Learning to play the guitar is not an easy task. Not only do you have to grasp the ins and outs of music theory - which is tough enough on its own - but then there's the entire physical toll it requires. As any seasoned guitarist can admit to, contorting your fingers into awkward and uncomfortable chord shapes can feel next to impossible when you're just starting off. But just like the musical aspects of playing guitar, the physical parts can be learned with practice and the help of exercises. Below, we list three helpful exercises that can help with improving both hand flexibility and building up the stamina required to rock.
For the first exercise, all you have to do is quickly open and close your hand as many times as you can. If you are a right-handed guitar player, you should focus on doing this with your left hand, or vice versa if you're a lefty. While this might seem (admittedly) pointless and way too easy at first, it's a completely different story once you get past 50 or so. Remember - no pain, no gain. Don't stop until you physically can't do it anymore. Try doing this daily at first, and then multiple times a day as you get better. This exercise will not only help with your hand's overall flexibility (allowing you to better hold awkward chord shapes), it will increase its stamina as well.
While the first exercise focused on building your hands flexibility, this next one is aimed at strengthening your fingers and wrist. To practice this exercise, you will need a ten-pound dumbbell. If possible, you can use some more weight, but keep it below anything that will start hurting after fifteen or twenty reps. To start , sit on a chair and keep your forearm on your thigh with your palm up and wrist over the knee. Now hold your dumbbell loosely and allow it roll to the end of the fingertips and then bring it back into the starting position. Practice fifty reps daily. Building strength in both your fingers and wrist will go a long way at making you a better physical guitar player.
In this last exercise, you will need two dumbbells, about ten pounds each should do. To start, stand with your arms to the side, then bend at a ninety-degree angle. Hold the dumbbells in your hands and rotate them to the palm up and palm down position. Practice it fifty times in a day. Not only will this make your palms and (to a lesser extent) fingers stronger, it will also increase your overall arm strength and stamina, allowing you to strum away longer than you would have otherwise.
Learning to play the guitar isn't easy, physically or mentally, but if you stick with it, you will find that it is one of the most fulfilling endeavors you can make. While the tips above won't make learning music theory any easier, it will definitely help with playing it once you get it down!
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