Boost Breathing and Endurance with these Exercises

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Question: I am a singer and have begun working out because I am exhausted at the end of our concerts. I do a standard workout that I found in Oxygen magazine but is there anything more specific that I can do which would actually help me sing without being worn out or hold notes longer?
Answer: You’re on the right track and even headed in the right direction. Activities that require extended energy can be improved by both resistance and aerobic exercise. These include sports like golf, especially for student-athletes who have to carry their bags during a match, archery which requires isometric strength, holding a bow in position to fire an arrow and singers, specifically stage performers like yourself. Your primary concern is to build and maintain a strong core with specific combinations of abdominal exercises and stretches. One exercise is a kneeling rope crunch. The key to making this an effective exercise for abdominals and core is to fully curl your shoulders in towards your pelvis. Make a forceful contraction as you curl in and hold it for half a second before returning to an extended stretch position. After completing 20 reps of this, lie on your stomach and push your upper torso towards the ceiling while keeping your hips solidly on the floor. Do two sets of this. Using an exercise ball to do sets of crunches is also a good idea. The curve of the ball acts to extend the stretch on your abs on each rep. On one of your training days do 3 sets of 20 reps of these. Doing the reps at a moderate pace and deliberately stretching on each builds a deep burning in your abs and doesn’t require high reps to get the job done well.
A final tip for helping your breathing is a very old school combination called breathing squats. These are done by doing a set of 15 to 20 squats with moderate weight in a superset with cross bench dumbbell pullovers. That’s a long name for simply lying across a bench, not longways on the bench but across it, and doing a dumbbell pullover. Tips for doing this well are to keep your hips low as you lower the weight over your head, keep your elbows unlocked and use the bench to help thrust your ribcage upward. Do a set of 10 reps after your squats. The reason for the combination is to get you breathing deeply from the squats and while you’re breathing so deeply, stretch your torso with the pullovers.
Finally, consider taking a weekly pilates class for an even greater stretch and core strengthener. Because your concerts are done in bursts of energy followed by a slowdown, your cardio should be done in interval fashion as well. Set your running course in a jog,sprint,jog,walk combination for one to two miles.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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