Hot To Prevent Repetitive Strain Injury. Part 2

The second part - focusing on physical aspects of performance and giving ideas on how to make playing for longer easier.

Ultimate Guitar
This lesson will be looking at physical exercises ( without a guitar ) that can strengthen the muscles used in playing, with some discussion on playing and the athleticism involved in playing guitar.

The Performance

When you're on stage, and rocking out and jumping up and down and moshing and putting on a performance, bear in mind a couple of things: a) Don't strain yourself - whether this is cramp in a leg, your arm feels like it's going to fall off or seriously hurting your neck from headbanging Solution - be able to do all of this comfortably for longer than you need - if the gig is an hour long, be sure you can play a set for longer than an hour and keep the energy up. If anything you can always be confident of doing an encore. b) Know what you're playing well - nerves can cause you to tense up, especially if that solo is challenging and you don't know if you're going to get through it. Solution - nail your tunes, play confidently and you will be at ease. Make it look easy by taking all the stress out of the performance and enjoy it more. c) Know your limitations - if the drummer cannot spin his sticks and catch them, don't let him try mid-performance. Solution - practices are for the horsing around. Piss about and try new things and if they work, put them into performances. Don't add unneeded stress to a performance because it will only add pressure and tension. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong so prepare for the worst. The idea is to not be embarrassed/shown up by silly things that shouldn't happen. Like how the lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs Ricky Wilson did a scissor kick at a festival and sprained his ankle. That makes it sound silly and childish compared to the singer in Rammstein continuing after burning himself on one of their flamethrowers. Anything that goes wrong should make you need to perform better - don't think that it'll bring it down. It's all about having the right mentality.


Put your hands out in front of you and do a Mr Burns or make your hands go limp. Now balance (I recommend on your knees) on the outside of your wrists, where the watch face would show and do press ups. These exercises are used in martial arts and are used to strengthen the wrists. Try 5 in a push-up position without using your knees - complete murder at first. A good exercise is also doing press-ups by creating L shapes ( like calling someone a loser with a thumb and index finger ) by joining two hands together below your chest. A dimaond shaped push up in other words. These are harder than usual push ups and will give you bigger arms and a wider chest - very good for drummer who needs upper body strength and anyone who plays topless. I hope this has been a useful lesson - I appreciate the feedback on the last one and hope that this can add some exercises I've learnt since, and a little bit of thought into how you can subtract stress and mental barriers/tension from a performance.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i gave both up a long time ago, but a coors light or pinch of snuff always helped me when i was in college rodeo
    I got repetitive strain on tour, and a my thumb used to lock up by the end in the pick holding position whilst playing!