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Playing to muscular exhaustion


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I'm a reasonably strong and capable woman. Recently, I've started to turn a corner in my playing and can lead a set in our local session. And I don't know if it's because I used to play tunes twice over and now do it thrice or even four times (if the situation calls for it), but my upper arms (deltoids/triceps) feel like overcooked spaghetti noodles at the end of an exuberant set. Muscle fatigue via polkas, I guess. 

 

Any suggestions on excercises to strenghthen the pushing and pulling muscles?

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3 hours ago, Halifax said:

 

I my upper arms (deltoids/triceps) feel like overcooked spaghetti noodles....

 

 

I realise that this is a serious question, for which I have no answer, but the image presented is going to stay in my mind all day...or at least until I clean the spilled coffee from my keyboard  🙂

 

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It seems strange that it's your upper arms.  How are you holding your concertina?  Standing or sitting?  Held 

out front or resting with one or both ends on your knees or perhaps with the bellows draped across a knee?  Is your chair soft seated comfortable/not scrunching you up?  Any kind of tension might induce those sympoms.  Try moving around a bit and/or changing positions.

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Are your bellows stiff? That will wear you out quickly if playing fast session tunes. My bellows were stiff but I used some leather softener on them inside and out and they have relaxed a great deal. Some will say that will ruin the bellows and loosen the glue but it has not done so for the past year.

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My earlier joke aside, and more seriously this time; If your arms ache then you are exerting far too much physical effort in some way, or maybe tensioning up too much when playing. Try and relax more, and you do not need to be too rigid, when playing, let the fingers do the work, and then use your mind to try and relax! Sometime playing fast tendancy can be to get quite tense, which affects physicality quite a bit.."Relax"! 

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On 4/27/2022 at 7:42 AM, wunks said:

It seems strange that it's your upper arms.  How are you holding your concertina?  Standing or sitting?  Held 

out front or resting with one or both ends on your knees or perhaps with the bellows draped across a knee?  Is your chair soft seated comfortable/not scrunching you up?  Any kind of tension might induce those sympoms.  Try moving around a bit and/or changing positions.

Fair questions. I play seated on a wooden pub chair with the concertina sitting on my left leg. I try to have reasonable posture, but yeah, sometimes I hunch a bit so I can hear over the other session instruments. It might be an endurance problem. I do try to keep my posture as neutral as possible. 

 

 

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On 4/27/2022 at 10:27 AM, fred v said:

Are your bellows stiff? That will wear you out quickly if playing fast session tunes. My bellows were stiff but I used some leather softener on them inside and out and they have relaxed a great deal. Some will say that will ruin the bellows and loosen the glue but it has not done so for the past year.

They might be a little stiff as the machine isn't so very old. I've been warned not to treat the leather at all, and wouldn't want to damage the beautiful papers, so I guess the cure is just more playing.

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On 4/27/2022 at 10:58 AM, SIMON GABRIELOW said:

My earlier joke aside, and more seriously this time; If your arms ache then you are exerting far too much physical effort in some way, or maybe tensioning up too much when playing. Try and relax more, and you do not need to be too rigid, when playing, let the fingers do the work, and then use your mind to try and relax! Sometime playing fast tendancy can be to get quite tense, which affects physicality quite a bit.."Relax"! 

That's very good advice. Thank you.

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When tying to play anglo I have had a tendency to use all my arm muscles to move the bellows. I have noticed that better players seem to use a lot of wrist rotation to do the reversals.

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1 hour ago, Halifax said:

Fair questions. I play seated on a wooden pub chair with the concertina sitting on my left leg. I try to have reasonable posture, but yeah, sometimes I hunch a bit so I can hear over the other session instruments. It might be an endurance problem. I do try to keep my posture as neutral as possible. 

 

 

Try bringing a small pad or cushion to the pub.  I can't long survive playing any instrument while sitting on a hard chair.  You can buy a nice folding guitar players stool with padded seat and back that works great!  Because you've just turned the corner, you may still be subconsciously tense.  that should ease up overtime.

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Nice inflatable cushion, used for camping (inflates quickly)..recommended ( I used them a lot when sketching outdoors, and they are compact too. Also used to take one when in audience listening to other music groups, ( sitting on old hard wooden pews inside churches!!!).. You are glad you have invested in one then ( I know from experience!).. Oh the relief, and the comfort of inflatable cushion!!!

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So Noel Hill was clear that playing requires the whole upper body. At one of his workshops he rolled up his sleeve to demonstrate his arm development and to show how his muscles were working. I am pretty sure I remember this correctly. I would never want to misrepresent Noel.

I know I have worked on NOT  using my wrists. Right now I am suffering because the muscles I use to play in my upper arms are the same muscles I use to work cleaning up my garden. 
I would bet some light weight exercises might help 

 

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In the "Olden-days" I believe they used to school people in 'deportment'  by making them put books on top of their heads, and then walk around straight without dropping them! Having said that I have to criticize myself on that account; as I seem to sit as straight as a wooden board [ as if I am sitting at a piano!] when playing [like someone has tied a wooden plank in my shirt!] but maybe that helps too!!😊

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This may not help, but I saw a video today of two young guys doing pushups. One guy did a bunch of pushups every day, the other guy did a bunch of pushups every other day, resting on the off days. At the end the guy who rested on off days was able to do more pushups. Perhaps you could design a similar regimen in your playing?

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Yes, excersise is important; whether doing gym stuff or not..

Why not simply strengthen your fingers by getting some soft modelling material ( plasticine they call it).. and just press it into your hands and fingers. It will not only keep your fingers supple.. but also you could make something useful from it; like a cup, or paper weight!!!

😄😄😄😄😄

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