Stretches and Massages for all Guitarists

It is an all too often over-looked subject, and even many guitar teachers fail to explain the importance of warming-up before practising or performing. Staying physically fit is very important to guitarists who otherwise may sit around for long hours slumped over a guitar (see my previous post on posture) .

Equally important is to strengthen and improve the flexibility of fingers, wrists, and in fact out whole body. As part of a thorough warm-up, it would be a good idea to do some form of light exercise (a short walk or slow jog), then after stretching off your main muscle groups, move onto the stretches and massages I illustrated for my students (see diagram below) It would also be beneficial to perform some 'joint rotations', slowly rotating wrists each direction, rolling shoulders each direction etc. Only then would I suggest guitarists start to run through basic finger warm-ups on the guitar itself, gradually increasing to 'performance' speed.

Hold each stretch for 10-30 secs

There are a few reasons why it is so important to loosen-up, and stretch before and after playing, and I'm confident that if a student starts regular stretches and massages they will quickly see (and FEEL) the benefits, including:
  • Improved playing skill
  • Injury prevention
  • Longevity of playing time
  • More comfort and consequently greater enjoyment
  • Improved hand and wrist health in general
So, if you are one of the many players who just grab the guitar and start playing then I would suggest you try adding in these warm-up ideas, alongside a well designed warm-up guitar playing routine.  Then you can enjoy healthily playing guitar for many years!