Reply to this topicStart new topic
> Injuries, Stretching & Guitar !, How do we evolve a better way ?
Ben Higgins
post Dec 7 2014, 11:50 AM
Post #1


Instructor
Group Icon

Group: GMC Instructor
Posts: 13.765
Joined: 11-March 10
From: England
Member No.: 9.820



One of the things that sucks the most has to be injuries that force us to take a break from the guitar, am I right ?

People sometimes find it hard to motivate themselves to practise but do you know what ? I think it's harder to stop yourself practising ! And this is something that becomes apparent when you're forced to lay off from the instrument for whatever reason. It could just be that you've been playing hard for a few days and everything feels a bit tired and achy. Overuse is usually a factor in why we have to take a break from playing. But sometimes it's something more serious like a strained tendon. Playing with cold hands that are not 'lubed up' and ready for action is asking for something to go wrong. If your bits and pieces are not warmed up then muscles don't contract and retract as efficiently as they should and it puts extra strain on tendons and ligaments.

That leads me on to something that usually gets touted as a 'warm up' - static stretching. I don't want to urinate on anyone's parade here because static stretching before exercise is like an old tradition but I think 2 key words here are old and tradition. How many old traditions have been replaced because they're outdated and discovered to be either of no use or detrimental ? Too many to think about so with that in mind, maybe its' time we embraced that it's not the best thing for us to do before we intend to exercise or play guitar.

Static stretching is where you stretch a muscle group and hold it for a period of time, without moving. We're all familiar with that, yeah ? The thing is, by stretching the muscle you're decreasing the neural performance or something and causing relaxation. Now, relaxation is something we want as guitar players but not at the expense of reduced physical performance. It's like taking an elastic band and stretching it until all the elasticity and tension has gone, then expecting the band to perform the same function. Explosive power is not the same. Reaction speed isn't the same. But please, my layman's understanding of this is no substitute for your own research so I urge you to go and check this stuff out yourself from a number of sources. Cross reference, read both sides of the argument, read people's personal experiences and decide for yourself. But do look at it.

The bottom line is that most institutions have moved on from the old days of static stretching before exercise as they've kept up to date with progress in that field. Of course, many martial arts schools or sports clubs may still do it but they're probably not run by people who keep up to date with progress. Static stretching still has its place but it's now recommended as a post exercise activity only.

So what should take the place of static stretching ? Dynamic stretching is the thing now. You're moving your body through a range of motions designed to wake up the muscle groups and get them working at a much reduced intensity to allow them to warm up and get the blood flow happening. Here's an explanation from wiki but again it's worth doing your own research about this:

Dynamic stretching works by the practitioner gently propelling their muscles towards their maximum range of motion. It is very important to note that the practitioner should not use jerky, forced movements to increase the range of motion beyond what is comfortable as it can easily cause injury. In general, the practitioner wants to move (stretch) the muscle in a similar way that they are going to move them in a workout. For example a martial arts practitioner who wants to stretch a hamstring for a kick may swing a straight leg forward to gradually increase the height they can obtain. Doing light kicks, with little explosive acceleration, while gradually increasing height, could also be considered a dynamic stretch. - Wikipedia

Obviously, most or all of the info will be dealing with sports related activities rather than the needs of a musician so we need to take the concepts and apply it to our own activities. Do I always practise what I preach ? Hell no ! But I try to do something like this:

If my hands are cold, stiff and slow to respond then my priority is heating them up and getting the blood flowing. This is hard to do in my opinion as any heat generated by rubbing the hands together or holding a cup of hot drink dissipates pretty quickly, so it takes a while to get the hand feeling warmer and looser. If my hands are warm enough then I'll pick up the guitar and just ease myself into it with some relaxed chord shapes, random noodling. But it's all done with very little pressure from the fingers. I go easy on anything that requires more muscular concentration like vibrato or bending. I just let the fingers find their way without pushing them or going for stretchy licks too quickly. In this way, this is as close to dynamic stretching as we can get. It's 'sports specific' if you will; it's using the fingers through a range of motion that is similar to, or identical to the intended activity. By using our bits and pieces at an unhurried, lower intensity we allow the hands to loosen and warm up naturally.

