December 6, 2011 at 2:47 AMSo 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 also difficult to injure yourself while swimming
-warm up (at least 5min)
etches (15sec per)
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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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.
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