Does Playing Bass Build Muscle?

Playing bass guitar is no easy task. 

It calls for physical and mental effort. 

Sure enough, the results are worth the time spent. 

On the one hand, you will improve as a musician, which is the ultimate goal. 

On the other hand, you may notice that your body has changed. 

Now you are stronger and have better muscles. 

When did it happen? And how? 

Playing bass guitar does help to build muscle mass. Changes may be noticed after some years of constant effort, but results are bound to occur. The main muscles involved in such development are the ones in the arms, hands, fingers, and even shoulders. 

Fitness and music go hand in hand, and this article will show you why. 

What are the main muscle groups involved in playing bass?

Playing bass guitar requires working certain muscles of your body. 

More specifically, the ones that are in your arms, hands, and fingers. 

For instance, the arm muscles that participate in the playing are forearms, biceps, and triceps. 

Taking into account that bass strings are tougher than guitar strings, then it is no surprise that you’ll work your fingers a lot.

Shoulder muscles are involved as well. 

This is because it is key to play bass in a comfortable posture. Simply look for one that won’t give you back pains after a jamming session. 

Will playing bass help you develop any muscle?

While it might seem impossible, playing bass guitar can actually build your muscles. 

Now, before quitting the gym, read the following. 

Do not expect to notice a full change in your body. 

At least, not as rapidly as you would like it to happen.  

Constant and repeated playing will increase muscle mass, but it’s not the same as a bodybuilding routine. 

Generally, a significant increase in strength tends to take years to be noticed. 

With all that mentioned, expect to see long-term results. 

After all, playing does involve the use of those arm and hand muscles mentioned before. 

The more you work them, the better.  

Do you need strength to play bass?

Unfortunately, a certain amount of strength is required for playing bass.

You don’t have to be a Smack Down wrestler, but you do need a bit of firmness. 

The minimum amount, at least.  

Why should I need strength to play?” you may ask. 

Well, for pressing down the strings against the fret, for example. 

Bass guitar strings are not soft and light at all. 

Also, a bass is a rather big instrument, and you need some stability if you plan to play standing for a long time. 

If you think you are weak and cannot play because of your lack of force, do not despair. 

With practice and dedication, you will gain the strength needed for mastering the bass guitar. 

Luckily, it won’t take as much time as you think it will. 

Can weight training help you improve your bass playing?

Weight lifting will not increase your playing speed nor will make you a more fluid player. 

What weight training can do is improve your fitness and health. 

This will make a difference after long, live performances. You will endure them better. 

Weight training helps you play longer and harder. 

More than that, you won’t notice bigger changes.  

Does playing bass burn any calories?


Playing bass guitar does burn calories

Come to think about it, shouldn’t be a surprise at all. 

Playing an instrument requires effort. The more effort, the more calories one burns.  

The way you play (and under which conditions you play) will make a difference in the number of calories burned. 

For example, playing on a chair for an hour will make you burn 80 calories approximately. 

Playing while on feet, will increase it to 159. 

Finally, playing live performances will demand the biggest use of energy. This will be the result of the player moving a lot (and sometimes even jumping!). 

On live shows, expect to burn 239 calories per hour.  

Why is muscle memory important for bass?

Muscle memory is the capacity of reproducing a particular movement without a conscious effort. This ability is the result of a constant repetition of such movement. 

Playing bass guitar (or any instrument) helps produce muscle memory. 

If you are already a musician, you may have noticed how you tend to play certain chords or sequences of notes without consciously thinking about them. 

That’s muscle memory. 

What’s fascinating about this is that muscle memory is not merely a mind’s matter. 

It also stretches to certain muscle points in the arms. 

Therefore, you are not only expanding your range of motion. You are also building muscle strength!  

All in all, muscle memory increases your capacity to play faster and smarter. 

Tips on how to prepare your body to play bass guitar

Let’s be honest. Most of us don’t warm up before starting playing. 

We want to jump right into action! 

However, doing this is not beneficial for our bodies at all. 

Thus, here are some tips on how to prepare your body before playing. 

First, you should warm-up. 

No. Warming up is not playing or jamming, I’m sorry. 

Warming up means doing some cardiovascular activities: fast-paced walks, jump rope, going up and down on the stairs, etc. 

Do not sweat the small stuff. Simply taking between 5 and 10 minutes is more than enough. 

Second, you ought to take breaks. 

This is not something to do before playing. 

Still, its importance should be taken into account. 

Obsessing with our instruments is wonderful, but a 5-minute rest every 30 minutes is a must for a healthier body. 

Third, you can work on building muscle strength. 

Daily exercise is highly recommended. 

Working on your arm and shoulders muscles can make a difference in the long run. 

Lastly, you have to stretch. 

This task needs to be done after playing. 

Wrist, hands, and front chest have to be stretched as soon as you finish playing. 

That way, you are already preparing yourself for the next time you pick up your bass. 

Somehow, stretching after playing is also getting ready for the consequently time you’ll play. 


Let’s make a quick summary of the main points discussed in this article: 

  • Playing bass develops arm and hand muscles 
  • Weight lifting doesn’t directly affect bass playing 
  • You do need a bit of strength to play bass, but only the minimum (children can play, after all)  
  • Playing bass burns calories  
  • Always do some exercise before and after playing bass guitar 

Hope you have found this information relevant. 

Stay healthy!