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Old 11-27-2014, 12:42 AM   #1
Monkeyleg
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Finger and hand muscles

I'm 64, and started working out at the gym about 6 years ago. I've always been skinny, and no matter how much I worked out and how much weight I could move, I didn't add muscle. It's always been that way.

I've complained about that, and I've been told by people who would know that, at my age, I'm not going to build more muscle. I can only keep what muscle I have toned.

I've been thinking about that when playing guitar. Is it possible to be past the point where hand strength can really be increased substantially? Even after 2 1/2 years of playing, I reach a point at night after a few hours of practice where my fingers just won't work anymore. There's no way I could ever play a gig somewhere, even if I did get that good.
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Old 11-27-2014, 01:53 AM   #2
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What genre(s) are you interested in? I'm thinking you might have to substitute brains for brawn.
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Old 11-27-2014, 07:36 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkeyleg
I'm 64, and started working out at the gym about 6 years ago. I've always been skinny, and no matter how much I worked out and how much weight I could move, I didn't add muscle. It's always been that way.

I've complained about that, and I've been told by people who would know that, at my age, I'm not going to build more muscle. I can only keep what muscle I have toned.

I've been thinking about that when playing guitar. Is it possible to be past the point where hand strength can really be increased substantially? Even after 2 1/2 years of playing, I reach a point at night after a few hours of practice where my fingers just won't work anymore. There's no way I could ever play a gig somewhere, even if I did get that good.


If you can play for a few hours you're more than good man, even the longest sets I've heard of don't run more than a couple of hours and that's seriously above average!

If you can play for, say, an hour with short breaks between songs (which is a lot less time than you might think it is) you've got enough to play a set that will keep most people happy enough
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:29 AM   #4
Bikewer
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The muscles that control your fingers are in your forearm... There are few muscles in the hand itself other than the big "pinch" muscle between thumb and palm.
Sure.....There are all sorts of ways to improve hand strength.... however i would concentrate on movements that require flexing the fingers rather than just gripping or holding a static position (such as the exercises climbers use)
You need mobility to play guitary. One of the best is just a squeeze ball.... One of those fairly soft, closed-cell foam balls you can get from a sporting-goods store for a couple of bucks.
They make specific guitar-oriented finger exercisers like this one:
http://www.comlax.com/gripmaster-ha...5rdhBoCTIHw_wcB

My kid had one and I wasn't knocked out by it....
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Old 11-27-2014, 09:45 AM   #5
JohnnySardine
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For gigs, get a second guitarist to play live.
Share the work, strum some chords when you need a rest.

Last edited by JohnnySardine : 11-27-2014 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 11-27-2014, 11:16 AM   #6
Anon17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkeyleg
I'm 64, and started working out at the gym about 6 years ago. I've always been skinny, and no matter how much I worked out and how much weight I could move, I didn't add muscle. It's always been that way.


If this is true you aren't eating enough food. If you eat a surplus of calories and work out with progressive overload regularly you will build muscle mass (and probably gain some fat too in the process if you're actually eating enough).

Not really relevant to guitar playing but I've been going to the gym for a while now and I was very skinny when I started. At the end of the day it's always a lack of food that causes you to stay skinny.
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Old 11-27-2014, 12:48 PM   #7
Monkeyleg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon17
If this is true you aren't eating enough food. If you eat a surplus of calories and work out with progressive overload regularly you will build muscle mass (and probably gain some fat too in the process if you're actually eating enough).

Not really relevant to guitar playing but I've been going to the gym for a while now and I was very skinny when I started. At the end of the day it's always a lack of food that causes you to stay skinny.


How old are you? What I've been told repeatedly is that, when you reach your sixties, you can't easily add muscle mass.

Mass is different from strength, though. When I was doing weights, I'd see guys with arms and chests much larger than mine, but who couldn't do as much weight as I could.

The forearm muscle comment makes sense. I just wish I knew why my fingers will just eventually give out. I used to be able to go all night (well, not with guitar ).
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Old 11-27-2014, 01:50 PM   #8
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You might be right about the age thing sorry, I didn't see that when I first posted. I'm 20 so I guess it's probably different for me.

When I used to practice for hours a day I'd notice myself getting tired from practice after a few hours so I don't think it's too much to worry about. Obviously check for any tension when you're playing/practicing as this could cause you to fatigue earlier than you should.
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Old 11-27-2014, 01:55 PM   #9
Monkeyleg
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Yeah, wait 40 years and see how much changes.

Quote:
Obviously check for any tension when you're playing/practicing as this could cause you to fatigue earlier than you should.


I've really worked at learning to use as little pressure as possible. Some barre chords still require effort. I've been working about half an hour a night at finger strength exercises. I sometimes wonder if those are straining me more than doing good. I wait and do those last, though.
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