That's how I mainly do it, anyway. There's no real resource that I know of where we can get a load of ideas on guitar specific dynamic warm ups.. oh no, wait a minute. Yes there is - it's here. As players ourselves we're the ones who will be making these discoveries and testing them out for ourselves so it's our responsibility to gather and share this information so that good physical practises related to guitar playing can continue to evolve just as sports science does.

We are the ones who have to do it so let's share our experiences and thoughts about this. Aside from the process that I mentioned earlier, what other dynamic stretches or movements could help a guitar player prepare for a practise session ? It's not just fingers and hands involved in guitar playing either. What about your wrists, forearms, elbows, triceps, shoulders, neck muscles ? Whilst they all may not be involved in the execution of a technique, tightness or reduced mobility in those areas could affect the performance of the hands. The hands are basically the very tip of a larger tool. So what about warm ups to help those areas too ?


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
SpaseMoonkey
post Dec 7 2014, 01:00 PM
Post #2


GMC:er
*

Group: Members
Posts: 951
Joined: 8-May 11
From: Warren, Ohio
Member No.: 12.764



Well.. This is a very fitting thing right now to talk about.

I won't play if my hands are cold depending on why they are cold. If I was outside doing something in the snow or maybe even driving a short distance to where the heat never got warm enough. I will wait it out a bit and let my hands get from that cold achy feeling to the hey they are stiff because we haven't been using them. From that point I will pick up the guitar and noodle a bit and just do some exercises. Start slow and gradually get faster as my hands warm up. I'm starting to see that I can kill 2 birds with 1 stone. I can get my sync and warmth at the same time.

I have always felt that as long as my hands are warm, then everything is fine. But I think we should be concerned with the body as a whole. Because one day we are going to have that "I'm not as young as I use to be". So we should just get into a routine to prepare ourselves to try and prevent that for as long as we can!

This is coming from a 31 year old who was off of work for a week due to hurting his back. It came from playing the guitar, I have a computer chair with arms so I kinda sit weird some times. Kinda pushed up towards the edge, sideways, and bent way over. I went to set the guitar down and I over extended my body to set it in the stand. At that point my back kinda locked up in pain. I couldn't even get out of my chair alone at that point. After I got up I could hear a lot of people here. Dude it's your back, it's one of the most important parts of our bodies right next to our hands. So I was like suck it up buttercup! Got a ride to urgent care and found out I sprained my back. I was playing for a few hours in that position. So now I try to get up and walk every hour or two, or I continue to play standing for a little while just to get those legs and back stretched. So I wanted to add the stress that it can happen to anyone, young or old, no matter the number we are we should always be concerned of our health and body.

After all this happening, I'm actually looking into getting a new chair by Christmas and to get it without arms so that I can have better posture while playing. 3 days of not touching a guitar because of pain felt like I didn't play for years. So its time to be more careful, I'm old!


--------------------
Guitars:
Ibanez RG920QM (Black Ice) , Ibanez S770PB (Natural Flat) , Ibanez RG470XL (Black Perl) , Squire IV Jazz Bass (Sunburst)
Gear:
Kemper Profiling Amp , Mesa Mark 5:25

My YouTube Page.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Ben Higgins
post Dec 7 2014, 02:29 PM
Post #3


Instructor
Group Icon

Group: GMC Instructor
Posts: 13.765
Joined: 11-March 10
From: England
Member No.: 9.820



QUOTE (SpaseMoonkey @ Dec 7 2014, 01:00 PM) *
This is coming from a 31 year old who was off of work for a week due to hurting his back. It came from playing the guitar, I have a computer chair with arms so I kinda sit weird some times. Kinda pushed up towards the edge, sideways, and bent way over. I went to set the guitar down and I over extended my body to set it in the stand. At that point my back kinda locked up in pain. I couldn't even get out of my chair alone at that point. After I got up I could hear a lot of people here. Dude it's your back, it's one of the most important parts of our bodies right next to our hands. So I was like suck it up buttercup! Got a ride to urgent care and found out I sprained my back. I was playing for a few hours in that position. So now I try to get up and walk every hour or two, or I continue to play standing for a little while just to get those legs and back stretched. So I wanted to add the stress that it can happen to anyone, young or old, no matter the number we are we should always be concerned of our health and body.


