Over the past few months, I have been increasingly interested in finding common lifestyle issues amongst my peers in the DJ industry. We’re talking about poor nutrition, dealing stress, and, of course, physical injuries due to the nature of our lifestyle. I’m also a DJ, so I experience a ton of shoulder, neck, and wrist issues. I’m working also with creative people in the industry and every one of them have told me they’re feeling the pain; almost identical symptoms to what I experience. The worst part is that it really limits the enjoyment we all get out of what we do for a living. I figured it’d be worthwhile to get to the root of these problems and present some solutions, so here you go! Here are 3 of my favourite exercises to battle the common problems we face in our industry. But first, I suggest speaking with your doctor before starting up any new fitness routine. Cool? Cool. Here we go…
1 – BODY WEIGHT SQUAT
♦ With a hip-width stance, ensure your back is upright and chest is tall.
♦ Keep the weight on your heels, keep your knees from wobbling in or out, and push your butt back as if you were sitting in a chair and slowly bend at the knees.
♦ Keep your arms out in front of you for balance.
Well, the squat is, in my opinion, the most complex primal movement a human can do, meaning almost all of your body needs to be engaged to pull it off properly. That’s great for a few reasons. One, you’re using more energy, which helps with weight loss. You’re also breaking down tissue, which will come back stronger after rest. Primal movements are also functional. That means when you need to lift something – say a big bass cabinet – you can do it with ease and efficiency. The squat will help the whole body move more effectively, and that’s important for all DJs.
The squat is a relatively safe exercise for anyone unless they have back or knee problems. In that case, talk to your trusted health professional before you start rattling off squats to avoid aggravating your back or knees and possibly injuring yourself further. A couple of safer exercises would be to just stand with your back against a wall and bend at the knees or sit down in a chair and stand up without using your hands.
Start small. I generally recommend two or three sets of 10-20 squats for beginners. Do that a couple of times per week and you’ll be on your way to building up some strength to help you fit into those skinny jeans again, DJ star!
Ensure that you keep your back straight, head up, and that you keep your heels on the ground If you notice your knees starting to cave in towards one another, that could be an issue. If anything hurts – like, sharp pain hurts – stop squatting and contact a doctor.
2 – WALL ANGEL
♦ Standing with your back to a wall, ensure that the crown of your head to your hips are pressed “shirt tight” to the wall by bracing your abs (as if someone was about to punch you in the stomach).
♦ Slowly begin to raise your arms from your side and slide them up the wall above your head, keeping them tight to the wall with the rest of your body.
DJs are notorious for poor posture. Forward head tilt, rolled shoulders — you name it. The nature of our job puts stress on mantaining a proper posture with heavy instruments slung around our necks and shoulders many hours at a time. Physically, that will wear anyone down. The wall angel is a movement that combats this. It helps engages muscles in between your shoulder blades and in your core so that, over time, you are better able to stand up straight. All of this will help you avoid looking like DJ Hunchback of Notre Dame, lol.
If you’re experiencing soreness in the upper back, neck or shoulders, you need to be doing this drill. As long as you don’t have any serious shoulder or neck issues, you’re set.
Again, start small I general,/ recommend two or three sets of 1.20 wall angels for beginners.. that’s a couple of times per week for best results.
If you’re having problems keeping tight to the wall, brace your abs and bend your knees so you slide down the wall a bit until you’re there. If you’re still having problems with the movement, you can always try laying on the floor and doing ‘snow angels; slowly working your way up to the wall. In this case, it’s likely a mobility issue in your shoulders and that’ll just take some time and patience.
♦ Gently look towards the sky while breathing in through your nose.
♦ Upon your exhale, slowly roll your head down and around so that you’re looking at the ground.
♦ Slowly inhale while rolling back to the top.
As long as you’re not prone to dizziness, this is a super effective way to help promote some mobility in an area that is generally very tight amongst DJs. It’ll help to alleviate stress and a majority of the people I work with list tension in their neck and shoulders as a limiting factor to them playing their controllers for as long as they want.