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June 19, 2011 / Angela McCuiston

Exercise: It’s Not A Cure-All

I am passionate about fitness, about exercise and most of all about strength training. I believe in the power of strength training, the benefits it provides and the help it can offer to people. I have seen with my own eyes the empowerment it can give people, how it can change minds, change attitudes, outlooks and even lives.

That beings said, even with all its benefits when performed and progressed properly…

It is not a cure-all.

In my posts, sometimes I get so caught up in talking about training, in how much I love it, and how I know it can help most people, I forget that my audience is not entirely made up of people my age to middle age with no contraindications. That my audience is also targeted at musicians who are in pain, whether from playing their instruments or otherwise, are elderly, have different injuries or conditions which I cannot foresee nor am I liscensed to be able to diagnose.

So let me just say this: while I believe STRONGLY in the power of strength training, if you have any kind of pain, you should not try to self-diagnose yourself and you should seek the help of a qualified medical professional.

My posts are enthusiastic and passionate because I want to educate the musician population about:

  1. their own human anatomy
  2. correcting their body map
  3. how their bodies work to play their instruments
  4. POSSIBLE causes of pain
  5. POSSIBLE stretches and strengthening exercises that may help
  6. the MYTHS surrounding weight training and why musicians especially SHOULD be doing it, perhaps more than other people should.

My posts are not meant to serve to self-diagnose or infer that if you have pain, if you just do some of these strength training exercises, hire a personal trainer or learn how to stretch properly that everything will be better.  In some cases, this may be true, but in some cases, the situations may be more complex than this, which is why you should NEVER self diagnose.  After reading my post on Shoulder Pain you should come away with a broader understanding of your anatomy, and you may also have a better idea of where or even why your pain is where it is, but you should not assume so.  It may be that you know where you feel pain, but the source of your pain is somewhere else (called pain referral) and you trying to self-diagnose ends up hurting you rather than helping you.  Take your new-found knowledge to a medical professional: I listed several at the bottom of that post.

If you have pain, you should see:

  • A general practitioner
  • A physical therapist
  • A massage therapist
  • An ART doc

to name a few.  I seek to give my readers knowledge about how their bodies work and to erradicate the fear that some of them may have about how weight training is something musicians should stay away from.

 

So, if you have seen the doc or PT about your problems, it has been diagnosed and you’ve gotten the go-ahead that weight training would not hurt you, by all means, hire a personal trainer to set up a personalized program for you to help you reach your goals and strengthen your body. When I get  a new client, one of the first things I do is collect information from them including any kind of medical history that may be detrimental to their training and make sure they have an OK from the doc if there are any contraindications.  Any personal trainer you hire should do the same.

So, bear that in mind when reading my posts.  Strength training offers a host of positive benefits that usually far out weigh the negatives, and if the only thing holding you back from the gym is fear (and not disease), then go ahead and conquer that fear.

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