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Old 02-05-2009, 11:26 AM   #1
Bradley Krack
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CrossFit for Opera Singers

Hello,

I am trying to convince my wife to start doing CrossFit, but she is an opera singer and her voice teachers all claim that lifting weights will damage her voice.

My questions are:
1. Does anyone know of any medical research on the effects of weight training on the voice?

and

2. Could her workouts be modified to not require lifting anything beyond her own body weight?

Thanks,

Brad
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:45 AM   #2
Tom Fetter
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Re: CrossFit for Opera Singers

I'm a trained classical singer, and sang semi-pro for a few years. I did a fair bit of oratorio work, as well as bit-parts and chorus mostly with some opera companies in Western Canada (Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton) Have taught voice a bit too.

IMO, the issue isn't lifting weights, it's grunting while lifting weights. Forcing air through a tightly clamped throat, in a not-quite-firm-enough Valsalva manouvre is like gravel on the vocal cords. Not grunting is pretty easy though, with anything except truly maximal weights. I wouldn't do truly heavy back squats when I needed my voice in top condition the next day ... but doing typical CF is no biggie.

Notionally, because really good classical technique relies on maximal relaxation in her throat and chest, you'd think that better muscle tone might be a problem. In practice, I've never found it to be an issue.
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:48 AM   #3
Steven Low
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Re: CrossFit for Opera Singers

1. I assume that you aren't in puberty anymore where extra hormonal response may cause changes in the length relationship any of the structures in the larynx. Otherwise, it will be fine -- unless she's on steroids. You'd have to have an absurd about of hormones flowing to change it especially as an adult.

2. You could... but I don't agree with it if just for the reason above.

edit: +what Tom said.. as he's more experienced.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:05 PM   #4
Michael Cooley
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Re: CrossFit for Opera Singers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Fetter View Post
I'm a trained classical singer, and sang semi-pro for a few years. I did a fair bit of oratorio work, as well as bit-parts and chorus mostly with some opera companies in Western Canada (Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton) Have taught voice a bit too.

IMO, the issue isn't lifting weights, it's grunting while lifting weights. Forcing air through a tightly clamped throat, in a not-quite-firm-enough Valsalva manouvre is like gravel on the vocal cords. Not grunting is pretty easy though, with anything except truly maximal weights. I wouldn't do truly heavy back squats when I needed my voice in top condition the next day ... but doing typical CF is no biggie.

Notionally, because really good classical technique relies on maximal relaxation in her throat and chest, you'd think that better muscle tone might be a problem. In practice, I've never found it to be an issue.

Ditto (lyric tenor). Other than not pushing workouts too hard before a recital, etc. (for a variety of reasons), I trained and competed in olympic weightlifting the same time I was training and perfoming as a singer.
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