No I'm not pregnant :)

but I have an Idea

I'm going to devise a way to make it so you can have the ultimate excercise......SEX and RUNNING at the SAME TIME!!!!! Now thats a work out..... :D :eek: :rolleyes:

tee hee

11-25-2003, 03:40 AM
That's true, building lean muscle mass will help burn fat also, ideally you should mix them. A mix of cardio, resistance training and flexibility is the best you can do. This is the recipe for good health.

Strength training will not lower your risk of having a heart attack; Cardio won't make your muscles bigger (though they might be more noticeable with less fat ;)) and neither of the above will increase your resistance to injury (actually without flexibility training you increase your chances of injuring yourself lifting or running etc.)

Anything is better than nothing though. The most important thing is to get off your butt and do something.


11-25-2003, 08:46 PM
even Yngwie works out and talks about it on his web site.

I know this is a bit off what u lot r talkin bout now (safe sex n all :D), but i found that real funny. I mean what the hell does Yngwie do for his workouts? Doughnut lifting or sumthing!? Lol.

I could maybe see him doing it back when he looked proper skinny, but now....:D

11-25-2003, 09:26 PM
What about swimming ?

Coz you all talk about doing repetitive exercises on machines (I guess), but what are the best other individual sports usefull for playing guitar ?
I guess we need more flexibility and endurance than strength, at least for the arms and hands ? (of course it's good for the body and mind as a whole to do sports... or sex :)

As I've been a computer nerd practically as long as I can remember, I've never practiced anything except my 10 fingers, and even that didn't help for playing guitar :(
And now I became a guitar nerd, which isn't much better sportwise.
Hey, at least it's better than a computer to catch girls ! Well, I've been told so, but my playing still sucks so hard I couldn't try that yet ;)


11-26-2003, 02:07 AM
John Petrucci does workout (he says so in his forums). Have you ever seen his arms? Big!

And everyone knows what Jordan Rudess's favorite sport is!
Jordan Rudess (http://www.dream-theater.com/info_biography.php?s=rudess) (Scroll down)

Swimming is literallt the best physical activity your body can do. It literally works out every part of the body (legs, abs, butt, upper body, mind, lungs, appendix, etc)

11-26-2003, 12:16 PM
I agree with both of you Danf and Danster, a combination of strenght, flexibility and endurance is the best stuff to be in good health ( and look good :D ) I stopped doing flexibility stuff when I stoped doing martial arts and a year later I riped my left hamstring (ouch! I'm still trying to recover from that one) so do a balanced inteligent work out or you'll end up like me :D .

Guitarwise I don't think physical excersice (beyond stretches for the forearms and wrists) do much good to guitar playing, but they don't do any bad to it and they're good for you so you have no excuse. So just get to the gym and work out, Steve Morse does (or at least he did) JP, Kirk Hammet (waiting for your reply Anubis :D ) and many others do.

Oh and one more thing, we didn't mean to offend anyone. most (if not all) of us are serious musicians, but there's nothing wrong with joking once in a while, so try and loosen up a little, HAVE FUN :D.


11-26-2003, 02:31 PM
fun is good

11-30-2003, 09:17 AM
man you never looked at steve morse's arm?
if he doesn't workout than he has a arm disease that makes his arms grow. LOL :D :D :D

12-02-2003, 12:41 PM
Originally posted by forgottenking2
Guitarwise I don't think physical excersice (beyond stretches for the forearms and wrists) do much good to guitar playing, but they don't do any bad to it and they're good for you so you have no excuse.I definitely think physical exercise do good to guitar playing. I'm no sportsman, rather the opposite on the scale of sportivity (computer analyst) and I can tell you guitar playing tires me a lot. Because the whole body supports the effort of my playing, when I'm physically tired, even if my hands are wrists are fresh, I won't be able to play much. The breathing matters a lot too...
So I'm positively sure that if I were to practice a sport, my general condition would improve and so would my playing...

Originally posted by forgottenking2
there's nothing wrong with joking once in a while, so try and loosen up a little, HAVE FUN :D.
Indeed, there's something terribly wrong with not joking once in a while... Life is beautiful, full of humor, tastefull... And guitar makes it sound good too ! Also, smiling is contagious, so... cheeeeese :)