I was checking some facebook groups the other day and found a lot of posts and comments asking for advice on how to do a proper warmup before practice or before a show.
Most of us Guitarists just noodle around until we're warm enough to play, and that's usually more than enough, but there are some really good warm up exercises that can also help you with your posture and technique.
It's also worth mentioning that stretching before a show or practice is a really good habit. One thing I do regularly is to put my hands together as if I were about to pray and, without separating the palms of my hands, start moving my elbows upwards while moving my hands downwards. That really stretches your forearms, like this:
It's also good to have some sort of system or order to warm up, I like to warm up my picking hand first before I start with the fretboard hand and then I start combining both hands. The way I do it is by going over the Alternate Picking exercises I wrote some time ago (click here to check them out). I play them for about 10-15 minutes before moving on and that's pretty much everything I do to warm up my picking hand.
For the right hand, I start with some stretching exercises. Here's a really good one I borrowed from John Petrucci's books:
The idea is to first press al the strings and check if all the notes sound good (This is NOT a nice-sounding exercise so just check the notes separately to see if you're pressing them correctly, but the exercise itself will sound like a badly played jazz chord). Now alternate the Middle and Ring fingers while still pressing the strings with the Index and the Pinky. Then do the opposite and alternate the Index and Pinky while pressing the strings with the Middle and Ring fingers, then alternate again until you reach the starting position.
This is an amazing warm up exercise and it also really helps if you're having any posture problems. This exercise really forces you improve your posture in order to reach all the notes in an even and controlled way so give it a try!
Here it is:
And it looks like this:
(I pressed the strings a bit too much and stretched them a bit. Try to keep the strings as straight as possible tho)
the next step would be to overreach with your Index and Pinky and play the same again, here's the tab:
And the final step would be to separate your Middle and Ring finger, like so:
All this exercises are to be played the way I showed you with the GIF up there, you only change the distances between your fingers, but the rest is the same.
So, now that both your hands are warm, you can start combining them.
I usually use the Hybrid Picking exercises I wrote some time back for that, so go check that post out! I play these exercises with the fretboard hand exactly as they are written, but alternate between Hybrid Picking and Alternate Picking with my picking hand.
Remember that the goal here is not to get faster, but to warm up and stretch you hands, and, if you want, to focus on synchronizing both of your hands. That means you don't have to play as fast as you can, but rather really concentrate on getting the best possible sound out of each note and really pay attention to your timing. Always practice or warm up with a metronome and focus on being as accurate and smooth as possible with your fingers. Maybe even exaggerate some movements to really learn the movements you need for each exercise and always pay attention to detail.
Yes, you're warming up, but remember that the brain is also a muscle and you also have to warm it up (kinda)...
Anyways, that's it for today, I hope this helps!
Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions in the comments, and don't forget to share and subscribe if you like the content.
Thanks for stopping by!