Updated: Apr 29, 2020
There is often an unwanted brain connection in untrained singers between contracting our diaphragmatic muscle to regulate breath during singing and tightening of the throat. We can use fitness to break that habit while maintain relaxation.
Every singer should make fitness as much a priority as singing. We are vocal athletes after all. Working out is amazing to teach our body resilience that can easily transfer to singing. The idea is to push our limits while maintaining relaxation of our throat and face. This is extremely important to break away from unwanted tension of the larynx preventing most singers to extend their range and improve projection. Singing and fitness can complement one another wonderfully if executed smartly. Here's how:
1) Incorporate Breathing To Your Fitness Routine
Read my previous blog "3 Exercises To Sing From The Diaphragm" to find out how to breathe correctly for singing. Try doing lip bubbles, rolling an "R" or the snake simultaneously while lifting weights, doing burpees, lunges, push-ups, etc...
Breathe out as you use strength, and breathe in during the out phase of the exercise. For example, during squats, inhale as you are lowering your body. Exhale when pushing yourself up. When lifting weights: exhale. Inhale when lowering your weights. Always send your breath pressure down against your core when using strength. Avoid locking your throat. Focus on an open sensation and relax. No grimace. No unnecessary tension. Smile!
2) Synchronize Your Breath
Do it with your steps, arm movements and so on. If you're into jogging, inhale 4 steps, exhale 4 (adjust to what works for you). If you're into swimming, push yourself to breathe every 4 strokes or may be 6. Adapt your breathing to whatever cardio you're into. This will help you better manage and intuitively plan your breathing during songs as opposed to always trying to catch your breath. Overtime, this may also promote breath endurance. Who doesn't want to hold long notes endlessly?!
3) Actually Sing Your Songs While Exercising
My friend and business partner Jaime Vendera is an adept of this. He frequently talks about the benefits of rehearsing his songs on the treadmill. Cardio is essential for dynamic stage presence or for those incorporating dance to their show. What better way to prepare than actually singing while jogging and jumping rope?
Need more reasons to exercise? Fitness not only causes positive changes to anti-bodies and white blood cells, it can also flush bacteria from our lungs reducing the odds of catching the common cold or the flu. Better body image also contributes to boosting confidence. We all have our insecurities; we can never get too much of that! So get moving and most importantly; get singing!