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Lifting weights and finger dexterity?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Jaswine85, Sep 4, 2003.


  1. Is it true that lifting weights will worsen your finger skills? Are exercise machines better than free weights? Thanks.
     
  2. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    completely false.
     
  3. The great composer and pianist Robert Schumann tried to increase his finger strength with weights and ended up permanently damaging his fingers.

    The best thing to build up your strength on bass is to play bass....IMHO.
     
  4. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    I lift a little bit, as does my friend Chris Tarry, and it has done nothing but help our posture, strength and overall health. I don't do it to improve my bass playing -that's what practicing is for. I read where Gary Willis recommends machines over free weights, but I use both with no problems.
    Laurence
     
  5. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Weight lifting could have two kinds of deleterious effect on your playing (considering the whole musculo-skeletal system, not just the fingers):

    1. If you strain your muscles, either in terms of long term damage or just feeling stiff when you come to play.

    2. If you bulk up with too much muscle - more bulk, less freedom of movement.

    I'm not aware of why any particular weightlifting system would make this more or less likely - if you're just lifting to generally tone and strengthen your body rather than aiming to win bodybuilding contests, you should be fine.

    Wulf
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's right Schumann actually damaged one finger permanently and had to give up playing the piano, after having been a piano virtuoso, using the weights meant he had to give up entirely and concentrate on composing.

    I think the main point is that using weights will never help you play better, but there is always the chance, as wulf says, that you will do something to injure yourself and make playing harder or impossible.

    You don't need to use weights to get physically fit and muscle bulk only makes you less flexible - I hurt my back and often suffer from back pain now - lifting does you no real good and only gives you the chance for exruciating agony...:(
     
  7. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    I've lifted every other day for about an hour for the last 2 years.Has'nt affected my hands in the least,if anything it's improved my stamina and focus.
    I've bulked up somewhat and it has'nt affected my freedom of movement.
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    How do you know? You might have been much more flexible if you hadn't done it! And just because you haven't damaged your muscles/ligaments etc. doesn't mean that somebody else might not be unlucky! :(
     
  9. ConU

    ConU

    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Because I know my body,and I know where it was at 2 years ago,and where it is now,my hands especially since I play on a daily basis.
    You won't damage your muscles/ligaments if you practice a degree of moderation(as in anything)
    And using the excuse of hurting oneself to not exercise regularly will result in the least amount of flexibility.:rolleyes:
     
  10. Melf

    Melf

    Mar 20, 2003
    Starkville, MS
    My college has a wall available for people to climb on. Climbing puts excellent emphasis on your forearms and grip. After only a week of going up this wall 5 or 6 times a day, I have noticeably increased my endurance when playing fast riffs.
     
  11. ive been doin dumbells everyday for about a year and i havent reallt noticed any difference either way, cept that me arms are now massive..haha. but yeah...really, only comment i can make is that, it does increase the strength of ur grip, and aslong as u don't over do it, and aslong as u follow all the safety guidlines, i can see no reason why it would hurt u, unless ur just plain unlucky.



    forgive my rambling.
     
  12. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    It's probably worth adding that Schumann didn't use dumbells, he actually had special weights made, or some sort of operation done which messed up his hands.

    I'm all for weight lifting as part of a health program.

    LM
     
  13. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Re. Climbing - isn't there a danger of joint damage from the immense strain placed on them during climbing?

    Wulf
     
  14. Pako

    Pako Are we having fun yet?

    Jul 31, 2002
    USA, Montana
    I know some body builders that are HUGE but also do Yoga on a regular basis and are more flexible than I.

    ***Remember to stretch!!!***

    I started lifting free weights about three months ago, and one thing that I have noticed is that my hands tend to swell more then they used to. They would usually only swell the morning after a gig, but now they seem puffy during a normal day as well. It hasn't affected my playing, except when I was sore, just during the first couple of weeks getting back into it.

    If anything, as mentioned before, it should only help. Most of us have to actually pack our own equipment/PA/gear to and from a gig, and being physically in shape to do it should leave more strength at the end of a night when you have to pack it all back up again! Not to mention, it should be easier to have that chunk of wood hangin' off of you if you were in better shape.
     
  15. McHack

    McHack

    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    If anyone damages themselves via lifting weights, then they're not using good judgement while working out. It literally helps your body stay functioning properly, when done without going to extremes. As Pako stated, stretching is VERY important.

    Physical exertion is kind of a foreign concept to most musicians, but one that's well worth EVERYONE's health. Plus, in todays market place, its worth the effort because it seems that "attractive" acts have a marketing edge.
     
  16. jazzbo

    jazzbo

    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I lift weights regularly, have been doing so for years, do a lot of cardiovascular work, have been doing so for years, stretch regularly, have been doing so for years, participate in martial arts and yoga, have been doing so for years, and am in very good shape.

    The weightlifting, cardiovascular training, dedicated diet, martial arts, yoga, and flexibility have increased my overall quality of life. I feel better, stronger, healthier. Everything I do, I do intelligently with a lot of research and attention to detail.

    That being said, as Machaut said, the best thing to do to build your strength on bass, is to play bass. If you are healthy overall, this helps you in every facet of your life, but there's no direct "if-you-do-xyz-exercises-you-will-build-dexterity" exercises.

    (I might also mention that I am quite proud of my flexibility. At 6'3", 215lbs., I surprise a lot of people by being able to do full splits, or put my foot behind my neck.)
     
  17. Melf

    Melf

    Mar 20, 2003
    Starkville, MS
    originally posted by wulf

    No, I know a climber who's been doing it for years. He's the spotter there. He doesn't have any problems with his joints.
     
  18. Figjam

    Figjam

    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    My dad has been climbing for 25 years and now he is a professional instructer/guide. His joints are fine, EXCEPT, if you grab very small holds for a long time, your joints will give out, happened to a friend of his. So if you do choose to climb, make sure you arent climbing with holds that are tiny. Most people dont climb seriously, and only climb in gyms with these bigass coloful holds. I used to climb on real cliffs etc with no man made holds, and that will do hell on your knuckles if you arent careful.
     
  19. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    That makes sense - the climber I knew who had problems went in for a lot of fairly extreme outdoor climbing.

    I guess the point is that anything taken to extreme is likely to have deleterious effects on your health (and that some people are probably going to be more prone to certain types of damage) - I knew another guy who was a brilliant violinist but who started experiencing servere problems after studying at music school and doing 8+ hours of practise a day... so even playing your bass to extreme could end up harming your ability to play bass!

    Wulf
     
  20. McHack

    McHack

    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Not only that, but, if this guys' been climbing for 25 YEARS, there's a certain amount of degeneration that occurs in a persons joints, just from normal wear & tear. This just happens during normal aging.