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Getting Excercise While Practicing Guitar?

Ugly Bunny

Anybody have any good suggestions for this? I'm in the military so I can't just let myself go; but I wish to devote as much time outside of work as possible to practice. It's a whole to-do to make time for the gym (excuses, I know) or running (canging clothes, showering, etc.). So I am wondering if anyone has any cool ideas for exercising while practicing. Some that I've thought of, though not ideal, are:

1) Taking a break every 20 minutes or so for some push-ups, sit-ups, and/or pull-ups.
2) Sucking it up and just going to the gym/running once or twice a day.
3) Practicing standing up (at least it's not sitting).

I'm just wondering if anyone practices while on a stationary bike or some other sort of exercise machine. Maybe I'm wanting my cake and wanting to eat it too - maybe I need to just accept that guitar practice cannot be multi-tasked and is a relatively sedentary activity.


Dr. Jimmy

I dunno, it's kinda one or the other. Set your mind to practicing and only practicing and when you're done with that for the day, then do the workout stuff. Best way to improve as a musician is to be focused on what you're doing.

BTW, thank you for your service.


I lift barbells and play guitar between sets. Have my guitars and amps in my home gym.


Silver Supporting Member
If you play like me (a spastic freak) you can't sit still so it's not an issue. I bounce around like a lunatic when I play.
One or the other. Besides, if you're doing it right, your weight lifting regimen doesn't need to last longer than 20 minutes once or twice a week anyway.


Silver Supporting Member
I know this isn't exactly what you asked, specifically, but when driving, treadmill, or other relatively mindless activity, I recite all the notes in each key around the circle, then major and minor triads, roots and relative minors, that sort of thing.

If alone, I sometimes work on solfeggio, singing intervals. That is hit or miss, but is great ear training. So, general musical training, which I apply to guitar once I have one in my hands. Good luck with it.


Gold Supporting Member
A friend got a ticket for practicing guitar on the LA freeway...yeah, I guess multi-tasking is possible.

don carney

Gold Supporting Member
Sometimes I noodle while riding a stationary bike. It causes household talk. Use with care.


Haha I've tried playing and sitting on a stationary bike, and also a treadmill.
Now that I have a wireless unit i might try hiking on an incline on the treadmill and walking slowly.

john beddoe

the most useful things i have found for guitar playing is:-

1) yoga 2) Feldenkrais exercises 3) semi-supine resting to release back/neck/arms and develop posture and ease in playing ( i trained in the Alexander Technique to recover from RSI from poor posture and technique)

Not exactly exercise in the common sense of cardio, weights but the most effective i have found. Cheers


ChuckBerryduckwalk your way around a 5-mile course every day While playing whatever you want. To preserve body symmetry, alternate weight-bearing leg every mile.

You're allowed 10 bum notes per mile.

elron hoover

Senior Member
One or the other. Besides, if you're doing it right, your weight lifting regimen doesn't need to last longer than 20 minutes once or twice a week anyway.
If you want to actually progress beyond simply maintaining use of your muscles, you definitely need more than 20 minutes once or twice a week.

Do at minimum 30 minutes of lifting 3 days a week, and 20 minutes of cardio daily. There is a lot of time to play guitar afterward.

I can't imagine sweating all over my guitar while practicing scales on my bike, or trying to strum chords with my arms burning during 30 second rests while lifting. Seems ridiculous.


I can help

Step 1: Determine how many hours a day are you going to practice and how many days. Be realistic here. Only write everyday if you have practiced everyday for 2 weeks in the past 3 months. Make it 3-4 times a week for 3-4 hours and make a good specific practice schedule with goals and expectations (I want to be a better musician vs I want to be able to play more songs and just kick back and have fun) This is important. You need the discipline to be able to write down just what you want from practicing the guitar to make your practice schedules more effective.

Step 2: create a time saving realistic workout routine.

Now I have been doing everything from P90x3 and T25 Focus. (25-30 minute exercise routines with cardio and resistance)

I'd say since you're in the military, you should be able to do the entire week of T25 in the mornings and break down your exercise days to 3 muscle groups which would be
Chest and back, shoulders and arms, Legs and back in the gym or via one of the home exercise programs.

If you can do T25 and on alternate days workout a muscle group, you are sorted.

Alternate Step 2: In case you don't want to go completely insane with the workouts and just want something quick, interesting and challenging in between guitar practice routines, I highly reccomend : http://darebee.com/programs.html

Check out the programs/workouts/challengs they have. Pick out something that you can do after 1 hour of guitar practice.

Also, since you are working out and practicing guitar on an intense level, I reccomend a simple stretching routine for your hands like

This will keep you away from injury and help you recover faster and keep your performance optimal while transitioning between the two routines.

*Pro Tip*
Don't practice guitar and exercise at the same time. Nothing good will come out of it. You won't progress in either direction. Don't practice guitar like your are going to a gym and don't workout like it's a relaxing music session. You want to progress not stay stuck and frustrated. If you want to practice while working out, Listen to music. Listen to artists you haven't heard before. To new people to musicians you never thought you would like and musicians that help you learn something new.

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3) Practicing standing up (at least it's not sitting).

Sounds about right to me. Anyone active duty or PFC for that matter... has a golden rule eh? Maintain a sense of saneness! Standing up should fulfill requirements here and help in the future as good and well. Carry On!

Whatever strength building can be for the hands/fingers ( without causing damage ) and being healthy enough to play for hours... standing up.


You should practice standing up, already been mentioned but health benefits aside, if you practice sitting down, you'll mess up loads when you jam standing up.

I do anyway. Working on standing up to practice more atm. Kinda hard with a family though, feel like a knob standing in the lounge with the guitar when the missus is watching some Netflix lol.
But hey. It'll pay off.

Imo actual exercise needs its own time, I wouldn't even try to do both at once unless you wanna jump around and stuff.

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