Rockin’ Workout for Guitar and Bass Guitar Players!

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Question: I play bass guitar in a band on weekends and between performances and practice my shoulders and back between my shoulder blades are aching. I just take Aleve or Advil to dull the pain but there has to be a way to strengthen those muscles so I don’t feel this bad. What can I do?
Answer: Yours is a common problem among musicians, dentists and people spending too much time on a computer at work. Dentists get the ache in that area between their shoulder blades because they are continually hunched over their patients and have to extend their arms away from their torso. Musicians, especially guitar players because the weight of the instrument, the concentration it takes to play difficult music and the length of time they hold the guitar. People who are on the computer hurt at work because they are bent over a keyboard too long. A chiropractic adjustment for realignment helps and gives some relief after the ache has set in but strengthening the muscles is key to preventing the pain in the first place.
Training always begins with core.

  • Strengthen your abdominal muscles with hip raises and crunches doing 2 or 3 sets of 20 reps.
  • To strengthen your upper back, use pulldowns pulling the bar to your collarbone or in the area of your upper chest. Lean back slightly as you pull and concentrate on elevating your ribcage and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Three sets of 10 to 12 reps will work for your first exercise.
  • The Low Pulley Row is another excellent exercise for back because the stretch is wonderful when done correctly. Using a close grip bar, get into position with your knees slightly bent and your ribcage elevated. Lean back slightly and pull the bar to your ribcage squeezing the shoulder blades together. Return to starting position by leaning slightly forward as you extend your arms, stretch your back and open your shoulder blades. Don’t allow yourself to round out your back but maintain posture during the stretch. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
  • The final muscle to focus on is your trapezius. Using dumbbells of a moderate weight, do Shoulder Shrugs for 3 sets of 10 reps. Keep the dumbbells slightly forward on the outside of your thighs. Lift your shoulders upwards to your ears or as high as you can pull up. Lower them back down and feel the stretch. Don’t roll your shoulders but pull upwards and back squeezing the shoulder blades together. These will also affect the muscles of the neck which should be beneficial as well.

Give this short routine 4 to 6 workouts over the next three weeks and you should feel some relief after long sessions.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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