Voila the Viola!

So, we always brag about how this GPP program renders a broad fitness. I continually tell people about things in there life will just become easier. Even things that are not even related to squatting or running will get better, too. One of our athletes has a very specialized job, and it is pretty far from a place with barbells and sandbags. She continually tells more stories about how her training affects her in her day. And, continually the connections she draws between training and music blow my mind. Besides being a mother of three and a homemaker, she is a musician. I asked her to send me a few examples of times that she feels the benefit. She sent me the following, and I didn’t have the heart to change a word. Here it is so you can  try here

1) “lifting weights” has helped me play the viola, which is my profession, as a musician with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (LAPO from here on out). Holding up the viola isn’t easy. It’s like an enormous violin. My colleagues get injured all the time. For many years, until I started working out with Danny, I played hunched-over, which looked bad professionally (it was often remarked upon), and more importantly, felt bad too! Since I’ve been “lifting weights”, my core/back/upper body have become so strong that holding the instrument in the proper form is beyond easy. I’m so in touch with the muscles in those areas that I can adjust for anything in terms of my basic posture as a violist. In fact, I think I probably have the best posture/know more about how the body should be as any violist/musician out there!

2) Sometimes I am required to play for over 60 minutes non-stop. This is not easy. Imagine holding a yoga pose for that long, while concentrating on making a beautiful sound too. Not easy for anybody. But given my strength from “lifting weights”, the basics of holding my arms up in the air for an hour are WAY easier.

3) Danny talks a lot about explosive motions (wall balls, etc). I think about being “explosive” when I am performing ALL THE TIME. Being explosive is compelling, and when I perform, that is very important! I have been able to apply the notion of explosive physical movements to my music-making, and it has opened a whole world of possibilities to me.

4) “lifting weights” has made me stronger–being stronger has made me more confident–being more confident has made me a better musician. I am not exaggerating. Being strong helps me with everything, including trusting myself. So when I make a musical/interprative decision when I am playing/performing, I GO WITH IT, and it is more convincing because I BELIEVE IN IT! The audience can tell!

5) I have inspired my colleagues. Several of the members of my orchestra have remarked upon my physical transformation, and have asked me what I did to achieve it. I recommend “lifting weights” to all my colleagues, no matter what instrument they play. Being strong and confident makes absolutely every aspect of life better. What’s more, “lifting weights” is fun for me, and ultimately relaxes me–it helps clear my head. It is ALWAYS ONE OF THE BEST PARTS OF MY DAY.”

What a cool thing! Who ever would have thought that doing shuttle runs and stone to shoulder would help someone play a stringed instrument more powerfully? This truly is one of my favorite things. What are the parallels that you draw in your life that you have received from your training? Let us know in comments.

Keep after it!



Danny Lesslie


7/3/14 WOD

4 Rounds:
3 Stone-2-Shoulder (AHAP)
25’ Hand Walk (or 30s Hold)

Then, complete the following for time:
800m Run
75 Wall Balls (20/14)
50 Push ups
25 Pull-Ups