Short and sweet, I've noticed lately that a lot of the arm/hand fatigue and soreness I get with some more complex/faster playing seems to come while my hands and arms tense up and get stiff. I don't know a lot about this stuff(Hate biology class ), but from what I do know, I'm pretty sure the two are related, as the stiffness makes it much harder for the muscles and tendons to move freely and accurately. It seems to be reflexive though, as I often clench up when I'm nervous, frustrated, or doing something I'm unsure of, as is often the case with more challenging passages.

Are there any exercises or anything I could do to try and kill this habit, or at the least, make it so it's less tense when it happens?

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Last edited by necrosis1193 at Dec 30, 2011,
You breath deep, you relax your body and you play insanely slow, till playing relaxed becomes a habit.
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Make sure you practice in a place where you can have good posture. You shouldn't have a lot of tension in any part of your body. You shouldn't practice things at a speed where you feel tense. Also, every 10 minutes of so pay attention to your body and how relaxed you feel and adjust accordingly. If you are not mindful of it, it's easy for tension to creep back in.
This is the same post I made in another guitar forum, but it applies to this situation as well.

The trick is to not press down very hard on the strings - just BARELY enough for them to sound. Pressing harder won't change the volume, unless you are trying to perform some kind of technique, like a bend or slide or whatever

Here's how you test to make sure this happens correctly:

1. Rest your finger on the string, without pressing down.
2. Start picking that string with consistent 8th notes, with your pick.
3. SLOWLY press down on the string, until you can hear it.
4. Let go very slightly until you can't hear it. Press down a TINY bit more until you can.

that's the perfect spot to press down! Any harder will only be spent energy that will make it harder to relax after playing the note.

Let me remind you that it's only useful if you're playing chords, or a single note, or a string of notes. If you're using a technique, you should use as much power as you need to execute the technique.

Remember also to completely relax your finger after playing each and every note. Play-relax-play-relax-play-relax.
You will have to play very, very slowly to do this in the beginning, but this is how virtuoso players develop their insane speed of 1000 notes per minute eventually. They are totally relaxed when they play

Hope this helps!