How to warm up before playing

Hi there, this is a question I’ve been asking my self for some time.

How do you get ready before playing?. How do you warm up, do some stretching and such, before a productive practice session? (Or performance)

Since now (module 13), I’ve been just following Justin routine. But when I started to tweak it a bit I realized I wasn’t doing any warm up, and some chords and scales are forcing my fingers. So I’m sure I could use some exercise to avoid injuries.

I’m looking forward your tips.

Thank you!

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A good warm up is just playing a few easy chords, perhaps a scale I know very well a few times starting with a default bpm and hitting once every beat, then twice and then four times. After that I am pretty much good to go :slight_smile:

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For me, depends what I’m doing.

If just noodling or playing easy songs I’ll do a few chords and riffs and then go.

If I’m going to do a proper practice session I do scales with a metronome for a couple of minutes, then a few minutes of finger gym then refresh some OMC or PFC for whatever I’m trying to get faster at. But that’s the routine right now and I’ve changed it a lot.

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Hi Edgar,

Stretching in the literal sense of the word can always be a bit dangerous before you start “exercising” stretching cold muscles to maybe over the max(
you know the max if you go too far) is always careful … so take it easy with some chords and a scale … …in the beginning of your guitar journey a little further on the neck,…more and more widely spaced notes and have a cup of tea with it :wink:(just because that’s nice)
Greetings Rogier

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I start my practice by playing a downtempo song from my repertoire like Wish You Were Here. For me, it’s got the right combination of left and right hand & finger movements to gently get the blood flowing and the tendons used to fretting, strumming and picking.

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I use simple finger picking patterns with a few simple cord changes, or a tune I know well played very slowly. Scales are good for this as well, just slow.

Like any exercise, slow easy warmup for a bit, stretching AFTER you finish.

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Warming up is something I struggle with…I often don’t feel (or play) any different after doing warm up exercises.

How do you know if you are doing it properly? Hands feel warmer (hence the name)? Greater dexterity in the fingers?

Can’t say I experience any of these things, so I wonder if I’m either doing it wrong, or I am not perceiving the benefits for some reason.

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I totally notice if I don’t warm up. But only for a few minutes of flailing. The rest of my flailing is then normal.


My problem is that my - always high - FPM (flails per minute) count is about the same whether I warm up or not.

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My goal is to flail in a way that sounds good. Because then it is good.:wink:

A couple of fingers worth of single malt?


I am still at the stage where that is too warm for me. One drink and the fingers of cement turn into fingers of spaghetti.


But you’ll sound great, ps dont record yourself…

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Hi Edgar, my warm up usually starts with some simple open chords followed by Chromatic scales starting at fret 5 upwards using all 4 fingers on each string E to e (well A to a) then go down a fret at a time until I get to fret 1; play to a metronome playing at least 120 bpm (slower at first) I used to be able to get to 200+ bpm when I was younger! It’s a great exercise for a thorough warm up!

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Depends on the length of the practice session but if I plan on playing for over an hour, this gets me going :

Finger stretches away from the guitar for starters. I stretch the span on both hands as wide as possible, shake repeat, the rotate each finger while stretched. Then repeat focusing on finger pairs working on stretching them wider apart. Normally a couple of minutes,

Then I’ll go through all the chords I know working from open chords and their derivatives ie slash and sussed. Then Power Chords alternating 6th and 5th string roots, normally starting at D5 on the 6th working diagonally to the nut then back to G5 on the 5th,

Then all E and A shaped Barre chord grips 10th fret to first and back.

All chords normally the old strum pick strum routine to make sure all is clear. Sounds a lot but maybe takes 5 minutes.

Like Darrell, chromatic 4 fret “scales” from 7th fret E to e to E then back one fret until I get to fret one. This is done slow and focusing on string muting and periodically checking strings above and below the note I am playing.

Then steady major scales linking CAGED patterns of the neck normally starting and finishing with Pattern 1 from 3rd to 15th fret.

Repeat linking minor pent patterns 5th to 17th fret.

After that I have got my bearings, feel fully warmed up and relaxed and ready to start my practice routine. But around 10 minutes in all.

If its just an unplanned pick up session, like yesterday evening, I’ll just do the hand exercises before hand. Ha !! After about 2 weeks of not really playing I jammed for 2 hours plus !! So take what you like from that.

And sometimes I just pick up and play. :crazy_face:

My 2 cents


Hi Toby,
Don’t do that again :grimacing:…I read somewhere that you have been very busy lately…hopefully the peace has returned a bit…


Thanks everyone for replying. And sorry for delaying so much before answering. But I can’t enter the forum every day. The days are too short and some of them I have to chose between the forum and my practice routine. You’re all wonderful, but my guitar wins :grimacing:

I’ve tried and is a good one. I’m not doing any scale though. Just doing a chromatic ascension for using 4 fingers

I didn’t started the finger gym yet. But I never thought it would be suitable for warming up. I’ll keep it in mind. Thanks!

Btw PFC are perfect fast changes. But what is OMC? I forgot :thinking:

Ey Roger. You’re totally right. Stretching is for when we finish. Not for starting :man_bowing:t2:

Oh. Good idea. I could use the 5 min of repertoire for warming up too :+1:

You’re right. As I said to Roger. I knew stretching is for finishing but while writing the post I put all together. My bad. I’ll edit the first post to avoid confusing anyone

Normally before warming up. The things I play at the top of my skills are more sloppier. However the best thing you’ll notice is by no getting any injury for practicing :grin:. At least that is my objective

:joy::joy: best advice ever

Really like your advice, Darrell. Already tried it (at 60 bpm) with @adi_mrok idea of doubling notes per beat😊

Wow. That’s a really complete. But you’re far more advance than I. Since you use exercises or techniques I’ve never heard before :sweat_smile:. I’m still a major pentatonic guy starting to learn major scale pattern 1 at G. No idea how can I translate the scale further down the neck yet :sweat_smile:. However, thanks for sharing. I can borrow some good ideas from here :blush:



Bank what ever you want for the future but there’s nothing challenging there and you will get to the different patterns in time. But I would stress its is all done slowly and methodically, scales and metronome drills form part of practice but not the warm up. Its all about preparation.



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OMC = one minute changes. Basically similar to PFC but without the perfect bit

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Oh, it’s true :person_facepalming:. How could I forget if I’m still doing them :sweat_smile:

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