Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2000 02:25:51 -0600 (CST)
From: ('Pops')
Subject: Re: lactic acid - trumpet players' fatigue

Hi Ron;
I didn't respond the last time you asked this because I wanted someone else to answer.

I'm a (ok was) a TKD instructor. I learned a lot about how muscles work and how they grow. I also worked some with a trainer when working on the A-Z book.

And one of my students (a comeback player) was a NCAA track coach.

There have been thousands of studies done on runners concerning endurance and on weightlifters dealing with strength, muscle growth and rest.

Lactic acid basically shuts down the muscle and prevents it from contracting (once the level is high enough).

When a weightlifter does multiple sets he uses a weight that is well below his max. If he is going for his max he only does it 1 time.

Weightlifters and runners feel fatigue after doing a great deal of work for the amount of muscle/strength they already have. It is the same with trumpet players except some players use a great deal of mpc pressure and feel the fatigue faster than you would expect.

If you had done several sets of 350 pounds on the bench press and felt tired then you would (wisely) stop working that muscle group. We all see the possiblity for injury there. After working the chest and arms to exhaustion it takes 72 hours (3 days) for the body to both restore the muscle to normal and grow.  You see as the muscle works out it also breaks down some of the tissue.

We had a SA player with that problem last week and John wisely told him to rest and do 1/2 as much work as he had been. You see folks the CG people see this problem a lot. And they know why it happens. They just won't admit that it is built into the SA book. Johns' post on this validated my complaints about that type of exercise.

What if a bodybuilder doesn't rest 3 days between those workouts to exhaustion? Well he loses strength, endurance and flexibility.

The muscles that makeup the embouchure are of the same type and respond the same to exercise and rest.

The saying rest as long as you play. Works for endurance type playing. ie NOT pushing the muscles to their max compression. However; when it comes to weightlifting that is NOT good enough.

Now we have 3 types of fatigue to deal with.

1. The player who uses minimal mpc pressure and plays a long time in his comfort zone. He has tired the muscle but actually broken down very little muscle fiber. (NO max compressions) In a matter of hours (4-12 depending on how much work was done) he should be ready to go again.  Loosely flapping the lips or pedals would allow him to continue but could lead to stiffness or bruising the next day.

2. The player who uses too much mpc pressure and cuts the blood supply to the lips. That causes lactic acid to be released early because an outside source stopped the bloodflow (NOT the muscle contraction using oxygen faster than it could be delivered). Damage done here is done by excessive mpc pressure and reviving the lips to pin them down again is a bad idea.

3. The player who got tired from doing max lip compressions (playing his highest note over and over). Overworking a muscle and then stressing it to its max. Well bodybuilders often rip a muscle loose. It separates from its ligaments and is NOT useable until after being repaired. I've seen similar things with lip muscles. Some of those people never play again. Some of them take years to regain any strength.
John Julian posted his story to TPIN a couple of years ago. It fits right in here.

If you don't remember it I think OJ has it on his page.

Also a former CG student wrote that it didn't matter what you did with your lips when playing the pedals just get them out anyway you can. That is great advice for teaching multiple embouchures without even trying.

Lastly I often have people add to their range during a first lesson simply by learning how to use their muscles right. How many people added to their range by playing in SA 1 time?

Or tone quality improvements with 1 session in a weightlifting book.

The Schlossberg and Clarke TS are much more likely to help and do NO harm.

A collection of Net Trumpet Lessons.
Information about my 3 books. "The No Nonsense Trumpet From A-Z" , "Trumpet FAQ's"  & "The Next Level"
Best wishes
Clint 'Pops' McLaughlin