Muscle tightness

I do experience some shoulder tightness in my bowing's probably related to poor technique, could also be 80 minutes of white knuckle Northern Ontario driving a day...does anyone else have this problem? Do you have stretches that keep you moving?




  • Hi Peggy, you can and should gently stretch your arm, wrist, and hand, but the most common cause of tightness is "static contraction". Let me explain. When you tense your muscles, you are activating your fast-twitch muscle fibers and expending energy which doesn't find release in mechanical work. For short periods of time, this can be beneficial. However, if you tense your muscles for long periods, they will become sore and stiff. You don't want this to happen.

    The solution? Don't put more energy into the bow than you are getting out of it. Remember, it takes very little effort to draw the bow across the strings. If you find yourself gripping the bow tightly, or otherwise flexing and tensing the muscles in your bow arm beyond that which is required for the natural motion of pulling the bow across the strings, then you need to loosen up.

    The most common source of static contraction is when you make a "stiff pinkie" with your bow arm. Remember, the bow is resting on the strings! You don't need much pinkie pressure at all when you are playing. Consciously loosen up your bow arm as you play. Loosen your grip, loosen your wrist, loosen your elbow, drop your shoulder... How little static contraction can you get by with and still play?

    Once you stop tensing as you play, there will be far less soreness and stiffness, and also far less stretching required!
  • Ahhhh, there is hope! Thanks John, perhaps I should start playing some meditation tunes to relax more ;)
    Now, I have some cabbage to boil down....
  • Haha yes, while you play the G string you must utter the syllable "OM".

    OK, good luck with the relaxation exercises. I'm off to brown some hoecakes!
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