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Classical Guitar Lessons: Stretching

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[MUSIC]
In this lesson I'm just gonna show you
a few very quick and easy stretches that
you can do for
your daily warm ups before you actually,
this would be for
something before you pick up your guitar.
You know, you've, maybe you've been up for
a little while and
you've had your breakfast and your coffee
and
you're about to sit down to practice for a
45 minute, hour-long session.
And I highly recommend that you stretch a
little bit before.
Just what you're doing is you, you know, I
like to think that we are basically,
athletes [LAUGH] from the elbow on down to
the tips of our fingers.
And we need to stretch these muscles just
the way a, a runner would or
a basketball player.
And so I, this is these are just four or
five or
so quick stretches that you can learn and
do them every day.
I like to do a lot of these even in
between practice sessions.
If I'm practicing say, three hours in a
day,
you know four 45 minute sessions a piece
in between.
You know, you'll see a lot of advanced
guitarists always stretching their,
their, their fingers out or their arms and
that sort of thing.
So I'm gonna show you, I'm just going to
go into these in one long gesture.
So here we go, what I like to do is I like
to
start with a kind of a reach for the sky
kind of stretch.
And you just want to maintain really just
a deep breathing throughout all of this.
You want a big inhale [SOUND] and then
exhale, big exhale and
then just continue to keep breathing and
reach as high as you can with your arms
and point your fingers,
everything, as high as you can above your
head.
Continue to be, to take deep breaths.
And then just slowly bring your hands
down.
Just try to, and while you're bringing
your, your,
your hands down kind of like a clock,
you're, again, you're still reaching,
stretching, you know, as far as you can,
like this.
[SOUND] And then you could do another one
of those.
Right?
And then from there, as I, as I come down,
I come down into something where I can
stretch my back and my and my hamstrings.
So first, I, I just kind of bend, bend
over and, and from, from the hips here.
And, and I try to keep my knees locked a
little bit, for a little bit.
So I can stretch my hamstrings and you
know,
depending on your flexibility, you know,
some people can, when you get
pretty good at this you can actually have
your palms flat on the floor.
But basically you try to keep your knees
straight and
give yourself a pretty healthy hamstring
stretch and continue to breathe deeply.
[NOISE] And then from there, I bend my
knees and
I shift the focus of my stretch now to my
lower back.
So my lower back is getting, is a good
stretch here and
at this point I try to imagine that I'm
actually being suspended from
the ceiling with a wire, like, by a wire
that's coming from the ceiling.
And is attached to my lower back so that
I'm just hanging.
Kind of just hanging from the ceiling like
this, you know?
And you can, with this stretch, if you're
really keeping relaxed and
breathing deeply, with each exhale [NOISE]
you should feel your
arms actually your hands get lower and
lower towards the floor.
And it's just a nice way to stretch out
the lower back.
You'll also feel your neck getting
stretched, which is really important.
Just the weight of your head alone, being
suspended like this,
it will give it a very nice stretch.
And just bend your knees slightly to allow
the shift of focus to these areas.
You'll even notice your shoulder blades
and
parts of your upper back as gravity is
pulling your arms down to the floor.
You will notice that they get a nice
stretch as well.
And then from there, I just roll myself
up slowly, like a Fruit Roll-Up.
[SOUND] I try to stretch all the way,
like from the lower back to the middle of
the back to the upper back,
and feeling the back of my neck.
Ex, extended as I come all the way up.
So, you, you know, do those as slowly as
you can, it's really healthy to do that.
You always wanna be breathing deeply when
you do, do that as well.
At this point, I like to then just stretch
my arms first and
basically getting the flexor group of my,
of my forearm and the extensor group of my
forearm stretched out for both hands.
So how I do that is I extend my arm.
Out like this.
Lock, lock your elbow because that
improves the the quality of the stretch.
And then with your, starting with your
left arm.
And then with your right arm, just gently
take
your fingers and pull back only until you
feel the stretch.
You don't, you don't, it's not necessary
to pump the stretch like this or for
you to really yank, you know, far on it.
All you need to feel is those muscles
being lengthened.
You're just trying to lengthen them
because they get shortened again,
just like any kind of physical activity in
athletics,
those muscles get shortened over the
course of many hours of practicing.
So, so what I'm do is I'm gently pulling
them,
my elbow is locked and then I just try to
let go of the muscles.
