Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 3-8-2021


Porter, E. (2021). Isometric Exercises and Stretching Warm-up Program for University String Musicians: An Intervention Study. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Emma Porter 2021.


In this study, the purpose of this investigation was to find the effects of reducing pain through combining isometric and stretching warm-up exercises for stringed instrument musicians. In Lee’s et al. (2013) study, it showed that about 75 % of musicians have work-related musculoskeletal disorders and experience pain because of playing. In this study, they also saw that string players have the highest prevalence of both musculoskeletal disorders and pain while playing (Lee et al., 2013). In Nawrocka’s et al. (2014) journal article, the study showed the correlation of more pain in musicians that did not meet the recommended criteria for physical activity. This information shows that musicians experience pain, and physical activity may be a solution to decreasing the pain the musicians experience during playing their instrument. For the current investigation, an 8-week isometric exercise and stretching program was given to participants as a warm up program to do before playing their stringed instrument. A total of 19 participants were randomly assigned to an experimental group (10 participants) and a control group (9 participants). The experimental group participated in the exercise and stretching warmup program. The control group did not participate in the program but was used to isolate the effect of the independent variable. They both took pre and post-exercise intervention questionnaires to determine information such as age, sex, dominant hand, the instrument they played, music group participation, how much they practiced, their practicing habits for consistent practicing, physical activity level, and anywhere they have felt pain caused by practicing their instrument. This showed any changes the participants had made when participating in the exercise program.

Based on the results of the exercise program, the participants in the experimental group showed a statistically significant decrease (P=0.05) in head and neck pain in self-practice and back pain in large ensemble practice. Other areas like back and hand pain in the self-practice, and head, neck, and shoulder pain in large ensemble practice showed positive trends of decrease in pain within the experimental group compared to the control group. Overall, isometric and stretching exercises in the intervention program were found to reduce pain in different areas such as the head and neck area in self-practice and back pain in large ensembles for string musicians. It is advisable to implement these stretches and exercises not only to decrease discomfort and pain but also to improve their performances.