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weight training and bass


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I just remembered reading something somewhere saying that musicians shouldn't do weight training with very heavy weights because it affects dexterity. I can't seem to find that information anywhere now, but have started working out 'cause I'm in poor physical shape ;) and was wondering if you guys have any advice with that and how it relates to bass. Will it slow me down? Should I refrain from weight training altogether, and stick to cardio? Are there certain exercises to do, or certain ones to avoid?

Thanks a lot,


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I workout regularly and it does not affect my bass playing at all.


I guess it depends on where you are working out and how. (i assume that you are not referring to cardiovascular excercise but instead referring to strength training because cardiovascular exercise is a necessity for good health).


Working out your legs, chest, bi's, tri's traps, lats and other muscles that have nothing to do with fingerstyle or slap should be ok. But i would recommend taking it easy when you use finger weights to work out your finger muscles. Muscular fingers would definitely curb your finger dexterity.


On a more serious note tho, the only muscle that i can think of that would have an affect on your playing if any at all would be your forearms. Being that muscle memory is a huge factor in playing bass, and that working out doesn't erase secondary and tertiary functions that a muscle serves, i would say don't worry.


But i am no doctor, if a doctor is recommending a workout schedule, talk with them about any adverse effects that this schedule could have, or talk with a certified personal trainer/physical therapist at the gym you are going to, or visit a forum of bass players and ask a question. I'm sure there are other bass players out there who can help you out with your query.


Soli Deo Gloria


"it's the beauty of a community. it takes a village to raise a[n] [LLroomtempJ]." -robb


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I just remembered reading something somewhere saying that musicians shouldn't do weight training with very heavy weights because it affects dexterity.
That's nonsense. There are many of us here who work out regularly with all different types of exercises.


They used to say that swimmers shouldn't use weights, they would get "muscle bound". They all do now and I'm glad that my coach 40 years ago ignored the then current wisdom because I was able to set quite a few records back in the day.


But there really aren't such a thing as finger muscles that can be built up.


If you are going to be on stage you need to have nice strong legs and aerobic capacity so you can run around for your one hour show.

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From the time I was in high school until my late 20's I was a serious weightlifter. This was also the time in which I was most actively pursuing a music "career".I did not suffer any adverse effects.


I have been been involved in medieval armoured combat training and competition for the last 14 years. This type of traing builds considerable muscle mass in your forearms and wrists. I have not noticed a decrease in finger dexterity.


However if you were to try to play right after a workout when your muscles are still "pumped" then you may notice some reduced dex and may even experience some discomfort. So I would recommend waiting a little while after a workout before playing. Also make sure to use proper form and avoid overtraining (this can happen easier than you think) this can lead to fatigue and injury.


If you begin to handle heavy wieghts I would advise you to utilize proper wrist supports and lifting aids (wraps and straps). But this is not somthing you need worry about if you are handling light to moderate wieght.


Being in good condition can definately help you avoid the fatigue and soreness which can be the result of standing and playing for many hours at a time.Just remember to train sensably.



Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai


Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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From what I gather, use a Fender bass. Many players here can't handle one strapped on for even 30 minutes. It is about 8 lbs. :eek:


I guess the wiry 90 lb. 14 year olds with Fender basses are doing something right.

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Weights can have a temporary detrimental affect on your ability to play music, especially in regard to the muscles in your forearms. Its not uncommon to temporarially lose some agility in your hands if you perform exercises that target said muscles, i.e., wrist curls. What is important here, and for the entire regiment, is to focus on flexibility...
...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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Not a problem with me. I've lifted weights since high school, along with other exercises like speed walking. Now, the amazing thing is that even though I never really did high school sports, I've managed relatively well as far as my overall fitness goes.


Probably a good thing, as my future job will entail me stuck for hours at a time at a terminal (or two), typing funny symbols, and documentation that's above the understanding of the average person's head. :)


Funny, one of my brothers used to be a running back in high school. And a good one at that, too. Then, the video games crept in, and I think you can guess what happened after that. ;)

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A little over four years ago I was considering competitive power lifting. I then weighed 190 and was benching over 300, squatting 365 and dead lifting 365. This did not have a negative effect on my playing until I tried dead lifting 370 one day and my bicep tendon tore and had to have surgery. I was doing a steady show, Tony & Tina's Wedding and lost ten weeks of work, not to mention the $12,000 for the surgery since I didn't have a medical plan at the time. I still lift but not so heavy anymore. The one thing that did have a negative effect were wrist curls. I stopped doing them many years ago.



I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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