And you'll start to feel that with each
deep breath,
you'll be able to even pull your fingers a
little bit further back.
But again, it's not necessary to get like
a, you know, a killer stretch in there,
just enough to feel it.
And then if you rotate, if you can rotate
from your shoulder joint and you'll,
you'll see this as the, the, the the elbow
here where where your elbow bends.
If you can point that up to the ceiling,
you will center the stretch more towards
your pinkie the pinkie side of your hand.
And then, again, now if you conversely, if
you turn that part of
the elbow where your elbow opens downward
in a rotation like this.
Like that down towards the floor, you will
feel the stretch in your flexor group
on the thumb side of the hand and that
kind of covers covers everything there.
And then, of course, repeat with the right
arm.
And then, don't forget your extensor
muscles,
the muscles on the other side of your arm
too.
So once again, left arm out forward, elbow
locked and
then you want to just make a loose fist
with your left hand.
Your right hand you take this and go
around and then just, again,
gently pull only till you feel the
stretch.
Your elbow has to be locked in order to
really feel it effectively.
And you know, just pull until you feel it.
And once again, that principle of the
shoulder joint being able to
rotate your arm like this, up and then
down.
Or you can think of it as left to right.
With and
you can see that with the point, this part
of your arm where the elbow bends.
If you can rotate it left so that, that
the opening points to the ceiling,
you will feel the extensor group stretch
favoring the thumb side of the hand.
And then rotating down, you just go the
opposite direction,
or you rotate the arm right with your
elbow still locked.
You will feel the extensor group stretch
but favoring the pinky side of the hand,
and that's how you can really get a really
thorough stretch.
Again remember that you always have to,
it's really effective if you're breathing
deeply throughout the whole thing.
I can't breathe deeply right now because
I'm talking to you.
[LAUGH] So then, then it just comes to the
fingers, and
again, lightly, very lightly, especially,
be especially careful with the fingers you
can just kind of gently pull back.
And again, if you kind of pull to the
right or the left after you've done some,
some stretching here, you can get kind of
different areas of those,
all those tiny little muscle groups in
there.
So you could do that with the fingers, the
thumb, and, and also,
I also do this with my right hand fingers
as well.
Because with all that alternation, there
gets,
there's a lot of muscle build up in there.
So it's good, those muscles, all those
tiny muscles in there get shortened.
And this is a nice way to lengthen them.
And even just some self, kind of,
massage of the muscles in the center of
the hand and, and even the fingers.
Like this is also very healthy to do.
Lastly, the thumb.
The thumb is a little tougher to stretch,
because there's, you know,
quite a lot of muscles in there.
For your thumb, and, and we get, this gets
really tired and really built up too,
because you're doing a lot of, you know,
bar chords and that, that thumb is acting
as the counterbalance for the fingers.
So even if you're being super relaxed with
your thumb, it's still going to,
those muscles are still going to get
shortened.
So, to stretch the left hand thumb, open
your palm,
then take your right hand, and with your
index, middle, and
ring finger, put the tips of them behind
this joint, the big joint here.
The, the, the large joint of the thumb.
And then take the tip of your thumb and
place that in the center of your right
hand palm so
that, so you're creating this kind of
thing here.
And you want these fingertips on that
opposite side, the other side,
the extensor side of that joint to help
sort of, to help protect it, so
you're not just mashing your, your, that
in to that joint.
And then you can see that, you can expose,
you'll see the, like the, the the skin
gets stretched out there and
you can even see some of the muscle groups
out there as you stretch them.
And again, if I go to the left, I'll
stretch certain groups.
If I go center, that stretches certain
groups.
And then maybe I kind of push over to the
right and I get this group here.
So, you're trying to stretch out all
these, these, these complex
muscle groups here in that left hand thumb
and the right hand thumb as well.
And also it's not a bad to do a little
messaging of those muscles in
the between the, the left hand thumb and
forefinger especially because
there's a lot of them in there and they
really do get a workout from practicing.
So those are some some quick easy
stretches.
They, you know, they should take you no
more than about 15 minutes to do every day
before you practice as a warm up and part
of your just part of your warm up routine.
You can also do them in between practice
sessions.
And then after your last practice session
of the day
you can use them as a kind of a cool down.
And they really help keep your muscles
healthy,
and I hope you enjoy doing those
stretches.
Thank you.
[MUSIC]