by Carlos Diez Macia 12. May 2020 8 Comments
As a guitarist, the best way to start every practice session is by warming up.
In addition, integrating different techniques will immediately improve your skills and will prevent injuries.
Whether you are planning a studio session, a jam with your friends, or some solo relax sessions at home, a conscious warm-up before playing guitar is mandatory. No matter if you use guitar picks or play with the fingers, there are no excuses.
This 7-step warm-up will help bring your playing to peak level. Developing the habit of warming up your hands and upper body will improve your posture and make your playing look “easy” and relaxed.
Cold hands make guitar playing very difficult.
You will notice this during your first guitar chords. Your fingers and hands won’t be agile enough to play your guitar and you will struggle holding your guitar pick.
Running your hands under warm water is the fastest way to get the temperature your fingers need to improve the blood circulation.
Combine it with the step 2 and get the best results.
When it comes to guitar, our hands are our most precious tools.
The hand muscles tend to tighten up. In order to loosen them, you can do a hand massage.
Some musicians may hit a plateau or wall in terms of their speed or dexterity, because by not taking care of their hands properly, the muscles of the hand and fingers are tighter and less supple. It seems a no-brainer.
If you rely on your hands for your income/career, you want to do what it takes to keep them as healthy as possible.
A proper holding of your guitar pick is necessary to avoid pain. Do you know how to hold your guitar pick the right way? Click HERE and learn more.
Every muscle is connected. Your hands, wrists, forearms, shoulders and back should all be performing their best during your practice.
To get the blood flowing through your body, simply move your arms and legs, shake your arms and back, and then make a fist, opening and closing your hands at least 10 times.
This exercise will not only prepare your hands, but will also relax your body and help to get the preparation you need before playing your guitar.
A ball is an excellent way to warm up your hands before you practice guitar.
If you implement this in your routine, you will be able to do every exercise quickly, in just a few days.
This method was mentioned in the article “Play Guitar Faster - Guitar Methods for Speed Playing”, which you can find HERE.
The last thing to do, before moving on to playing your guitar, is to lightly stretch your fingers.
Stretching your fingers helps to enhance flexibility. It lengthens tight muscles and prevents injuries.
Playing guitar can cause fatigue to these areas, and stretching helps to keep the muscles loose and limber. It increases flexibility, and your range of motion.
Stretching your fingers before playing guitar will warm up muscle tissues and joints.
Try playing some simple exercises, melodies and/or chord progression.
Here some ideas you can use for your routine:
If you are using a guitar pick, you might have to practice some specific techniques depending on your music style. If you are not sure which guitar pick is the right one for you, check this guide HERE.
If your hand is still sore, repeat some of the steps. Especially in the winter months, as the hands can get cold very fast.
Some guitar players keep playing the stuff they already know, and have given up practicing to improve.
Try to be focused on your role, and separate the habit of playing for fun or relaxing, from the habit of playing guitar for improving.
Take a minute, breathe, think about the next 90 minutes, and focus on the guitar.
While playing guitar you are moving your muscles to make a specific, complex series of movements and hand positions.
With cold muscles and no time to adapt to your exercises, your hand tissues can develop micro-tears that lead to injuries or pain.
But that is not all, it is proven that the right warm-up will immediately improve skills like guitar speed, precision, concentration, and resistance.
Some guitarists play for hours.
If you are one of those ambitious musicians, trying to become one of the best 5% of guitar players, you need to take enough breaks and relax the muscles.
Stand up every 60 minutes and repeat some of the mentioned exercises. The best way to do so is to set an alarm and be disciplined enough to stop your training, when the alarm goes off.
Leave a comment and tell us if this is useful!
21. March 2021
Love this! Thank you for sharing!
25. June 2020
I can totally agree. The method with the massages and the warm water are techniques I always use.
After a while playing the guitar (maybe 30 to 45 minutes of intense practice), I use method number 3 and the bonus track :)
The ball method is a very interesting one! Why don’t you guys sell a ball for stretches? :P
I actually had an injury because of my uninterrupted guitar playing in 2017. I got 5 massage sessions and had to wait a couple of months to play guitar again. However, I know some people who have never warmed-up before playing guitar and they did not suffer any injuries.
Anyway, I tried your guitar picks last year and I am waiting impatiently for the next designs!
15. May 2020
Thanks a lot for the comment.
Yes, I think this is a really good piece of advice. I forgot sometimes to warm-up and my performance is not so good during those sessions.
15. May 2020
Thanks, very useful and a great reminder not to start playing immediately.
14. May 2020
Thanks for the comments!
Please let me know if you have any new warm-ups so I update the article :)
14. May 2020
I should !
14. May 2020
We are supposed to warm up our hands?
JK: I do it every time!
14. May 2020
The hot water trick is genius, I use it every time.
I do most of the others too, but I need to try out the ball one.
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