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Lucas Debargue - A Matter of Life or Death
Pianist Lucas Debargue recently recorded the complete piano works of Gabriel Fauré on the Opus 102, a very special grand piano by Stephen Paulello. Eric Schoones from the German/Dutch magazine PIANIST had a conversation with him. Read more >>

Topic: Weight-lifting  (Read 2622 times)

Offline rapmasterb

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Weight-lifting
on: August 26, 2005, 08:12:36 AM
I was wondering if anyone knew anything about weight-lifting and it's consequences in terms of playing the piano. I've heard of virtuosos body-building in the run-up to a performance of brahms 2 but I've also heard that lifting weights tightens up your hands and forearms and makes it hard for you to vary tone (or something along those lines).

I'm thinking about doing weights myself in the gym but not for the piano just for my general health. If there were gling to be serious repercussions in terms of the piano I'd have to think about it though.

Hoping to hear some ideas.

Offline maul

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #1 on: August 26, 2005, 09:08:34 AM
Well, I don't exactly lift weights, but I do a lot of situps, pushups, and other things. I'm in great shape and I find it helps. Although it doesn't immensely affect my playing, it makes things a tad easier and more controlled. It hasn't hindered my ability in any way, but I can see how too much lifting could. I'd just suggest doing it casually and make sure you always do a lot of stretching (also stretch out your fingers for a certain amount of time afterwards).

Offline gruffalo

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #2 on: August 26, 2005, 11:44:35 AM
i would seek proffesional help. either  a good piano teacher who some sort of physio who knows about music. its very important because you dont want to sabotage your talent.

Offline xvimbi

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Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #4 on: August 26, 2005, 09:18:27 PM
I used to be into power lifting and arm wrestling and can assure you they don't mix well with piano playing.

If you go to the gym keep the weights low and the reps high. That works the muscles nicely and avoids possible injury and tendon problems.

However, for general health, i would always go for swimming or cycling.
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Offline janice

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #5 on: August 27, 2005, 12:21:20 AM
I am addicted to going to the gym and working out!!  At one point, I wondered the same thing as you.  However I only go in the room that has the stationery equipment, and NOT the room that has barbells and free weights. (Picturing Thalbergmad in his weight lifter outfit, lifting a ton on the barbell!!)  That way, I can relax my fingers because I don't have to control where the weights go, the machine moves the weight (plates) for me and all I need to do is exert myself to move the weight.  Make sense?  In other words, I don't have to grip it to death for fear that it might slip out of my hand.

Thalbergmad, wanna arm wrestle?!  j/k  My arms are kinda wimpy, but my legs are strong!
Co-president of the Bernhard fan club!

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #6 on: August 27, 2005, 04:04:17 PM
Good point janice to use the machines. You should only really use free weights if training with a partner.

Injuries are more likely with free weights, especially for beginners as you use a lot of muscle energy just to control them.

I take up the challenge for a wrestle. I will see if i can find the photo of my 300kg dead lift.
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Offline practicingnow

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #7 on: September 01, 2005, 07:23:25 AM
I'm sure this would depend on the individual - why don't you try it and see how it goes?  I'm sure that any tightening that might occur from the weight lifting could later be reversed, if you wanted to, simply by stopping.  You probably won't do any permanent harm, unless of course you injure yourself.
But you should probably stay away from forearm curls, just in case.

Offline ted

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #8 on: September 01, 2005, 07:32:37 AM
I lift weights and do resistance training with expanders and a bullworker. It has never seemed to do my piano playing any harm, with one exception. I have learned to avoid any action which puts pressure on the nerves in the wrist or the palm of the hand.
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." - James Joyce

Offline gee

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #9 on: September 05, 2005, 01:57:02 AM
hey thalbergmad, I do some serious armwrestling myself, you have to work the forearm alot eh? The stiff arms make my chromatics slow as hell, lol  ::)

