(please note that I’m not training/accepting personal fitness clients because all of my time is spent crafting and playing shakuhachi)
Tip – without professional supervision, it’s a good idea to use a mirror or recording device to observe your form as you’re exercising to make correction. Of course, professional help is recommended.
- Disclaimer 2:01
- My story with RSI 3:04
- Simple assessment for carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve entrapment 5:07
- Difference between acute and chronic injury 7:02
- Comparing simple exercises to playing shakuhachi (or other repetitive activities), wrist position, tendon remodeling 9:04
- Tendon remodeling, how my body recovered 10:29
- Shoulder complex, posture, front-work, 12:04
- * “Tennis elbow” (I made a mistake and said “Golfer’s”, hand pronated or overhand grip 12:47
- Shoulder warm-up 13:50
- Foam rolling (the thoracic spine) AKA “self massage”, soft tissue care/work 15:03
- Why we should stretch the pectoral muscle 17:37
- Balance between front and back muscles and ideally all muscles of the body 18:24
- Pectoral stretch explanation 19:31
- First pectoral stretch 20:34
- Second pectoral stretch and “shoulder external rotation” 21:33
- Frequency, repetitions, sets, rests and rest days 23:42
- Muscle soreness, healthy vs. unsafe 26:06
- 1st exercise (explanation) – Banded pull-aparts aka band pulls 27:50
- Band pulls demonstration 30:11
- 2nd exercise (explanation) – Face pulls AKA facepulls 31:33
- Facepulls setup 33:04
- Facepulls demonstration 33:52
- 3rd exercise – (shoulder) “external rotation” with band or cable 36:15
- Outro/end notes 37:31
Musicians and many others find themselves suffering from RSI or repetitive strain injuries but few are informed about tendon remodeling. This is our body’s natural ability to heal the tendons when they’re used safely and specifically in resistance exercises. I struggled with debilitating repetitive strain injuries in the tendons of my forearms for years but I made a full recovery with simply exercises which induced tendon remodeling. It’s my wish to share what I’ve learned in the hopes that it can help other musicians who’re suffering.
In the above video, I share some exercises which can help us to develop and maintain good posture as well as possibly induce tendon remodeling so that our bodies can heal. Good posture will enable us to play the shakuhachi and other musical instruments more safely, and ideally avoid injuries. While prevention is preferable, unfortunately many of us are already injured and experiencing discomfort or pain (seek out the help or clearance of a doctor or physical therapist to avoid further injury). While I am qualified to give information about exercises as a certified personal fitness trainer, I’m not licensed to prescribe or recommend exercises to treat any conditions. That’s the role of a physical therapist. What I am allowed to share in this video are my personal experiences with my own repetitive strain injuries and what I did to recover.
More on how to choose the right level of resistance and how to make progress
In the following, I’m going to talk about how we find the correct and safe amount of resistance to use and how we can progress our exercise(s) so that we continue to make progress (using the PRE principle which stands for “progressive resistance exercise”). Note that this advice is for the exercises and rep ranges I’ve presented/recommended in the video.
To find the right level of resistance we perform a “15 rep test”. This simple test has us try to reach or exceed 15 reps with a given level of resistance while maintaining good form/posture throughout (the moment we cannot maintain good form we stop the exercise because we’ve reached “technical failure”/our current limit).
We ideally want to find a level of resistance that allows us to do under 15 reps, but no less then 10 reps. If we can’t reach 10 reps the resistance is too high. Once we find the right level of resistance we would then try and add 1 rep each week, while maintaining good form, until we reach 15 reps (we might also find that we suddenly can exceed 15 reps). At which point, we generally need to increase the difficulty.
This insures that our body continues to make progress. We can do this by adding sets (if we haven’t already reached the max of 3 to 4 sets) or by increasing the level of resistance that we’re using, i.e., we try a slightly more difficult band or cable. Alternatively, we can try increasing the resistance of bands and cables by stretching them further, though this has it’s limits of course (use masking or gaffers tape to mark the point on the floor where we walk-out and stretch a band up-to).
When we increase the resistance we will naturally find that we cannot do as many reps as we were able to using the lower-level of resistance. For example, let’s say we’ve worked up-to or exceeded our 15 rep goal with our resistance band and we want to increase the resistance by moving up to a more challenging band. Next session, we try using a slightly more difficult resistance band. What we discover is that we’re not able to do 15 reps with the increased resistance/more difficult band. We should ideally find that we can do about 10 reps with this more difficult band. We would then work our way back up to our goal of 15 or more reps with this new band. Then we just repeat this pattern.
Lastly, we can also make the rest period between sets shorter to increase the intensity or difficulty of a workout. Since everyone is different and has unique needs, it’s ideal to seek out the help of qualified professionals such as physical therapists and/or certified, competent physical fitness trainers. In the end, try not to get caught-up in too much theory, especially if it’s keeping you from exercising.