Interval Training For GuitaristsI'm not sure how long interval training has been around, but I recently read an article reporting on research that indicates it is an extremely good program for fitness. I can't even find the link now, but the researchers have come up with an intense daily workout that is supposed to be the best. You do brief, 30 second, exercises interspersed with ten second rest periods. Here are the exercises:
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I've just started doing these every morning replacing my old routine which was based on a martial arts warmup routine. Very demanding! So far I can only get through two-thirds of the exercises.
The reason I bring this up is that I realized after doing this for a couple of days that long ago I developed something similar to maintain and improve my guitar technique. I have limited time to practice so I needed a very concentrated technical routine that would keep me in shape.
Here is what I do:
Left hand finger crossing exercise. This is one that I learned from Pepe Romero. It consists in starting on the 6th string first fret with the first LH finger, then the 2nd LH finger directly below on the first fret 5th string, then the first LH finger on the 4th string first fret, second LH finger on the 3rd string first fret and so on to the first string and returning to the 6th. Then the 2nd and 3rd fingers walk across the fretboard on the second fret and finally the 3rd and 4th fingers on the third fret. Here is what it looks like:
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Then I do some kind of LH independence exercise. Here are some of the possibilities:
Click to enlargeThis example is from my technique book.Next I do some form of scale exercise, either an ordinary three octave scale in different rhythms (slow quarter notes, triplets, dotted, two sixteenths and an eighth, four sixteenths and so on) or a chromatic scale. The version I usually do is triplets (or sextuplets) going back and forth. You can do it on a single string, here is what it looks like on the third string:
Click to enlargeor on all the strings. I usually start on the sixth string and keep going up on each string. On the first, I go all the way to the 19th fret, then return.
Next I do a couple of slur exercises where I hold some notes down while slurring other notes. Here are some examples:Click to enlargeThen I do a right hand rasgueado exercise which is very good for loosening and strengthening the RH. Here are several and I usually just pick one and do it for a minute or two:Click to enlargeNext is another LH exercise. I do this one all the way up to the twelfth fret and back. This is another exercise I learned from Pepe Romero:Click to enlargeFinally I do a right hand exercise for tremolo starting with the reverse, PIMA:
Click to enlargeThis is another excerpt from my technique book. What I mean by "G major in 3rds" is to ascend to the 12th fret with a G major scale in thirds. I usually do this with PIMA, then the flamenco version of tremolo, PIAMI and ending with the conventional tremolo, PAMI.
That's it! It takes me fifteen to twenty minutes to do and keeps my hands in pretty good shape.
Now if all you oboists, pianists, violinists could comment on what you do?