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Are There Physical Exercises that Singers Should Not Do?

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Are there certain physical exercises that singers should not do?

One exercise in particular is the pushup. They help me get toned quickly but they affect my breathing. After doing 20 pushups I start doing chest breathing and it becomes very difficult to go back to deep breths. Once my chest and abs get any kind of exercise eg pushup, sit ups it also cuts the endurance of my voice re: shallow breathing.

Have you guys ever had this happen to you? What did you do to remedy it?

I want to audition for a show (kinda like Trinidadian XFactor) and everything matters, looks, voice ect.


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A woman fan saw some baseball players in the 60s, walked up to them, and saw they were out of shape. She remarked, you baseball players are overweight. They replied, "but mam, we're pitchers." Nowadays, we have muscular pitchers. In the 60s, pitchers were actually discouraged from weight-lifting because it was thought this would shorten their pitch's "stretch".

I don't know golf well, but my recollection is Lee Trevino, a champion, started lifting weights and never regained his "touch". So, for some time, weight lifting was thought to be detrimental to golf because one's touch is affected. Modern day golf pro golfers have muscular power.

So, IMO, yes it's true that exercises can, in the short term, affect singing negatively. But continuous exercising along with stretching and good posture will do wonders for your singing.

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Think of exercising and stretching and yin and yang. What one wants to achieve is harmony, like the ancient yin-yang symbol.

In yoga, this is expressed as stretch and counter stretch.

The reason your exercise affects singing negatively is because of excessive of one (yin or stretch). What you need to do is to find the counterbalance-- (yang or counter stretch), so that your voice attains harmony.

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According to Tara Simon (an X-Factor contestant and vocal coach), pushups

stimulate blood flow to the vocal cords. So it was part of her pre-show routine

before getting on stage.

Tara Simon doing pushups (above 20 seconds into the video) on X-Factor


She was recently on TV in Atlanta

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I would say, learn to keep them separated. It's okay to do physical exercise. And yes, the breathing for physical exertion is different than the breathing for singing.

In exercise, you pump as much air in and out as you can to stay oxygenated. In singing, you control the exhale.

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Something I would like to add to Owen's running. In a sense, the breathing for running is not what makes you a better singer. The increased efficiency of the body to oxygenate itself is a benefit. You still have to control the exhale while singing. But the lungs also get better at oxygenating you. For, even while you are singing, some of the air you are breathing while singing is also to keep you conscious. Right?

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Well chamcham, if I'm not mistaken, pretty much any kind of exercise is gonna stimulate blood flow to the larynx. Why push ups. Why not jumping jacks for instance. I doubt one would be scientifically more beneficial to the larynx over the other.

Running is the best singer's exercise IMO because it also targets the breathing musculature. And optionally, you can practice vocal stamina by attempting to sing while running. Not an easy task, but Jaime Vendera highly recommends it. I think Joanna Cazden also does.

Personally I just stick with plain old running...I'd consider it part of my full vocal warm up.

I was only just stating what she claimed. I don't know if she has any evidence to back it up.

She seemed very passionate about vocal technique (maybe too passionate) on X-Factor.

Running is definitely good for breathing. Or any amount of intense cardio exercise for that matter.

However, I've known women that don't like running, because apparently it gives them wrinkles

at an older age. There are a lot of web articles about the topic.

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Fellow member Snejk used to trade emails with Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica. Tony's advice for training for a tour, or singing in general, really, lots of cardio. And hands down, the best cardio for the amount of effort expended is walking or running. More important than weight training. Or high intensity like martial arts. (In my book, martial arts done correctly is not about being aerobic. It's about rendering the opponent incapable of further action. I get that from my friend, Lee, US Navy SEAL, 1964-69. "Do unto him before he does unto you." That wisdom helped him survive 3 active combat tours, way deep "in country." But I digress.)

So, yeah, cardio. Something that involves breathing and lots of it.

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Exactly. Running increases the lungs efficiency in getting oxygen into the blood stream

And when you are singing, the areola are better at absorbing whatever oxygen they get, while you go ahead and sing.

Mick Jagger had someone once track how much he ran and caroused around on stage. It clocked in at 6 miles. So, he started running 6 miles every other day to stay in training for tours. Granted, he sings mostly in chest. But it doesn't matter what you are singing, you still have to have breath to sing. And he is one of those singers who will not lip-sync a live show. You hear Mick, warts and all.

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If, for some reason, you don't like running, I'd recommend trying the Insanity Workout by Beachbody.

It's for people that want maximum fat burn in minimum time. The instructor often reminds you

to breathe air in and out. It makes a big difference.

I tried running before, but I would always start to itch whenever I was outside.

Also, it was much easier for me to exercise in my room than to go outside.

Anyway, cardio is great for increasing lung efficiency.

If you're out of breath after 20 pushups, you're out of shape.

Exercise more and you'll last longer.

Not all singers do physical exercise, but it definitely helps.

Anyway, good luck.

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I get my exercise chasing old ladies around the retirement home. And dueling with wooden swords for the bottle of Geritol.

Hey, it's a gig ....

I used to lift weights. It didn't help me sing better. I used to run 2 miles every other day. It didn't help me sing better.

Paying attention to what I do with my voice, that helped me sing better.

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I tried that insanity workout once. Never again. :lol:

I guess that means Insanity kicked your ass. They don't call it Insanity for nothing. :D

It's really for people that will do whatever it takes to get results, even if it kills them.

They're not afraid of pain and torture. Maybe they even like it. :P

After the first day I did Insanity, my legs were so sore I couldn't walk for 4 days.

Even on the fourth day, walking was difficult. I didn't even have enough strength to

walk outside. Luckily, I was on vacation. Otherwise, I would've never been able to make it to work :lol:

And that was all from 27 minutes of Day 1 (the Day 1 workout is 40 minutes, but I was too weak and gave up at 27 minutes).

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You should be using controlled diaphragm breathing for pretty much all weight lifting exercises. If you were bench pressing and breathed high into your chest and released it all at once you would collapse and drop the bar on yourself. Calisthenics are in that in between aerobic and anaerobic zone but you still should not be breathing that hard.

Two things to keep in mind:

1) If you're breathing hard while doing pushups, do them slower and more controlled.

2) I like to do some of the diaphragm exercises before I go to the gym or run and then I find I'm able to keep my breathing more consistent and it's actually helped me internalize some of the breathing techniques.

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Back with the pushups…

Before my warm up today I did some pushups (44 to be exact) I could have gone higher on my lip rolls today and my voice had more volume after. Could it be because of the pushups? I think so but I’ll try it again to be sure. In some recent singing success tips they suggested doing pushups and jumping jacks if you couldn’t actually warm up.

@chamcham…Waw Tara has an interesting voice. Overdone with the melisma’s for my taste though..

@Owen Korzec I agree with running. I did some running and then warm up. It also worked out better after running.

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You get better at singing by singing (with focus on what you are doing.)

Exercise is good for general health and quality of life.

A golfer could run or lift weights or whatever but what makes him a good golfer is playing golf and paying attention to what he is doing while playing that game.

I think it is the same with singing.

I am not discounting exercises and scales. But it is how you sing, whether scales, exercises, or song rehearsal and performance.

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