Totally, man.. sitting down in chairs for long periods is just so anti nature it's untrue ! rolleyes.gif

Computers are great but it sucks that it's just such a physically detrimental posture. I swear that my RSI wouldn't be as much of a problem if it wasn't for all the mouse work.

QUOTE (SpaseMoonkey @ Dec 7 2014, 01:00 PM) *
So its time to be more careful, I'm old!


No, you don't get to use that one yet, man... only 31 !!! tongue.gif

There's loads of 80 yr old Japanese senseis giving you a disapproving look right now laugh.gif


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
SpaseMoonkey
post Dec 7 2014, 02:58 PM
Post #4


GMC:er
*

Group: Members
Posts: 951
Joined: 8-May 11
From: Warren, Ohio
Member No.: 12.764



QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Dec 7 2014, 08:29 AM) *
Totally, man.. sitting down in chairs for long periods is just so anti nature it's untrue ! rolleyes.gif

Computers are great but it sucks that it's just such a physically detrimental posture. I swear that my RSI wouldn't be as much of a problem if it wasn't for all the mouse work.


The funny part was when I was in with the doctor, he's like so why were you actually getting up? Well... I wanted a piece of oreo pie... *shakes fist in the air* YOU HAVE FAILED ME FOOD! laugh.gif


QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Dec 7 2014, 08:29 AM) *
No, you don't get to use that one yet, man... only 31 !!! tongue.gif

There's loads of 80 yr old Japanese senseis giving you a disapproving look right now laugh.gif


I am my mothers son? cool.gif

She picked these up at the store one day and her back went out!



Nah just means that we need to realize to take care of our bodies more. Got an item that's weird to hold alone? Well don't be like psh! I got this, ask for help. Something is heavy and has to lifted a certain height, bend with the legs and if you can find some help. We only live once, make the best of what we have as we are only given one chance! A back, neck, arms, shoulder, and hands, basically our entire upper body. If one of those goes down, we can have a set back or if it's bad enough lose the ability to be able to create music. We range from artists, studio musicians, and even a hobbyist. We all have the common factor of enjoying, creating, and playing music. Its a passion we have inside us, a fire that is always lit and burning. We lose that, we lose a part of ourselves, no one wants that.

I'm not sure where my maturity happened with these sort of things at all. Dunno if it's from the music, life experiences, or even the discipline we have to teach ourselves to become better at we love. For all I know it could just be the community here. All the like minded people who share experiences, students helping each other get better, the instructors who help to the best that they can to show us the paths, the life lessons we hear as people talk of, or even the reoccurring talk of zen like qualities. But no matter what it's helped me be a better person in the end because of all the positivity that is here. All the more reasons to care more about ourselves, so that as a guitarist and an individual I can help spread the emotions through music as I can't sing! laugh.gif


--------------------
Guitars:
Ibanez RG920QM (Black Ice) , Ibanez S770PB (Natural Flat) , Ibanez RG470XL (Black Perl) , Squire IV Jazz Bass (Sunburst)
Gear:
Kemper Profiling Amp , Mesa Mark 5:25

My YouTube Page.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
klasaine
post Dec 7 2014, 06:46 PM
Post #5


GMC:er
*

Group: Members
Posts: 2.659
Joined: 30-December 12
From: Los Angeles, CA
Member No.: 17.304



