I've had no shortage of music and health professionals tell me how strength training (hypertrophy) is bad for anything that warrants muscle relaxation (singing and drumming being two that I do). And I know the strain on nerves means it's also bad for more in my life than I could possibly acknowledge if I tried.

Well, I'm not ready to give up hypertrophy. Maybe if I made my living on music, but it's more of a serious hobby.

So what measures can I take to minimize the "damage" the daily gym does on my muscle relaxation? What practices or routines could I adopt to try to revert the consequences, like between the gym and practice/performing?

  • 1
    Do you have a reference for this claim (strength training is bad for singing / drumming)? I've never heard of that before (but there are many things I have not heard of, I'm just checking). Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 21:52
  • Well no, but the thing is, as long as you're getting more than you are comfortably able to lift, in order to cause growth, you're gonna have strain and mess up muscle relaxation. And that lack of muscle relaxation is bad for both singing and drumming any teacher will tell you, so I take it as common sense. Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 22:13
  • Regular exercise can actually be very good for stamina in singing and playing drums. I had a voice teacher in college who worked out daily up into her 60's. However if you are asking about muscle relaxation you should repost this question on a more appropriate site such as fitness and nutrition
    – Stephen
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 22:59
  • Even heavy weightlifting? Well, I was thinking here might be better since the tips I'm looking for have to do with musician-specific warmups and relaxation routines. Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 23:27
  • 1
    I think the point is not to work muscle stress into your music practice. Other than that, I see no reason you should avoid hypertrophy in another part of your life. (Anecdotally, I heard a story of a violinist/football player who had some mechanical problems because his shoulder muscles made it difficult for him to hold the instrument the way his teacher wanted, but even if it's true, I don't see how that could happen for voice or percussion.)
    – kojiro
    Commented Nov 21, 2011 at 11:48

1 Answer 1


I found some really good information on this website about weightlifting and the singing voice. Some of the responses in this article are very helpful to what you are asking about.

Taking full deep breaths is very important while you are singing. However it is more natural to take shallow breaths, especially while exerting oneself physically. Try breathing deeply, as though you were singing, while you are exercising as well. Also make sure you are not holding your breath while you lift, as that can cause an unfortunate amount of constriction on important parts of your vocal mechanism.

There are certain vocal warm-ups that can loosen up your vocal folds and the surrounding muscle mass, such as a sigh. A sigh sounds like a stereotypical yawn, where you use the vowel "ah", beginning on a high point in your register and descending to the lower part of your register; one could also move from low to high. Another way to insure you are doing this warm-up healthily is to use an "ng" sound (like the end of singiNG) and do the yawn exercise. This creates a healthy environment for your vocal folds.

There are muscles in your upper body that are integral to healthy singing and exercise is a very good way to enhance your ability to do so. Also, exercising can be helpful in increasing breath support. This is all contingent on exercising in a healthy, responsible and beneficial way.

Thank you for asking this question.

  • And thank you for the link and especially the tip on deep diaphragm breathing while lifting (exhaling as you exert force). I did it yesterday with my most "damaging" workout (shoulders & neck) and boy was I impressed! Not only more relaxed but I could actually lift more, as the page you linked says. Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 17:31
  • 1
    "Also, tell him not to grunt or set his breath in his throat while lifting. This is a must! He can damage his voice doing that, as it puts a lot of pressure and tension in the throat. Rather, have him expel the breath deeply, pushing out with his abdomen, sounding a little like Darth Vader."--great stuff! Commented Nov 20, 2011 at 17:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.