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Does weight lifting affect guitar playing?

December 22, 20223 min read

Hello there in guitarland!

First of all, I would like to give you a simple and straight answer. No, weightlifting does not affect guitar playing. It is, absolutely, possible to play guitar and do weight lifting at the same time BUT you have to pay attention to a couple of different things. These are the things you should concentrate on!

You have to be careful to NOT get injured

If you get injured, you have to take time off your weight training. Also, if you injure your hands it is quite possible that you might take time off your guitar playing as well. To tell you the truth, this is not limited to injuring your hands. If you get injured in your waist, your shoulders, or another body part then you might not be able to hold the guitar properly for the length of a practice session. So, my first tip is to be very careful so you do not get injured.

The 3 main exercises you should pay more attention

These are the 3 main exercises that I have seen many people get injured by doing them. You need to be extra careful with those!

The Bench Press

It is quite easy to injure your shoulders and your chest. There are several variations that put considerably less stress on the shoulders — these are the one you should focis on


Squatting has been the underlying reason for many injuries.Or rather, IMPROPERLY executed HEAVY squatting has been the underlying reason for many injuries. If you squat moderately heavy and are using proper technique, you should be fine

The Shoulder Press

Especially heavy behind the neck press. Ou really should not be performing this exercise. Once again, there are several variations , especially with dumbbells , that hit the same muscles without the risk.

Tendon shortening effect

Once you get injuries out of the way another issue that might occur is that immediately after training there is a kind of shortening of the tendons of both the muscles trained AND the palms. This is something we do NOT want in our guitar playing. We want our hands to be very flexible and supple. The solution is really simple. Just do a proper hand/wrist warm up before your stretchers, and repeat it immediately after your weightlifting routine your hands are going to be fine.

Weight Lifting gloves

Always use weight lifting gloves. The reason for that is that you want to avoid any unwanted calluses on your hands. Also, if you do not use gloves you will get some… extra “meat” on your fingers, which is not very conducive to fast playing.

These are my suggestions. Once you follow these guidelines you will be much better off and you will be able to combine weightlifting and guitar playing without, hopefully, any trouble.

I hope this was helpful. You can watch the video below, where I explain this topic in more detail. If you’re interested in developing your guitar skills and reaching your music goals, please check the different Elite Guitar Coaching Academy packages and how you can get private coaching from me.

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Ioannis Anastassakis

Ioannis Anastassakis studied at the distinguished Musicians Institute (GIT), where he remained as an instructor, after graduating in the top 1% of his class. He continued his graduate studies in Music, at California State University, completing an MA in Guitar Performance, and graduating with Magna Cum Laude distinction. As an accomplished author, he has written five highly successful instructional books published by Mel Bay Publications, with his latest book reaching the #1 spot on the Amazon charts. He has released 5 guitar CDs and has been teaching Music and Music Business at the University level since 2001. Additionally, he is the founder and managing director of Elite Guitar Coaching.

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