Does Playing Guitar Build Muscle?

Check out our free gear Marketplace!

We have a limited amount of time in this life. 

Sometimes, we wish to do everything, but reality feels like a bucket of cold ice poured into our faces by Ozzy Osbourne. 

We realize that we can do anything, but not everything. 

So, when the time to decide between hitting the gym or becoming an expert with the guitar arrives, the decision could be too hard to take. 

I mean, c’mon. I want to look good AND play well. 

Can’t I do both? 

Well. The truth is, you can! 

Believe it or not, playing guitar is a way of doing exercise… Well, kind of… 

Playing guitar builds muscle. The difference might be not too noticeable, but one can expect long-term achievements. What’s more, playing guitar also burns calories and provides many benefits to the brain. However, it isn’t nearly as effective as proper fitness or muscle training, obviously.

Naturally, there are more benefits that you’ll gain from playing guitar. 

Let’s analyze them thoroughly, so you get some motivation to go pick up that old guitar once again. Not only you’ll be gaining playing skills, but muscles as well (and muscle memory!!). 

Will playing guitar help you develop any muscles?

Hey! So you say you don’t have time for the gym. 

Or was it that you just don’t want to try it out at all? 

It’s okay, exercising can be quite a hassle sometimes. Better to stay at home and play guitar all day. 

Join GearAficionado Market
Chords
Chords

Or maybe playing League of Legends instead? 

Anyway, here’s the thing. Playing guitar does indeed build muscle! 

Yes, it does. So now you don’t need to worry about not doing exercise, cause in fact, you’ll be doing it, and without leaving your house. 

Now, all things clear, playing guitar won’t build you a robust, athletic body. 

The truth is, you might barely notice changes at all, at least at first sight. In other words, you may gain more muscle, but you’ll notice them in the long run. 

Although playing guitar exercises certain areas of your body, there’s a significant difference between lifting weight and playing an instrument. 

The latter, of course, won’t be as effective as going to the gym three times a week and doing your routine for an hour.

But a fact is a fact, and playing guitar will build muscle in some areas of your body. 

What are the muscles involved in guitar playing? 

When playing guitar, certain muscles will exert effort. 

As you might have expected, these muscles are in the area of your fingers, hands, arms, forearms, wrists, and even shoulders. 

Buy and sell music gear for free on Gear Aficionado Market!

To be more precise, the muscles that will work are the triceps, biceps, and forearms. 

Since the guitar is played with your fingers, you can expect a significant increase in your forearm muscles. This is because the movement of the fingers stems from the forearm. 

What’s more, playing guitar not only helps you build muscle but also helps you gain flexibility in muscle response. As a result, other parts of the body such as tendons, joints, bones, and ligaments will perform harmoniously. 

Can you get gains in your muscles by just playing guitar?

Once again, you might find that playing guitar increases your muscle mass. 

Nonetheless, we still need to point out that more than gaining mass, you’ll increase both flexibility and strength. 

In the end, this will make you a better guitarist. 

After all, flexibility is pivotal for an increase in playing skills. 

Also, consider that the amount of muscle that you’ll gain drastically consists on the amount of time you invest in the instrument. So there you go, another reason not to stop practicing. 

Are there any benefits in guitar playing from having strong muscles?

Having strong muscles does not make a noticeable difference at the time of playing guitar. You won’t play faster or better. 

This is a good thing because it means that anyone can learn to play guitar, no matter how skinny you are. 

Remember, though, that healthier muscles mean more flexibility. So, we could conclude that having strong muscles does help you with your playing flexibility in the end, right? 

Well, not really. If you have a condition that interferes with your muscles, then sure, maybe you’ll lack flexibility and, as a result, you won’t “play better.” 

However, this is a rare case, and not having strong muscles is not a synonym for having a condition. 

What we’re trying to say here is that flexibility has to do more with good playing skills than with strong muscles. 

It’s always a matter of practicing. Keep practicing for hours, days, weeks, months, and years. 

The more time you invest in playing an instrument, the better you’ll get at it, despite your amount of muscles or lack of them. 

Now, there’s another side to this coin. Muscles could actually help you play better, but because of a different reason. 

It has nothing to do with playing skills, but with resistance. 

Listen. Here we’ll share a little secret with you. 

Doing exercise makes you a stronger person! 

Yes, I know. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? 

Who would have thought that a healthy habit makes you a healthier person? 

Anyway, having strong muscles means that you’re a healthy human being (or it means that you take steroids, in which case, you wouldn’t be a healthy person at all). 

As a consequence, you can expect to endure music concerts longer than other people. 

If you’re not convinced, just picture the following scenario. 

You are a professional guitarist. You play in your own band or are part of the band of a relevant artist. 

Now, you live that old cliché Rockstar life. Your drink, sleep too little, and who knows what else you indulge yourself in. 

“Hey!” you say. “If it worked for Mötley Crüe and Aerosmith, then it works for me.” 

But all of a sudden, surprise! You cannot stand life on the road because your body is weak. 

You end up exhausted, and the singer kicks you out of the band because a weak guitarist serves no purpose. 

What’s the moral of the lesson here? That having muscles (or a healthy body) is beneficial for standing long live performances. 

Sure, if both your mind and body are strong enough, then you’ll go through live performances with almost no problem at all. Logically, this will lead you to play better. 

Other than that, having muscles won’t increase your chances of becoming the next guitar hero. 

Is guitar a good exercise?

Next time your mother asks you to throw away that guitar and go out to do some exercise, make her read this article. 

Hello, someone’s mother! Did you know that your son or daughter is actually exercising when he or she is playing guitar? 

Now go and leave him/her alone! 

First of all, playing guitar is a form of exercising your brain. It sharpens your mind, reduces stress, and builds more brainpower. 

But even if you’re not satisfied with the many benefits regarding the mind, here’s what you need to understand about the body benefits of playing guitar. 

Playing guitar helps you with your cardiovascular system, lowering heart rate and dropping blood pressure. 

Let’s not forget, that it also burns calories! 

Does playing guitar help you burn calories? 

Yes, playing guitar is good exercise for losing some weight and burning calories. 

This is a bit obvious after all. To burn calories, you need to exert some effort one way or another. 

Playing either bass or electric guitar is undoubtedly a form of making effort. 

However, the way in which you play will also play a role in how many calories you burn. 

For instance, playing while sitting on a chair can make you burn 80 calories in an hour. On the other hand, playing while standing up can help you burn 159 calories approximately

Lastly, when playing in live performances, you can expect to burn between 230 and 240 calories. This number will be affected by the amount of effort the musician exerts. 

That is to say that the more you move, run, and jump, the more calories you’ll burn while playing.