The Importance of Stretching Before Playing Guitar - Online Guitar Lessons

The Importance of Stretching Before Playing Guitar

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Stretching and warming up before playing guitar may not sound very rock and roll, but it’s just as important as the controls on your distortion pedal. Taking the time to do a few stretches whenever you whip out the guitar means that you’ll be able to play better for longer. It’s not just playing longer in a single gig or rehearsal, it’s your playing longevity in life that it can contribute to, helping to make sure that you stay loose as you get older and don’t fall down in a blaze of injury plagued pain.

Warming up and stretching the muscles and tendons in your forearm and hands will increase the blood flow to the places that will be coming under the most stress from playing guitar. It will also help to improve your flexibility as well as strengthening your muscles and tendons to improve your capabilities over time. This will help to ensure that you are less likely to pick up an injury from those long practice or gig sessions.

One of the simplest and most effective warm up and stretching exercises you can do is to simply run through the scales for a few minutes or so. If you mix up the major scale with some of the more challenging minor scales, you’ll be able to stretch all of your fingers and get some good circulation going in your arm and playing hand. If you find this a bit on the boring side, which is pretty easy to do, then pick out a few riffs from the scales to use as alternatives. Try to choose fairly slow paced riffs for this without any tricky manoeuvres to make sure it focuses on warming up and stretching, as opposed to pushing your muscles and tendons into change-ups when you’re not fully geared up for them. It’s also good to find riffs that make you use all of your fingers, which will give you a good range of movement and a full hand exercise.

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However, scales exercises and simple riffs can only go so far when it comes to stretching the sensitive muscles and tendons in your forearm that can become damage over time if you don’t take care of them from the very beginning. Injury induced scar tissue on the major tendons in your forearm can make it very difficult to play well later on in life, so it’s also good to stretch them and their associated muscles whenever you’re about to play. You can do this with some very simple stretches:

1. Hold your playing hand out in front of you with your palm facing your face. Take your other hand and bend the playing hand backwards away from you until you start to feel a little tension. Hold this for 30-60 seconds and gently release.
2. Hold your playing hand out in front of you with your palm facing away from your face. Take your other hand and bend the playing hand backwards towards you until you start to feel a little tension. Hold this for 30-60 seconds and gently release.
3. Hold your playing hand out in front of you with your palm facing away from your face. Take your other hand and bend the playing hand forwards away from you until you start to feel a little tension. Hold this for 30-60 seconds and gently release.
4. Hold your playing hand out in front of you with your palm flat facing away from your face. With your other hand take a hold of the thumb and ease it backwards towards your elbow crease until you start to feel a little tension. Hold this for 30-60 seconds and gently release.

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If you put the effort in to do all of these simple exercises whenever you play for an extended period of time, you’ll help to make sure you’re muscles, tendons and playing capabilities improve over time.

About the author: This guest blog post was written by Tuppence Magazine “ The home of alternative entertainment news and reviews. Tuppence is filled with the latest from the music world to films, books, computer games and TV.

image credit: gipiosio

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