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> How To Safely Increase My Practice Time?
dark dude
post Jan 8 2011, 02:19 PM
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(NOTE: The important parts are in BOLD for those who don't feel like reading a block of text tongue.gif)

I'm used to practicing for around 2 hours most days, but recently tried to boost this to this routine:

CODE
Warm up really well - as long as it takes, ~30min (stretches, chromatics, more stretches!)

Alternate picking: 4 exercises, 15 min each.

Sweep picking: 3 exercises, 15 min each.

Legato: 3 exercises, 15 min each.

String skipping: 3 exercises, 15 min each.

Songs: 1 hour

Warm down with more stretching and massages


If I feel my hands tensing up, I stop during the exercise and stretch and massage them for a bit. Between exercises and sections, I'll take small 5 - 10 min breaks to give my hands a rest (it's really my fretting hand that needs this). Lastly, some sections are a lot more intensive than others; the legato section has my fretting hand frequently tensing while trying to build more strength, but it's all stretched and massaged out immediately.

Knowing that more than doubling my routine would take getting used to caused me to build it up like this:

S M T W Th F Sa (days of the week)

Play Rest Play Play Rest Play Rest

This morning, my fretting hand felt tired (as usual after a day of practice) as if I just had a good gym session, but last night a few hours after finishing, I had about 15 minutes worth of a dull pain in the back of my fretting hand. It seems to have gone this morning.

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So, what would be the best routine enable me to practice for this long daily? I've seen some great improvements in a short space of time, but I don't want to injure myself at the same time. I may try icing my hands and forearm down again, thoughts? Comments?


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jan 8 2011, 03:47 PM
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Try practicing twice in one day. During different parts of day. That way your hands will have time to recover between the sessions and shorter practice sessions through the day will not feel so demanding.


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dark dude
post Jan 8 2011, 04:08 PM
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Hmm, that's an idea. Definately sounds promising, will try to do ~3 hours practice / 12 hours.


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Kristian Hyvarin...
post Jan 9 2011, 04:19 PM
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I agree with Bogdan. I used to train six hours straight, but it became too much of a chore so now I usually start by playing two hours (with a 15-minute break) and then play an hour or two whenever I feel like it... I end up training 4-6 hours a day, which is pretty much what I think I need.
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MonkeyDAthos
post Jan 9 2011, 04:31 PM
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QUOTE (Kristian Hyvarinen @ Jan 9 2011, 03:19 PM) *
I agree with Bogdan. I used to train six hours straight, but it became too much of a chore so now I usually start by playing two hours (with a 15-minute break) and then play an hour or two whenever I feel like it... I end up training 4-6 hours a day, which is pretty much what I think I need.


pretty much do the same q:


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Bogdan Radovic
post Jan 9 2011, 05:51 PM
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QUOTE (dark dude @ Jan 8 2011, 04:08 PM) *
Hmm, that's an idea. Definately sounds promising, will try to do ~3 hours practice / 12 hours.


Let me know how it works for you! You can also split practice sessions to exercises and learning songs.


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Ben Higgins
post Jan 9 2011, 07:04 PM
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Wow, that's an organised schedule. I must admit, I don't really gravitate towards this regimented style or practice but that's just me.. but these are my thoughts on it..

It is essential to remember that our bodies were not designed to do repetitive tasks.. a muscle can only stand so long of being worked / used in the same way. For the health of our muscles / tendons / ligaments etc it's beneficial to us to vary our physical actions in order to retain balance and avoid overworking certain body parts.

It seems you're very vigilant and responsible about your stretches.. however even this can sometimes not be enough when we're asking our body to do the same task over and over... this leads to certain areas being over worked and the surrounding areas being under worked. This physical imbalance can lead to injury, even though we seem to be keeping an eye on things. Unfortunately I speak from personal experience.

That pain in the back of your hand is not a good thing.. it's nature's way of telling you 'I need rest !' or that you need to rethink the demands you're asking of it. I truly recommend varying your playing in order to allow certain muscle groups to rest and not be targeted relentlessly.

