Lifting weights can be helpful or hurtful to the voice; it all depends on how and when you do it.
How weight lifting can help? If done right:
- Physical stamina-- just like any other physical workout, it builds strength and endurance, increases blood flow and in general is good for physical health - always good for your voice!
- Mental and emotional well-being-- it releases endorphin and lifts the spirits- makes you feel good, clears the head and increases positive attitude.
- Breath capacity-- it causes deeper breathing, increasing lung capacity and releasing toxins with the exhale. It also increased abdominal muscle tone, which is necessary for breath support.
- Physical appearance-- it increases muscle tone and definition, which can make you feel good and also add a little more viability for a commercial music career.
- It can over-strengthen small muscles in the vocal apparatus, causing a lack of flexibility in the larynx... NOT GOOD for singing!
- It can cause fatigue, compromising breath support and control.
- It can tighten the throat, neck and shoulders-- all of which must be free and flexible for singing and speaking.
- Tightening the glottis while holding the breath can actually damage the vocal aparatus!
Here are some guidelines I find useful to protect the voice when lifting weights:
- Limit the amount of weight you lift! If you push yourself to the limit, you can't help but strain your voice
- DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH!!... Holding your breath is what tightens the glottis and can lead to damage. Instead, exhale as you lift.
- Move your head a bit side-to-side while lifting so as to limit "freezing" the muscles of neck and shoulders.
- Stretch out your muscles before and especially after you lift
- Don't lift weights right before singing... give your throat, neck and shoulders time to relax. The site I mention below suggests you wait at least 12 hours after lifting before you sing.
- Find a personal trainer who trains SINGERS and knows how to protect them.
I invite your comments!