How doing regular cardio makes you a better singer

A Brand New DayIf you’ve been a regular reader of this blog for any length of time you’ve no doubt seen me harping many times on the importance of improving your breathing technique for better singing. In fact Shena did a 3 part blog series dedicated to The fine art of proper breathing, which ended with a blog including 4 powerful exercises for great breath control. There’s no question then, that breathing exercises are an important tool for singers to add to your daily vocal workouts.

However there are a few other exercises that are equally as important and very effective for improving the singer’s over-all lung capacity and breathing. Adding them to your routine will not only make you a more powerful singer but a healthier person. I’m speaking about cardio exercises. Cardio exercises are not vocal exercises but physical exercise like the kind you get from walking, jogging or running, aerobic exercise, skating, cycling, skiing, dancing, swimming, rowing, tennis, basketball; you get the idea.

Cardio is short for Cardiovascular. These are exercises that raise the heart rate and keep it elevated for an extended period of time. Doing cardio regularly improves your breathing because it increases your lung capacity. Now, in my own research I saw a lot of people mentioning “lung capacity  as the main benefit of doing cardio for singers, but hardly anyone went on to explain what that is, exactly.

At first mention you might think that means that you’ll somehow increase the size of your lungs. That’s not really true. As far as I know there are no exercises you can do to actually increase how big your lungs are. So when we talk about lung capacity we’re talking about how much air you actually take into your lungs. Many of us don’t take in nearly as much air as we could or even should, simply because of shallow breathing. And honesly a lot of that comes from simply being out of shape. Regular cardio workouts dramatically improve your breathing by improving your lung capacity. Meaning you actually breathe deeper and fill your lungs with more air naturally.

We already know the endless list of benefits to your heart and overall stamina and energy that cardio workouts cause. But think about the effect having a surplus of energy and stamina can have on your singing. Remember singing is very much a physical thing that can be compared to any athletic event. So a stronger, healthier cardiovascular system has some very powerful benefits for the singer in regards to both performance and breathing.

However it’s important to also point out that for the purpose of improving your breathing for singing, cardio must be added and used along with breathing exercises. And all of it must be used in conjunction with actually practicing singing with better breath control; actual singing, not just holding notes longer, or singing scales. You may, for example, get to a point where you can hold one note for a very long time. But singing an actual phrase has many different vowels as well as fluctuations in pitch and volume. All of these have a very different effect on how much air you need to say, finish a long phrase vs. just holding one note. Even holding one note gets more difficult the higher the note is, because it requires a different amount of support. So in addition to cardio and a regimin of regular breathing exercise, you need to actually practice singing longer phrases. Not taking breaths as often. Things like that.

So don’t misunderstand me here. You should definitely start doing some cardio at least 3 times a week, and it will definitely yield some very noticeable benefits to your breathing. It will give you more stamina and make you a more powerful singer. But the maximum benefits come only if combined with regular singing-specific breathing exercises and actual practice singing longer notes and phrases.

Now go for a walk!

Need help with with your breathing? Running out of air? Screaming for high notes? Most breathing issues are the result of bad technique. Taking vocal lessons dramatically improves your vocal technique, so your breathing improves also!  If you’ve looked before and found lesson to be too expensive for you, take a look at my new home study vocal training course. Vocal Ministry Breakthrough.  .

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17 Responses to How doing regular cardio makes you a better singer

  1. Hasan says:

    Dear RON
    Thank you for your valuable site with excellent information for singers. i am an amateur singer for myself and family,so please help me for singing powerful, and high pitches. thanks again

  2. This is very nice and effective fact shared here .Singing is one kind of exercise .
    This is thought as at the time of taking cardio exercise it inspires to sing and this singing makes one more happier .

  3. patience Zvinongozha says:

    This is awesome as the saying goes “”””exercise makes everything perfect thank you sir we are going somewhere here

  4. alyce says:

    Our bodies are temples. Remembering that helps remind us how important it is to put effort in to its maintenance. Great post!

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  6. schneider chanda says:

    I usualy run out of breath when singing and at times feel like not enough air is going to my brain but with the explanation on cardial execise I feel I will improve in my singing. Thanks a lot God bless you

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  8. Pingback: How doing regular cardio makes you a better singer – The Music … | Church Ministry

  9. Esther says:

    Thank you very much for your detailed explanation, Ron. God bless you.

  10. Julius Sartori says:

    Cardio exercise machine workouts are great and fun for burning excess body fat and building good cardiovascular health. These exercises not only help to burn body fat fast it will also strengthen your heart and lungs and thus reducing your chances of getting high blood pressure, stroke and heart diseases. Regular cardio exercises can also reduce bad cholesterol and raise the level of good cholesterol.*

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  11. Pat Moon says:

    Ron, yes, it makes perfect sense that cardio exercise will contribute to being able to have more air for singing. I am guilty of just singing along and not really thinking about breathing until the few times I am singing a solo, duet, or in a small group. That is when I really have to concentrate on breathing properly. It is also easier to breath properly when I am standing to sing. Unfortunately, quite often I have to play the piano while singing which means I am sitting down… that is when I particularly have trouble with running out of air in the middle of a phrase or not being able to hold a note as long as I should for a smooth ending. Thanks for your informative post.

  12. I learn something new every time I read your blog! This makes total sense… never thought of it before. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Claudia Looi says:

    I’ve learned something new today. Just wondered how in the world did those ‘not too fit’ singers hold their notes so well?

  14. Olga Hermans says:

    Awesome Ron, I love that. I always feel myself running out of breath when I sing along with others in the church… I started walking this summer and I must say, I feel a lot better. Actually walking is good for so many reasons, but now I found another benefit… thanks to you!

  15. Interesting, Ron…I never thought about cardio being important for singers. I do walk every morning…but I’m not sure it has helped with my singing. I think I will stay with the art for now. 🙂

  16. Matthew Reed says:

    Great post Ron. Every field has their own unique ‘exercises’

  17. Interesting point Ron! I never really thought how cardio exercise would benefit a singer but it makes sense. I think that people often underestimate the power of being in good shape and how it can affect all areas of our lives. I know I feel so much better and better about myself when I exercise consistently.

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