By Matt Pierce
Have you ever seen a celebrity dance and sing through an entire set of songs and wonder just how they are doing it? Beyoncé is a great example of someone with incredible stamina for singing and dancing, but even rock stars like Sebastian Bach used to run around the entire stage while singing incredibly difficult songs. If this has always seemed really impressive to you, but you’ve never really been sure how to reach that level, then I have two words for you: cardio singing. I’ll walk you through a few simple approaches to add to your singing routine that will help you build some serious vocal power and stamina.
Your Entire Body is the Instrument
When it comes to singing, your entire body is the instrument. The two little folds in your larynx may be the components that actually product the sound, but saying that we should only focus on proper cord closure and coordination would be like only focusing on the wheels of the car. Sure, it’s important that you have properly inflated tires with good treads because those are what will be propelling you forward, but there are so many other components working together in sync. Your wheels wouldn’t turn without an engine, right? How about the transmission? Gas pedal? The list goes on and on.
Strengthen the Right Muscles
What is sometimes overlooked in the world of singing is tuning the “engine” that runs your voice. The process of vocalizing starts all the way down in the pelvic region and works its way up to that little bump (larynx) in your neck, which means that the condition of your entire torso is going to affect the way your voice comes out. Using proper breath support, you should feel the muscles just above the groin, in the lower back, sides, and abdominal region all working together. If you want your voice functioning at an optimal level, then it is important to not only spend time practicing vocalizing, but also specifically strengthening all the muscles that support the voice.
Get in Your Cardio Workouts
Any type of exercise is going to be good for improving your voice, whether it’s aerobic or anaerobic. Ideally, exercise should really be a side effect of an active lifestyle. For example, I love riding bikes, and because it’s a big part of my lifestyle, I just happen to get a lot of exercise. It is often more difficult to get consistent exercise just for the sake of working out than it is getting it as a side effect from an activity you love.
With that being said, cardio workouts are typically the best for improving your voice, as they really help expand the lungs and work all the support muscles. Anything that gets you breathing heavy will give you much more vocal stamina and power in the long run. Running or biking both suffice, and swimming is even better because it works out your core the most. If you need any ideas about optimal workouts, feel free to ask me!
Cardio + Singing = Cardio Singing
If you really want to step up your game and reach the level of those respectable rock stars, there’s also one other thing you can do, which is cardio singing. Have you ever tried running on a treadmill or elliptical and singing at the same time? It’s one of the most brutal cardio workouts, but it will get your voice in shape! Just twenty minutes a couple times a week is enough to experience some serious results. Add that onto swimming once a week and you will be surprised with just how much better your voice gets.
Even if you don’t have your own treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike at home and you don’t feel comfortable enough to run around your neighborhood or gym singing, don’t sweat it. As I said before, all exercise is good for your voice. Above all, just have fun and live an active lifestyle (and when you can, add some cardio singing into your routine). Your quality of life will be high, and your voice will thank you for it in return. What more is there to ask for?
If you have any questions or want more singing tips, feel free to connect with me. I’m a professional vocal coach with the tools to help you become the best singer you can be.
I’m Matt Pierce. The best way to describe me is a professionally trained singer and proactive self-learner. My experience has taught me that a strong passion for learning and the right training with the right people trumps all.
To learn more about me or chat about singing best practices, you can contact me on my Savvy page.