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Lily Shang

Sports Strategies for Practice and Performance: Part 2-The Post Practice Workout

December 6, 2011 at 2:47 AM

So unless you're a disciplined athlete, you may not be going to the gym for your morning workout every day. And that's ok, because for me, one of the most important things is that workout you get in at the end of the day, after you've done all your practicing. This is usually light.

As you all know, when we practice or rehearse, our muscles can locked in certain holding patterns, that lead to tension or pain. The idea of exercising or working out after practice is to break those holding patterns and use your muscles in a new way, in order to relax them.

For me, this usually involves swimming because:
-it's upper body intensive
-it's low-impact
-it's also difficult to injure yourself while swimming

In practice:
-warm up (at least 5min)
etches (15sec per)
-swim
etches (not always necessary, usually if your muscles are tight afterwards, 5-10sec per)
-cool down (2min)

The amount of time you spend in each phase depends on your personal level of fitness and time constraints.

Also, it's helpful to have a snack that has a mix of anti-oxidants, protein, and carbs to right after working out (or even practicing/rehearsal), just to minimize the lactic acid breakdown of your muscles.

I think anything that uses your upper body in a significant way, without pushing it, would be helpful.

A bonus benefit for me is the stronger my arm muscles get, the less often I feel pain when I play.

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From al ku
Posted on December 6, 2011 at 2:17 PM
i think this is a good initiative to bring up the awareness of body care for violinists and swimming, really, is possibly the best exercise around if one can have easy access to it. i think water does something magical to the mind as well.

my kid plays violin and golf; once in a while she will complain of tightness behind and below the neck area in the upper back from violin. often if we do golf right after violin, those discomfort disappears almost immediately.

imo, for violinist's left upper limb, there is a lot of concentric muscle contraction, that is, contraction with muscle shortening. we pull in toward the body.

on the other hand, right upper limb bow work is different in that aspect: there is a mix of concentric and eccentric (elongates) muscle contractions.

in the end, for different reasons, there is a tendency that muscles in the upper back and lower neck region get tense and fatigued, possibly due to imbalance, possibly due to poor mechanics, possibly due to physical abuse from overplaying...

i think swimming and golf (if done correctly), more like a warm down routine after violin, allow violinists' musculature to reset to a norm state, to complete a recovery cycle. imo, it is more therapeutic than a passive massage.

From Corwin Slack
Posted on December 6, 2011 at 3:28 PM
I am an advocate of very slow very heavy weight lifting sometimes branded as SlowBurn. The slowness helps avoid injury and the heavy weight promotes muscle "failure" and consequently muscle and strength development. Doing this once a week for 20 minutes has helped me correct a frayed rotator cuff and strengthened my knees. I won't claim any benefits for violin playing but there are for sure no deficits.

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