What are the best guitar warm up exercises for you to practice?
You probably know that all guitar players warm up differently.
The most effective warm up exercises (and the least effective ones) have a few things that they share in common with one another.
For example, ineffective warm up routines:
1. Only get the blood flowing to your hands, but don’t warm up your mind.
2. Waste time and lead to poor practice habits.
3. Are irrelevant to your actual guitar practice items.
So how about effective warm up drills?
They are the complete opposite of bad ones.
Below are five effective tips for developing killer warm ups that really help your playing.
Watch this video to learn how to integrate them into your practice ASAP:
These are the main points:
Guitar Warm Up Tip #1:
This might seem totally obvious, but:
What you warm up with needs to “kill two guitar birds with the same pick.”
In other words:
Find warm up drills that warm up both of your hands, not just one or the other.
Good news is, this is pretty easy (as you learned by watching the video).
But the most effective warmups also use the other four tips in this article.
Guitar Warm Up Tip #2:
Make your warm ups all about the things you play in everyday life.
Warm up using short excerpts of the exercises, licks or songs you practice.
Just look for different ways to make them harder as you are warming up and playing at a slower pace.
Guitar Warm Up Tip #3:
Question: What do you want to avoid as you warm up?
Answer: playing mindlessly just for the sake of doing something. This leads to unproductive practice and the formation of poor playing habits.
How do you prevent this from occurring?
Focus on making your warmup time all about concentrating with everything you’ve got.
Ask yourself this question: “How can I warm up my hands by making something more challenging at a slower speed?”
Here are some cool ideas for some drills you can work on:
Guitar Warm up Tip #4
Warmups aren’t something that are unimportant and should be mostly ignored — they have massive potential to help you improve just like any practice item.
“How can warmups help me get better exactly?”, you might be asking.
Let me explain:
Use warmups to work on some kind of exercise that you know should be working on but often avoid. (Because it’s not fun or seems hard.)
Practice improving your fretboard memorization skills. Get your metronome tempo set and start finding various notes on different strings, while staying in time to the click.
This is great for warming up your brain and your hands — plus it’s something you use all the time whether you know it or not.
Here is another example: choose any scale you are already familiar with and look for sequences within it (see 5:19 in the video to learn how it’s done).
Question: “Wait a minute Tom Hess, in this article you say to warm up using things in my practice schedule! Why should I warm up with things I don’t normally practice?”
Answer: Warm up using what helps you improve. Period.
This frequently means the precise things in your practicing routine… but it may also be:
- drills you used to practice but stopped practicing.
- things you want to practice later (that are not scheduled in your practice time today).
- exercises that you know you should practice, but aren’t practicing for any reason.
Guitar Warm Up Tip #5:
Warm up with exercises that combine multiple skills together at the same time.
For instance: play every note twice during your warm up.
Does it get results? You bet!
Double picking keeps your hands to be in sync together so your fretting hand from losing timing with your picking hand.
Another idea is to create note sequences from your warm up exercise (See the video at 16:25 to learn how.)
Question: “Tom Hess, how much time should I be spending to warm up?”
Answer: You only need to warm up until your hands are ready to play at faster speeds. This may take longer in the winter versus the summer.
Want even more tips for warming up effectively?
Check out this guitar practice video by guitar training expert Mike Philippov:
Now that you understand how to effectively warm up, the next action is to beat the enemy of your guitar technique — excessive tension in your body. Tension makes it extremely difficult to play guitar fast and clean. Study the concepts in this guitar technique resource & learn how to make your playing feel effortless like you never thought possible.
About The Author:
Tom Hess is a guitar teacher online, progressive rock guitarist/composer and a touring musician. He teaches guitar players in his rock guitar lessons online. Go to tomhess.net to get more guitar playing resources and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.