I've never really 'hurt' myself playing guitar but I have some injuries due to other things.
In fact two or three days a ago I was digging up some of my lawn and I really f'd up my right shoulder. So bad that I need to go to a chiropractor.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Ben Higgins
post Dec 7 2014, 06:54 PM
Post #6


Instructor
Group Icon

Group: GMC Instructor
Posts: 13.765
Joined: 11-March 10
From: England
Member No.: 9.820



QUOTE (klasaine @ Dec 7 2014, 06:46 PM) *
I've never really 'hurt' myself playing guitar but I have some injuries due to other things.
In fact two or three days a ago I was digging up some of my lawn and I really f'd up my right shoulder. So bad that I need to go to a chiropractor.


Yep, non guitar related injuries are often to blame. Damn that's gotta suck. Shoulders are notoriously easy to screw up.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
klasaine
post Dec 8 2014, 01:35 AM
Post #7


GMC:er
*

Group: Members
Posts: 2.659
Joined: 30-December 12
From: Los Angeles, CA
Member No.: 17.304



I'm used to it. I have a really good chiro that specializes in dancers, athletes and musicians. She rarely ever says "don't work". Its more about laying off everything else.

The most interesting thing she told me was that repetitive stress type of injuries don't usually show up until you add a 'new' activity to your daily routine (of physical stress) or do something totally outside of that normal routine no mater how strenuous that 'normal' routine may be. In my case yeah, I played guitar without injury for 30+ years. The new activity I added was pulling a carseat/baby carrier in out of a car and pushing a stroller. My arms and shoulders and neck basically 'screamed' "ENOUGH! We can take the constant guitar playing but you can't add a new activity".
Once I dealt with the new, added activities - paying attention to how I lifted and pushed, along with some twice a month chiro tweaking for about 4 months - everything got back to normal. Every once in awhile I do something stupid and need a re-alignment ... like now.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Dec 8 2014, 02:20 AM


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
PosterBoy
post Dec 8 2014, 08:30 AM
Post #8


Learning Roadie
*

Group: Members
Posts: 2.384
Joined: 26-October 11
From: Galway, Ireland
Member No.: 14.225



I have a golfer's elbow issue in my right arm, which came on after a set of skullcrushers in the gym, I have to stretch out and massage my forearm muscles like crazy to get relief. I thought it wasn't going away due to keeping working out but guitar playing looks to be a bigger reason.

I'm now focusing on legato!


--------------------
Currently Working on

PosterBoy's Modern Riffing with Gabriel

PosterBoy's Bootcamp with Todd



Gear
Tyler Burning Water 2K
Burny RLG90 with BK Emeralds
Fender US Tele with BK Piledrivers
Axe Fx Ultra - GCP Pro
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Ben Higgins
post Dec 8 2014, 10:46 AM
Post #9


Instructor
Group Icon

Group: GMC Instructor
Posts: 13.765
Joined: 11-March 10
From: England
Member No.: 9.820



QUOTE (klasaine @ Dec 8 2014, 01:35 AM) *
The most interesting thing she told me was that repetitive stress type of injuries don't usually show up until you add a 'new' activity to your daily routine (of physical stress) or do something totally outside of that normal routine no mater how strenuous that 'normal' routine may be. In my case yeah, I played guitar without injury for 30+ years. The new activity I added was pulling a carseat/baby carrier in out of a car and pushing a stroller. My arms and shoulders and neck basically 'screamed' "ENOUGH! We can take the constant guitar playing but you can't add a new activity".


That's an interesting thought - definitely worth knowing !

QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Dec 8 2014, 08:30 AM) *
I have a golfer's elbow issue in my right arm, which came on after a set of skullcrushers in the gym, I have to stretch out and massage my forearm muscles like crazy to get relief. I thought it wasn't going away due to keeping working out but guitar playing looks to be a bigger reason.


That's why I can't do weighted squats or narrow pushups with the elbows in and hands close together. My elbows just won't take it. dry.gif


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

Fast ReplyReply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 


RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 17th January 2017 - 07:59 AM