Hand exercises prior to playing

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
User avatar
LarryShone
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 652
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:39 pm
Location: Darlington, England

Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by LarryShone » Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:39 pm

I hope this is the right place for this...I'm technically a beginner to classical and I'm taking it slow, doing basic playing exercises from videos (p.i .m.a right hand, 1,2,3,4 left hand) and I've noticed after a while my left wrist aches a little. I'm guessing this is because I'm new to training, even tho I've messed around with guitars on and off for years but never trained properly for fingerstyle. Anyway, I have a pair of sprung hand exercisers, you squeeze them and release slowly, and I was wondering if the use of such is a good or a bad idea. I have only just started using them, in fact I just had the idea of using them before playing tonight, 10 repetitions of squeeze and release, followed by a 15 minute playing session after a while.
Surround yourself with people dear James, they are easier to fight for than principles.
José Ferrer Estudiante 5208A
Fender DG 5 acoustic
Tanglewood DBLT SFCE electro-acoustic
Tanglewood TU 13M concert ukulele
Brunswick Baritone ukulele
Deacon Mandolin

George2ec

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by George2ec » Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:12 pm

Hi, the exercise that you describe, even if you are beginner, wouldn't be hurt you, to play that exercise you don't need too much force, maybe you are to putting to much force, or your left hand position is incorrect or you are playing with to much tension, try to check this variables and try to relax don´t press the string with unnecessary force. I think that you don't need to squeeze anything, for my experience the best exercises for hands of guitar players, are the exercises for extensors muscles not for the flexors muscles.
ps. sorry for my bad english.

User avatar
Erik Zurcher
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 16757
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 8:38 pm
Location: The Hague, Netherlands

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by Erik Zurcher » Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:40 pm

Remember that force is your enemy. Do stretching exercises instead. Just play your guitar every day.
Reedition Domingo Esteso by Conde Hermanos 2004; Kenny Hill, model Barcelona 2001
"While you try to master classical guitar, prepare for a slave's life: the guitar will forever be your master and you its slave".

User avatar
David Norton
Posts: 4536
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:12 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by David Norton » Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:56 pm

As warm-ups, I use Segovia's "chromatic octaves" exercise daily, followed by HVL Etude #1 at a moderate and very loud pace. Then I do a tremolo piece, or octaves in tremolo. This all seems to warm up both hands. I agree that the exercises for stretching are more useful than the squeezing.
David Norton
Salt Lake City, UT
First person to complete the Delcamp "Let's Learn Sor's Opus 60" project

Ben

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by Ben » Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:37 pm

Hi Larry,

Here's a comprehensive youtube video about the left hand, wrist and arm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADxwJHuhwIg (Douglas Niedt -- 57 mins)

Regards,
Ben

User avatar
robin loops
Posts: 3190
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:57 am
Location: California

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by robin loops » Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:28 am

Also, wrist pain is often associated with bad posture. Make sure you're holding the guitar correctly and that your wrist is not bent too much. No major angles and a smooth curve from the forearm all the way to the tips of the fingers.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

User avatar
LarryShone
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 652
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:39 pm
Location: Darlington, England

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by LarryShone » Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:17 am

Thanks guys. I did watch a few videos, one of them being this one which takes you right to the beginning and concerns itself with correct posture, which I do feel is important. I want to do it properly, back to basics, as if I were a total beginner to guitar:

[media]https://youtu.be/6jRHGNHuaTU[/media]
Surround yourself with people dear James, they are easier to fight for than principles.
José Ferrer Estudiante 5208A
Fender DG 5 acoustic
Tanglewood DBLT SFCE electro-acoustic
Tanglewood TU 13M concert ukulele
Brunswick Baritone ukulele
Deacon Mandolin

User avatar
LarryShone
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 652
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:39 pm
Location: Darlington, England

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by LarryShone » Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:18 am

I also watched a couple of videos by Matthew Mcallister of Siccas Guitars who I feel explains things really well
https://youtu.be/4Vps1q31mns
Surround yourself with people dear James, they are easier to fight for than principles.
José Ferrer Estudiante 5208A
Fender DG 5 acoustic
Tanglewood DBLT SFCE electro-acoustic
Tanglewood TU 13M concert ukulele
Brunswick Baritone ukulele
Deacon Mandolin

User avatar
LarryShone
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 652
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:39 pm
Location: Darlington, England

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by LarryShone » Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:14 pm

