weight training and voice

Share your knowledge or questions about vocal technique: Belting, high notes, power, hoarseness, distortion, support, Curbing, sound color, singers nodules, microphones, vibrato..... DOES NOT HAVE TO BE "COMPLETE VOCAL TECHNIQUE" RELATED - All kinds of vocal technique posts are WELCOME :)

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weight training and voice

Postby slssucks » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:27 am

I just started lifting weights again and my voice is trashed after a session to the point where I'm almost hoarse. Anyone have any tips on voice protection while working out?
I looked around on the internet and didn't find an answer really...
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Postby six20aus » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:37 am

I went through this several months back, started lifting heavy weights again after some time off the gym and within days my voice was completely shot from bench-press and push-ups.

After a lot of reading the general advice I got was - don't.

It can be done if you lift light to medium weights and do not lock the glottis otherwise the tension in that area is just too much and inevitable tension will kill your voice.

Personally, when I work out I always go hard and I know the temptation is to put too much strain on the larynx and so I have given away weights for the moment. I would like to go back to light weights and high reps just to get some definition back...just have to remember to relax and keep breathing and not clench anything in the throat ...
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Postby GuitarLord » Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:31 pm

Hmm, well basically any type of exercise indeed helps your voice because it makes blood runs better through your body which is good for voice... It also helps your immune system which also helps your voice, then it helps your lung capacity, breathing etc etc..

I also know from my own experience that it does only good for me. I do heavy weight lifting 3 times a week in a gym. I do max 100/110kg on a bench press currently (I had to praise myself a little here hehe:) so I guess that's pretty heavy since I'm 87kg :)

Basically, I always sing better after gym then before gym..

Now, it might be that you actually dehydrate yourself which is usually common problem in these situations. When you work out in a gym you loose too much water in your body, which might lead to hoarseness. So what you want to do is drink A LOT of water while you are in the gym, which will help you hydrate properly. I guess that's your problem because workout is usually only good for your health... It might only be bad if you do it unready, meaning if you feel tired before you workout, or you try to work much harder then your body is currently allowing you (which can make overfatigue), but I guess that's not the case because you're just starting again now... ;)

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Postby six20aus » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:47 am

I think this has nothing to do with hydration and everything to do with technique.

GuitarLord when you lift weights are you breathing through the cycle the whole time so that you do not lock down your folds ?

What I learnt is that if you hold your breath, grunt, lock down your throat with your fvf like most people do in order to prepare for heavy lifting then you will cause tension in your larynx and that is what destroys your voice.

I am about to start lifting again but I am going to be much more careful about my technique this time and start out with low weights and see how I go.
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Postby slssucks » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:30 am

Its definintly not dehydration cause I drink a fair amount of water and my voice will be trashed for two days after a hard lifting session.

I looked around the internet for a while and the only useful tip I read was when you are pushing the weight (concentric phase) that you should exhale blowing your cheeks out and holding your lips in an 'oo' as in 'noodle' position. This makes it so your cheeks and lips hold back the air and not your throat, and also is an indicator if you are holding your breath or exhaling it.

I was also thinking about exhaling on both the concentric and eccentric phase, but that might make me vomit.
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Postby Doug » Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:53 pm

Hey guys,

Do be careful. Breathing is an important part of power lifting in general and squats of all sorts.

The voice of course is very important too, but being crushed under 600 lbs of iron because you wanted to make sure not to hurt your voice could be a bad trade-off :wink:

I don't know the right answer to whether valsalva hurts your vocal cords or not, but I will see what I can find in the liturature and will report back.

But either way, lifting is something that requires correct technique to be safe too.

Student Vocalist
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Postby Jadamgo » Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:43 am

If possible, then make sure to continually inhale or exhale whenever you're lifting. At times when you have to have something to bear down against, DON'T constrict the throat to provide that resistance! Keep the throat OPEN, and instead close the mouth. Use the tongue to provide resistance by pressing it tightly against the roof of the mouth. Trust me, the tongue is stronger at holding back air than the larynx is anyway.

If you get tongue tension from doing this, you should talk in an excessively relaxed way, like someone who got a shot of novocaine at the dentist's office and slurs their words. Or, just let the jaw and tongue hang completely slack for a few seconds, and see if that helps.

If you need the resistance to do the weight lifting, fine. But don't use the vocal folds to provide that resistance.
Everything on my posts is speculation or suggestion. I'm NOT a voice teacher -- I'm a voice student.
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