Warm-Up

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
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George Crocket
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Warm-Up

Post by George Crocket » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:42 am

Getting on a bit, I am developing a little arthritis in the hands. Pain is not too much of a bother, but stiffness is troublesome. I find that when I pick up my guitar, I have trouble stretching and moving my fingers for quite a while. It gradually loosens off with playing but that means I have to start each session very simply.
Are there any suggestions for warm-up exercises at the start of a session to help quickly loosen up the joints?
George
2010 Stephen Eden spruce/cocobolo classical guitar
2012 Stephen Eden cedar/IRW classical guitar

Tarbaby (1953 - 2016)

Re: Warm-Up

Post by Tarbaby (1953 - 2016) » Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:00 am

Hi George. Welcome to the forum!

I'm not familiar with arthritis symptoms...YET :chaud:

But I am finding it increasingly difficult to give my fingers that "stretched out", "loosened up" feeling. I'm only 55, but I've taken a hint from a much younger pianist (at the time he was young).

Glenn Gould used to soak his hands and forearms in warm water for about 20 minutes before playing. I try to do something like that myself. I wash my dishes by hand. That takes about 5 to 10 minutes. Otherwise, I hold my hands under warm water for just a little while until they feel warm and loose before I go to the guitar.

It REALLY helps! I feel like I've already done my warm ups.

There was a recent thread about your question. Someone suggested using one of those warm packs that you put in the microwave. Good idea, because you don't have to put your hands in water so long that they get pruney...

Hope that helps,

Alan

GEO

Re: Warm-Up

Post by GEO » Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:23 am

Absolutely--warming the hands is a very useful technique. Segovia did this before his concerts, too.

If you don't want to use hot water, you can simply rub your hands together vigorously. Also, gently bending the fingers backwards may aid limbering up. Personally, I start playing a simple piece and then move to a few minutes of hammer ons and then the stretches found in "Pumping Nylon" on p. 15.

geo

Raimundo104

Re: Warm-Up

Post by Raimundo104 » Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:40 pm

I have been using Epsom salts (Magnesium sulphate) in a warm bath in the morning. 100 gm has a very noticeable effect in removing stiffnes in the body generally. I would add it to the warm water to soak your hands. I does have a slight drying effect though.

hesson11
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Re: Warm-Up

Post by hesson11 » Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:57 pm

I find moist heat to be very helpful. You can probably find a moist-heat heating pad at the drug store. It comes with an absorptive cloth that you moisten and slip into the heating-pad cover. Works great for me. Or you can just soak a small towel and put it in the microwave for a minute-and-a-half or so.

-Bob

byron

Re: Warm-Up

Post by byron » Sun Apr 05, 2009 3:53 pm

How about those warm-up gloves you see from time to time? Has anyone tried those? They seem like a long fingerless glove, but maybe there's more to them.

byron

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George Crocket
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Re: Warm-Up

Post by George Crocket » Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:48 am

Thanks for all the suggestions. I wonder if soaking in warm water might soften up the fingertips? But presumably it did no harm to Segovia's fingers!

I'm more inclined to try dry hand-warmers.

Also combining exercises with physical heat is intuitively sensible - I already try to stretch the stiffness out of my joints before playing.

Further, thinking more about it, perhaps some sort of warm-down routine is required as a preventitive measure.
George
2010 Stephen Eden spruce/cocobolo classical guitar
2012 Stephen Eden cedar/IRW classical guitar

robertboileau

Re: Warm-Up

Post by robertboileau » Thu May 14, 2009 12:28 pm

I usualy sit down and do something else during my morning coffee... reading the newspaper, checking e-mails or this site etc... While I'm doing this I constantly open and close my fist and wiggle my fingers in the air. Once I pick up the guitar I take my time to play only one note passages and then I elaborate on first position chords. Still very slow. If I'm working on a new piece I will start with this because new pieces usually involve slow practice at first.

One more thing I just realized. Just thinking about the past replies of this thread I realize that most of them are dealing with 'warming' the hands. I suppose that my coffee is an integral part of the whole process (important for my day as a whole too) and this warms my hands a little bit. Maybe keep a hot beverage near by and this will not only be tasty but a little therapeutic distraction as well.

Aurore

Re: Warm-Up

Post by Aurore » Fri May 15, 2009 1:51 pm

Hi George

In my dance days, we had a classmate that had quite severe arthritis, her doctor had recommended to just very gently warm-up and work through the pain. As the class progressed her pain subsided. I found her very inspiring.

Turns out to be consistent with current advice, as exercise and activity 'feeds' the cartilage, which depend on joint movement to absorb nutrients and remove waste. So movement and exercise of the joints is key.

Try stretches (I use those from learning classical guitar part one - aaron shearer). For warm-up exercises - slow speed LH RH, pumping nylon, and arpegios, or play super easy pieces very slowly.

Aurore

Re: Warm-Up

Post by Aurore » Fri May 15, 2009 2:02 pm

robertboileau wrote:I usualy sit down and do something else during my morning coffee... reading the newspaper, checking e-mails or this site etc... While I'm doing this I constantly open and close my fist and wiggle my fingers in the air. Once I pick up the guitar I take my time to play only one note passages and then I elaborate on first position chords. Still very slow. If I'm working on a new piece I will start with this because new pieces usually involve slow practice at first.

One more thing I just realized. Just thinking about the past replies of this thread I realize that most of them are dealing with 'warming' the hands. I suppose that my coffee is an integral part of the whole process (important for my day as a whole too) and this warms my hands a little bit. Maybe keep a hot beverage near by and this will not only be tasty but a little therapeutic distraction as well.

Coffee Essential

of course only good coffee

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Leitmotiv
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Re: Warm-Up

Post by Leitmotiv » Fri May 15, 2009 8:29 pm

After tuning up, which can be a while sometimes, I play Sor's study in C, the first of those chosen by Segovia, for its nice easy tempo, and because I am very familiar with everything to it.


A test piece, if you will, to see how I am, in myself.


As Jimi (Hendrix) said, it's all in your mind.


Leitmotiv
"...the wonderful ease of masters" - Albert Camus

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