This is a hastily made selfie showing my left hand positioning which I use when doing a string walking exercise-1234 on each string and back again. I can see my index finger is rotated, not ideal. But then again it was not an ideal set up trying to photograph my own hand with my other hand outstretched.
PicsArt_12-22-12.02.14.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Surround yourself with people dear James, they are easier to fight for than principles.
José Ferrer Estudiante 5208A
Fender DG 5 acoustic
Tanglewood DBLT SFCE electro-acoustic
Tanglewood TU 13M concert ukulele
Brunswick Baritone ukulele
Deacon Mandolin

User avatar
LarryShone
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 652
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:39 pm
Location: Darlington, England

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by LarryShone » Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:24 pm

Better selfie taken with my digital on a tripod, playing an Em chord
PicsArt_12-22-01.14.09.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Surround yourself with people dear James, they are easier to fight for than principles.
José Ferrer Estudiante 5208A
Fender DG 5 acoustic
Tanglewood DBLT SFCE electro-acoustic
Tanglewood TU 13M concert ukulele
Brunswick Baritone ukulele
Deacon Mandolin

User avatar
robin loops
Posts: 3190
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:57 am
Location: California

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by robin loops » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:18 pm

LarryShone wrote:I want to do it properly, back to basics, as if I were a total beginner to guitar:
If you are new to classical you are, in a sense, a total beginner (in that the technique is very different). Especially posture and angle of hands, thumb position etc.

Try moving your elbow out a little bit away from the body and see if that helps. Might feel awkward at first but if it feels like it helps with tension/pain try it for a bit and see if that makes a difference.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

User avatar
LarryShone
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 652
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:39 pm
Location: Darlington, England

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by LarryShone » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:26 pm

robin loops wrote:
LarryShone wrote:I want to do it properly, back to basics, as if I were a total beginner to guitar:
If you are new to classical you are, in a sense, a total beginner (in that the technique is very different). Especially posture and angle of hands, thumb position etc.

Try moving your elbow out a little bit away from the body and see if that helps. Might feel awkward at first but if it feels like it helps with tension/pain try it for a bit and see if that makes a difference.
Thanks. I'm not totally new to classical guitar but I am technically new to classical guitar playing, if that makes sense.
Surround yourself with people dear James, they are easier to fight for than principles.
José Ferrer Estudiante 5208A
Fender DG 5 acoustic
Tanglewood DBLT SFCE electro-acoustic
Tanglewood TU 13M concert ukulele
Brunswick Baritone ukulele
Deacon Mandolin

User avatar
robin loops
Posts: 3190
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:57 am
Location: California

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by robin loops » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:42 pm

The most important thing to be careful of is to avoid any strain that can lead to injuries and problems later. So never push yourself too hard and when feeling any pain (not to be confused with healthy fatigue and/or soreness) to take a break. My advancement was seriously hindered in the beginning by developing chronic pain, which led to having to take a very long break from classical altogether.

While it's obviously best if you can study with a teacher, that's not always an option. If you're self teaching, it's a good idea to at least set up a few classes with a teacher to help get you off on the right foot. It can help dial in the proper posture, technique, approach, etc. and avoid the pitfalls of having to unlearn bad habits later. Then you can meet with them afterwards, a couple or few times a year, to assess where you're at.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

User avatar
Steve Kutzer
Posts: 1431
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:11 pm
Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by Steve Kutzer » Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:26 pm

That first selfie shows your wrist at a 90 degree bend. That would hurt me. Try experimenting with dropping your elbow/shoulder or other adjustments to keep the wrist closer to straight. Also experiment with different thumb placements. I try to adjust the larger parts of my body to keep my wrist and fingers in that "middle of the range of motion" concept that Shearer promotes.
See my technology (and guitar!) site CIO Dojo

User avatar
LarryShone
Student of the online lessons
Posts: 652
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:39 pm
Location: Darlington, England

Re: Hand exercises prior to playing

Post by LarryShone » Mon Dec 28, 2015 1:24 am

Steve Kutzer wrote:That first selfie shows your wrist at a 90 degree bend. That would hurt me. Try experimenting with dropping your elbow/shoulder or other adjustments to keep the wrist closer to straight. Also experiment with different thumb placements. I try to adjust the larger parts of my body to keep my wrist and fingers in that "middle of the range of motion" concept that Shearer promotes.
Thanks. The trouble is I am taking selfies with my phone meaning my right hand is outstretched and I am straining to compose the shot. This probably compromises the position of my left hand somewhat.
Surround yourself with people dear James, they are easier to fight for than principles.
José Ferrer Estudiante 5208A
Fender DG 5 acoustic
Tanglewood DBLT SFCE electro-acoustic
Tanglewood TU 13M concert ukulele
Brunswick Baritone ukulele
Deacon Mandolin

Return to “Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists”