Different types of instruments and equipment require you to use your muscles in varying ways. Try these workouts customized for each section of the band.
It was a long summer—long enough for your body to forget what carrying around your instrument or equipment feels like. Now that you’ve been through band camp and the first few weeks of school, take an assessment of what parts of your body are feeling the burn or where you typically feel most sore, then set yourself up for success by targeting those areas.
If you’re a woodwind player, maybe your arms and shoulders are not really sore after your first few rehearsals, but standing and marching during band camp wasn’t something you were used to during the summer, so why not put in some low back stretches and add in a bit of light running? Try an easy forward fold with your feet hip distance apart, your knees slightly bent and your hands clasping opposite elbows. Also jog 1.5 miles on a slight incline, three times a week.
If you’re a brass player or carrying around a tuba, think about adding in some upper body strength training such as bicep curls and lateral pull-downs. Start with a manageable weight and work your way up through the season. Do eight to 10 repetitions, three times for each exercise.
For the drumline, add in arm exercises and lower back stretches. Most people have tight hamstrings, which pull on your lower back. Sit on the floor with your feet out in front of you with your hands flat on the floor next to your hips, your elbows slightly bent. Your back should be straight, shoulders down, abs drawn in and your feet flexed—toes pointed up to the sky. Start to walk your hands forward and take a forward fold. This will open up your hamstrings and lower back.
Color guard members: Think about total body strength training and stretching. Try adding in 1.5 miles of light running with a slight incline three times per week as well as bicep curls and forward folds.
It’s also important to stretch and strengthen your wrists since you are constantly carrying and manipulating equipment. Take each finger, one at a time, hold it with your other hand and stretch it down and away from your body. Hold for three breaths. When you get to your thumb, pull it out to the side and slightly rotate it back and down. You should feel the stretch in your hands and wrists.
As always, make sure to check in with your doctor before adding anything drastically new to your fitness routine.
About the Author
After dancing since the age of 3, Haley Greenwald-Gonella thought it was time to try a new art. In elementary school, she began playing the flute and was in the marching band in middle school and for the first two years of high school. She also played the bassoon during concert season. Dance drew Haley back while in high school. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She recently graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts). Haley is also a certified registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She draws upon her dance and yoga training when it comes to all things fitness and the arts.