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #10 on: September 05, 2005, 07:38:58 PM
yeh, 50lb pinch grips and chromatics are not a good mix.
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Offline hlconceiro

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #11 on: September 07, 2005, 11:52:24 AM
A month ago I started to go to a gym with the latin proverb "mens sana in corpore sano" in mind (also the greeks they said that the body and mind must be excercised the same amount). I use machines like these https://www.technogym.es/business/ and they're very nice but a bit boring so I preffer to do different things and cardiovascular. The gym is very modern and there's always an instructor looking for your wellness and (s)he warns you when you're doing it bad (the thumb is very important to avoid injuries on hands  for example). They have other activities like Schwinn-cycling, body excersices and weightlifting in groups with motivating music (I think if you do this is not a problem unless you use a lot of weight. The instructor is always telling you and the others the correct way to do it, they insist a lot on this subject)
so, the fact is doing it with a correct weight and by the correct way (so you need an instructor at least the first days)
A bit of excersise is very important for our health and also because we use our body to play the piano, not only the hands. Too much time seated... I advise to everyone to do some exercise like cycling, running or a bit of weightlifting moderately. ;)

Héctor

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #12 on: September 07, 2005, 11:57:24 AM
ok I use to powerlift and worked with Rickey Dale Crain. If you don't know who he is google him and be amazed. neways. You will not get any tighter in your fingers or arms if you stretch before and after working out. tightness comes from not stretching. low weights high reps will cause more injuries than moderate weight with low reps. The best thing to do is go to www.weightliftingdiscussion.com they have several routines on there. I suggest the Gaugler routines. they are simple, effective, and prevent you from being stupid. They will give you the exact amount of weight to lift and how many times. spoon feed you really. check it out.

boliver

Offline jeremyjchilds

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #13 on: September 08, 2005, 03:10:52 PM
Good point janice to use the machines. You should only really use free weights if training with a partner.

Injuries are more likely with free weights, especially for beginners as you use a lot of muscle energy just to control them.

I take up the challenge for a wrestle. I will see if i can find the photo of my 300kg dead lift.

I disagree that machines are the way to go...

Your joints are forced to follow a pre-set path.  This is okay if you are exactly the same size as the average person that the machine was designed for...but who is the exact same size.

I'm not talking about height settings here...I am referring to the radial range of motion along the path that the machine has set.  Think about it, you are using 80-100% intensity, using an unnatural joint angle...a recipe for tendonitis if you are working out every day.

The problem with free weights is that nobody takes the time to learn how to use them properly. Learning free-squats (properly...of course) is a lot safer than smith machine squats.
Get a personal trainer, and get him\her to show you how to use free weights, You will be so thankful, and your muscles will develop along thier correct planes.

"He who answers without listening...that is his folly and his shame"    (A very wise person)

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #14 on: September 08, 2005, 03:33:55 PM
I disagree that machines are the way to go...

I agree!

I think, in the end, either free weights or machines ARE NOT ways to go, if one CANNOT use them the way they should be used, and either free weights or machines ARE ways to go, if one CAN use them the way they should be used.

Quote
Your joints are forced to follow a pre-set path.  This is okay if you are exactly the same size as the average person that the machine was designed for...but who is the exact same size.

I'm not talking about height settings here...I am referring to the radial range of motion along the path that the machine has set.  Think about it, you are using 80-100% intensity, using an unnatural joint angle...a recipe for tendonitis if you are working out every day.

The problem with free weights is that nobody takes the time to learn how to use them properly. Learning free-squats (properly...of course) is a lot safer than smith machine squats.
Get a personal trainer, and get him\her to show you how to use free weights, You will be so thankful, and your muscles will develop along thier correct planes.

I've been using mainly machines for a few years now. It did take a me quite some time to figure out which machines I can use, and which I cannot, what the settings need to be and what the proper technique is to carry out the movements (very much like piano playing ;)). Free weights have the disadvantage that one needs two people. In the end, a personally optimized mixture of free weights and machines as well as simply using the body as resistance (i.e. neither free weights nor machines) is probably the best way to go. All this does require personal coaching or at least very careful, critical evaluation of all options over a period of time (much like piano technique ;)).

