Here in NYC, the temperatures have started creeping up a little, bringing a welcome end to the weeks-long cold snap during which the temperature rarely exceeded freezing and frequently dipped (with wind chills) into the teens.  As Mother Nature warms up in preparation for spring, I thought it would be an appropriate time to discuss how we too can warm ourselves up. . .for exercise and for singing, that is.

In the upcoming series of blog posts, I will divulge my views on the subject of warming up—some of it unorthodox—which evolved over many years of personal experience in the gym and in the practice room.

Some of the questions I will explore here: Why warm up?  When is it necessary?  What can I do to warm up effectively?  Is stretching helpful?  What can I do to warm up for an audition or performance?  How long should my warm-up last?  Are there any warm-up practices best avoided?

I’d love to hear from my readers about the warm-up regimens you have come to rely on and welcome any questions you may have on the current topic.  I invite you to post any of this as a comment to this posting.


  1. Jeff Hall says:

    Hi Michael
    I seem to recall that there was a study published in the New Scientiset about 2 or so years ago that reported the conclusions of a long term study on warming-up for competitive sport. The surprising conclusion was that there was no evidence that warming up helps a sports person perform better!

  2. Nanette says:

    My take on the sport aspect is that you need to get blood moving first, then warm up instead of trying to stretch muscles that don't have good blood flow. In singing, I believe in getting the blood flowing in the whole body, and then loosening up/easing/stretching, especially the back.

  3. Michael Hanko says:

    @Jeff That conclusion surprises me not a bit! Let me know if you have a link to the article.

  4. Michael Hanko says:

    @Nanette Your approach sounds logical. What techniques do you use to warm up for stretching? I usually find that I can warm up by just doing a gentler version of my ultimate activity: lifting light weights before heavier ones, walking, then jogging, before running, etc.

    Wouldn't it be fun if we lived close enough to be workout buddies?

  5. Nanette says:

    I would love that! Right now I am loving my bike, and honestly I don't warm up there – I seem to have the idea that warming up is important if what you do will make you sore, and biking doesn't make me sore…odd.

  6. Michael Hanko says:

    Soreness….now there's an interesting topic for analysis! There seem to be different types: the "good pain" that follows an intense work-out and (at least according to tradition) indicates that muscles are being strengthened and "bad pain" that indicates that you've abused yourself in an injurious manner. (Are these types of pain different in physiology or is it just a matter of degree? I tend to think the former.) Anyway, your comment has me intrigued. . .one more thing to think about at the gym! (With all these interesting available thoughts, I don't understand how people can find the mental space to listen to iPods while they work-out……)

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