Plus, do you really need to practice more than what you do ? A lot of us guitarists feel pressured by that 80's GIT mentality of play, play, play 'till you can't stay awake, which is not helpful. If you make progress with what you do, then I wouldn't rock the boat. It's like us thinking that if we stay awake 24/7, then we can live a year in 6 months time... of course that's impossible.. there's only so much we can do. I wouldn't pressure yourself to increase your physical work load. Balance is the key always, for mind, body, health... smile.gif

P.S. I would do some research about Carpal Tunnel & Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.. and Tennis Elbow.. not that you're getting it but if you're forewarned about these conditions, then you can recognise when you're pushing it too far.


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dark dude
post Jan 9 2011, 09:56 PM
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The reasons as to why I'm doing so much at the moment is because I have the time, and I don't know if I will in a few months, and I'm seeing a nice rate of improvement even though it hasn't been going long.

I know about CTS and the like, which is why I posted this. I feel that if I push myself enough, I'll get the results I want. Of course, if I go 24/7, I'm just going to lose everything I've worked for by injurying myself seriously, so the balance is also an active decision.

I think that the main reason my fretting hand is getting pulverized is that it's still gaining strength and I can feel the exercises getting easier. Bogdan's suggestion sounds promising as it's a basic idea which should work out and I think that the intensity will ease off a bit after a week or two. I'm trying to take days off to allow recovery (now and between the routine) and then hitting it again. Shooting for efficiency here and I'm cutting it preeeeeeetty fine haha. Or perhaps it's better likened to how footballers train, it's intense for most days of the week, but ice baths enable them to do more in that time and to carry on with their routines.

Unfortunately, the whole GIT approach appeals to me and I have friends who have done the same, and are rising in the industry now. All I need is patience and to play enough music in my routine to not lose motivation/burn out.

Appreciate the insight and suggestions from you guys, cheers.

This post has been edited by dark dude: Jan 9 2011, 09:57 PM


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Ben Higgins
post Jan 10 2011, 10:43 AM
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Ok Man, that's cool if it works for you.. you already know about the different injuries through over working so at least you can help yourself avoid them. If it's bringing you good results then go for it. smile.gif


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maharzan
post Jan 10 2011, 11:03 AM
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If it starts to pain, you should stop. Don't over push yourself. Things will come gradually. For me, I have found that, even if it pains a bit, I keep on practicing. After a long time, I just feel its not coming but then after a break of a day or two, the same thing becomes quite easy. If it starts to pain a lot, then avoid practicing for that day. It takes a lot of time to train your muscles to do what you exactly want. smile.gif Taking breaks and massaging a good option as well.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Jan 12 2011, 02:18 AM
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This is a cool routine. I wouldn't change it if you are comfortable with it. If you experience some pain, it's normal, and I would advise that make some rests, and massage fingers a bit in those rests. What is important is to let your fingers adapt to new regime. If the problem continues after some time, and you still feel pain, then you can try to take a general break from practicing for couple of days, or a week.

What I would like to know is what exactly you are fretting, scales arpeggios etc.. those things are very important, and they have to be connected together while practicing. For example if you are doing APs on major scale, then doing sweeps on those major scale triad arpeggios would be logical for me. Another important thing that you are missing in your sessions are chords. They are as much as important as anything else.


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Todd Simpson
post Jan 20 2011, 12:26 AM
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The tensing up is a real serious problem. Can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and other issues. Force yourself to stay loose even when playing fast. You'll see guys who look like there entire body tightens up when they play fast. It's a bad habit and hard to break free of. But it's like breathing, you will naturally just breathe, but if you focus on it, you can over ride your body and control your breathing or hold your breathe. Picking is sorta the same type thing. You will naturally tense up a bit when going fast, you have to force you body to loosen up by focusing on it while playing. Just takes practice.

We deal with this type of thing in my Saturday Video chat lesson all the time. Join us!


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