Offline BoliverAllmon

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #15 on: September 08, 2005, 04:21:25 PM
I disagree that machines are the way to go...

Your joints are forced to follow a pre-set path.  This is okay if you are exactly the same size as the average person that the machine was designed for...but who is the exact same size.

I'm not talking about height settings here...I am referring to the radial range of motion along the path that the machine has set.  Think about it, you are using 80-100% intensity, using an unnatural joint angle...a recipe for tendonitis if you are working out every day.

The problem with free weights is that nobody takes the time to learn how to use them properly. Learning free-squats (properly...of course) is a lot safer than smith machine squats.
Get a personal trainer, and get him\her to show you how to use free weights, You will be so thankful, and your muscles will develop along thier correct planes.



this is true. DBs are probably the safest way to go (if you use proper technique and don't drop them on your head)

Offline jeremyjchilds

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #16 on: September 09, 2005, 06:55:33 AM
this is true. DBs are probably the safest way to go (if you use proper technique and don't drop them on your head)

I worked out for many years in an expensive gym...

and Now I get just as good of a workout by myself with DB's in my excercise room (I also have a good adjustable bench and a chinup bar...)

For legs, I do one-legged squats off of a bench (don't try this without being sure you are useing the proper technique) and this blasts my legs more than I ever had doing heavey squats...without the lower back strain.

So...I agree
"He who answers without listening...that is his folly and his shame"    (A very wise person)

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #17 on: September 09, 2005, 10:34:39 AM
my weight lifting amounts to lifting the turn signal lever in my old car.  my middle finger has been giving me some problems, because i use the side of my finger and lately it makes it hurt unless i turn my hand under the lever and quit trying to use the side of the tip of my finger.  strange, ehhh.

i go to the ymca to watch people work out.  i find it funny.  my son thinks up new ways to use the machines, too, and makes me laugh a lot. 

Offline viking

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #18 on: September 10, 2005, 05:48:28 AM
www.rilearts.com/leonbates.htm

Look at his Bio.  Hardcore weighlifter, amazing pianist.  It doesnt work that way for me though.
SAM

Offline shoshin

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #19 on: September 12, 2005, 08:05:00 AM
i like to use free weights over the machines.  its more natural. Look people, our body wasn't designed to play piano. Our hands man purpose is to grasp.  If your really paranoid about it messing up your piano then you probably shouldn't do it. But grasping a dumbbell and lifting it however pointless it sounds is a more natural motion than playing a chord or single note on a piano.

Offline leahcim

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #20 on: September 12, 2005, 08:39:33 AM
Look people, our body wasn't designed to play piano.

You sure? Seems to date back to prehistoric times :D

Offline fredo

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #21 on: September 12, 2005, 11:10:01 AM
I do a lot of weightlifting since the last 3 years. (nessecary for sprinting...)
What i noticed was, that my hands grew stronger, but they would also be more flexible, and i was more aware of what my hands where doing. So at the end i am playing a lot better than i was before.
But now i still have to warn you guys who want to do weight lifting. Not doing it the proper way, will cause more pain than it will be usefull for you.
Fred

Offline a romantic

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Re: Weight-lifting
Reply #22 on: September 24, 2005, 10:41:48 PM
I am a serious weightlifter (olympic-style) with a national title, and I know that the lifts that I do, cleans and snatches, actually increase both wrist flexibility and strength.  I am sure that I (at age 16) can play much louder than I could if I weren't a lifter.  As long as you stretch after workouts, my guess is that free-weights weightlifting will only help.  As for machines, how often do you have to lift a heavy object, using one muscle group, while sitting down?  Although he is on a bench, a pianist's motion is dynamic, requiring the coordination of many different muscles.  Free weights are the way to go, just make sure that you have a competent instructor teaching you.
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