To keep your muscles from getting too tight, or developing painful back problems or repetitive stress injuries, bassists should always take frequent breaks during their practice sessions and stretch often. Here’s what I usually do:
- While standing, bend at the waist and let your arms dangle down. Rotate arms in opposite directions, as if you were drawing circles on the floor. Let the shoulder blades separate as much as possible so that your arm and upper back muscles can stretch and get some oxygen.
- Roll your head around like a limp piece of asparagus.
- If I feel any pain at all, it is usually going to be in my left shoulder. Sit in a chair, place your right hand palm down underneath your butt, then take your right hand over your head and gently pull your head to the right and forward just a bit. This will stretch the muscles that connect your upper back and shoulder and run up the back side of your neck. Careful with this one. Don’t twist your head until you’ve returned it to a normal position or you could get a strain.
And as always, correct posture and good technique are critical during practice as well as when just sitting for long periods behind a desk, in order to avoid back, arm, and shoulder problems.
Due to the schedule between work and the kids, I have almost no time to get outside and exercise. But I’ve found that I can at least practice my double bass and get some cardio exercise right here at home…