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What are good exercises for dealing with heavy basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by sonicnuance, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. sonicnuance

    sonicnuance Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2003
    California, USA
    Engineer & Owner, Sonic Nuance Electronics
    I'm looking for recommendations on stretching and working out.

    I find hyperextensions for strength and touching my toes for stretching help, but I think I could use more help.

    I didn't find much when I searched for "back exercise" btw

  2. Playing bass isn't a workout.
  3. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    It would seem to me that any sort of activity that warms up and stretches / strengthens the back muscles would do.

    Equally important, imho, is that your heavy bass have a wide strap that distributes the weight well and that the bass have good balance to begin with. I'm no expert, but this is my 8th year with a 13.5 lb bass as my primary instrument.

    FWIW - I also spend most of the time that I'm in my office STANDING. I have my desk and computer set up so that I need to stand to use the computer. I've never had any back trouble, but I've known enough people who have to recognize that it ain't pleasant, so I do what I can to avoid it.


  4. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Sit ups to strengthen your stomach, back stretches where you lay flat on the ground and bring your knee, bending your leg, to your chest. Hold it tight with your arms, feel your lower back stretch out. Do other leg, then both together then...

    Buy a lighter bass, around 8 pounds. Lakland USA's usually weigh in around that.
  5. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    A lot of that is by having good posture and hopefully good shoes. poor posture recks your back

    Work out regularly too. Swimming is good for your back

    The wide strap is a must.
  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Basically core strenght is what you're after. A 'bridging' exercise will help develop core strength without stressing your low back.

    Lay on the floor. bring your feet up towards your core until your thighs are at about 45 degrees - you kinda look lihe ^- at this point. Raise your pelvis up off the floor and hold.

    You get a similar effect as in a situp but with less stress on the skeleton. Be sure to listen to your knees. If you feel piain there, lower the angle a bit until you don't.

    What drove me to lighter basses was two separated shoulders. There just isn't much to be done about that w/o surgery in my case. Wide straps do help up to a point but 9 lb's is about the limit of what I can swing comfortable for a full night, 8 is better yet.
  7. The suggestions on general back exercises, wide straps etc., are good; but I'd add making sure your shoulder, forearm and wrist muscles are good too.
    After a few accidents with my back and arms, I regularly do physio exercises designed to keep those muscles toned, to avoid problems with my carpal tunnels etc.
    It's had the knock-on effect of making my playing endurance better. Remember, the weight of the bass pressing down on your shoulder, (and your fretting-hand arm holding it up) can pump the muscles up, constrict the nerve sheaths, and cause pain and numbness.
    I use rep bands and silicon grip 'eggs' to work with. They're cheap, and exactly what you need.
  8. Bass Below

    Bass Below

    Oct 24, 2006
    New York
    If you have access to weights, do some dead lifts. It'll strengthen your lower back and your legs. With the weight of the bass pulling your upper body forwards and down, the added strength in your lower back will counteract that.
  9. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    Shoulder shrugs - use a weighted bar in front of you and against the tips of your thighs. These are good for building neck and shoulder stamina!

    As with all weights start slow and low (weight that is!)!

  10. This is genius, I need to do that. Wish I had thought of it a year ago when I broke my tailbone.
  11. CElton

    CElton I'm a new note finder...

    I generally try to stay away from them to begin with. Having said that, I did acquire one and the first exercise I did was post a for sale add...:bag:
  12. sonicnuance

    sonicnuance Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2003
    California, USA
    Engineer & Owner, Sonic Nuance Electronics
    Thanks for everyone's replies.

    I should add a few things:
    1) I got a nice 4" strap which helps a LOT
    2) I am in good physical shape and exercise every day/ every other day
    3) I sit at a computer all day
    4) My "heavy" bass is between 9.5-10lbs... its an EBMM
    5) Even with my light bass (8lb neck heavy Precision) I've had back issues.

  13. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    The best exercise for a heavy bass is to drive your car to a good music store and buy a light one. Heavy does not translate to better sounding. My heaviest is 8.5lbs.

  14. jim primate

    jim primate bass guitarist.

    i wear my bass around my waist. the strap buttons are attached to the back. balances perfectly. no back or shoulder pain. no wrist pain, either, for that matter.

    weird looking, but pragmatic.
  15. sonicnuance

    sonicnuance Commercial User

    Aug 30, 2003
    California, USA
    Engineer & Owner, Sonic Nuance Electronics
    Can you show a pic? I'm having a hard time visualizing this
  16. Barkless Dog

    Barkless Dog Barkless to a point

    Jan 19, 2007
    Be sure not to slump, sit upright, like a violinist does, your back straight or arched slightly forward. Also be sure your chair is adjusted to a good height, not cuttting into the back of your legs
  17. sobie18


    May 5, 2002
    Shaw AFB, SC
    Eat your Wheaties
  18. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Just play the darn thing! A lot!
  19. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    Eat Wheaties.

    Do Squats.


    Eat a Banana before playing also cuts down on the strain from loading in and wearing a heavy bass all night. Follow-up with an after set banana and you should be all set.
  20. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    I hold weights (arms straight down) and shrug. builds padding exactly where the strap sits.

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