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Ep. 51: We’re On The Same Team

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We're On The Same Team


We're On The Same Team


Episode Reference:

You can find more about McKenzie at:

"What's with the war on the weight room??

Medicine, therapy, bodywork, and strength all serve to improve the overall health and wellness of any individual. But for some reason, strength training has become ostracized in modern culture, and we see many people fighting against it!!

In this SPICY episode, we unpack the "war on the weight room" concept, vent a few frustrations, and discuss how ALL elements of wellness work together to lead to better health and optimized performance."

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Ep. 50: Selling Lucrative Artistry with Dr. Brian Witkowski

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Selling Lucrative Artistry with Dr. Brian Witkowski


Selling Lucrative Artistry with Dr. Brian Witkowski


Episode Reference:

You can find more about McKenzie at:

“I’m just a musician, no one is going to pay THAT much!!”

We’ve talked about “lack mindset” before when it comes to music and business, and many professionals are now working to change music culture to eliminate it as a factor. But even so, it can be difficult for many of us to charge “living wage” rates as self-employed musicians! And it is scary when we find ourselves comparing our desired rates to things like colleagues’ rates, mentors’ rates, or worrying about losing current students or clients.

How can you combat these fears and charge what you need to survive? Join us for our chat with “The Lucrative Artist,” Dr. Brian Witkowski, as he discusses how to combat these common issues and reach your full professional potential!

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Ep. 49: Newbie Strength Questions: Is Bodyweight Better?

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Newbie Strength Questions: Is Bodyweight Better?


Newbie Strength Questions: Is Bodyweight Better?


Episode Reference:

You can find more about McKenzie at:

“Should I do Bodyweight, or Lift Weights??”

This is a question we frequently run into when talking to people who are new to (or interested in) fitness. Is a dumbbell better than a push-up? Is an air squat better than a barbell?

If you’re new to fitness, OR if you’re interested in changing up your current routine, tune in to hear the pros and cons of BOTH modalities from two current personal trainers and strength coaches!

Chapelle Prince Sketch:

Iron Vault Strongman Classic: May 7th, 2022

Tallahassee Highland Games Revival (working title): Expected October 2022, more info to come!

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Ep. 48: Comparison is the Thief of Joy

In Podcast by Reinald TabudloLeave a Comment

Comparison is the Thief of Joy


Comparison is the Thief of Joy


Episode Reference:

You can find more about McKenzie at:

How do you look at yourself? Is it full of criticism, or from a growth viewpoint?

In life, it is often easy to look at where others are, where you used to be, or where you want to be, and find yourself spiraling into negativity – EVEN when you’re making progress in reality! Join us this episode as we discuss the best ways to combat the negative mindset and allow yourself to find JOY in where you currently are!

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Ep. 47: Mistakes Musicians Make Part 3 Strength is the Solution

In Podcast by Reinald TabudloLeave a Comment

Ep. 47 Mistakes Musicians Make Part 3: Strength is the Solution


Ep. 47 Mistakes Musicians Make Part 3: Strength is the Solution


Episode Reference:

You can find more about McKenzie at:

“But I never really feel BETTER… just less bad.”

If you’re coming off of a performance-related injury using what are, unfortunately, currently typical methodologies, you may have been told something along the lines of, “Do these exercises 5 days per week so you don’t get hurt again,” and then sent on your way to fend for yourself. But after a while of only getting so-much-better and never fully “right,” you may find yourself wondering what the missing link is and why no one seems to be able to help you!

In our final episode of the “Mistakes Musicians Make” series we discuss strength work as a critical yet often overlooked element of performance wellness AND injury recovery. Join us as we discuss our experiences as coaches, performers, and colleagues on this imperative topic!

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Ep. 46: Mistakes Musicians Make Part 2: Shame, Blame and Ignoring Pain

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Liberating Yourself From Musical Martyrdom


Mistakes Musicians Make Part 2: Shame, Blame and Ignoring Pain


Episode Reference:

You can find more about McKenzie at:

If you get to the point where you're feeling like I have to say yes to this gig because I have to have the money but I hurt... but I have to... Well I hurt but I can't say no - yes you can."

If something isn't working take care of it now.

So many of our pain injuries can be traced back to either ignorance of not knowing what to do, being shamed into feeling like we have to take every gig or that we are shamed and blamed for having the injury in the first place and are just told to "take care of it" with no guidance.

In this episode we cover the myths surrounding shame blame and ignoring pain and what you can do about it as a musician to have a long healthy career

Want that sweet merch Angela is modeling? Click HERE!

"If this message hits home and you would like to be a part of changing the narrative for good, the job security program might be just for you! You can get the details here"

Also, don't forget to check the following links!

Brand Ambassador Page
The Monster Under the Bed - Musicians Focal Dystonia
Defining Your Worth As a Musician

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The 3 Basics of Weightlifting Form – You Don’t Read THIS in Magazines!

In Corrective Exercise, Fitness, personal training by AngelaLeave a Comment

There are really only three basics you need to know when it comes to weightlifting form, but don’t mistake simplicity for easy. If you don’t get your form right, you can expect sub-par results at least and injury at the worst.  Form is under-rated and under-practiced and I’m here to empower you with the knowledge of the basics! Master these three basics and you can walk into any weight room with purpose and without fear of injury.

1. Depress and Retract the Shoulder Blades


For those of you who are not anatomically minded I may have just lost you.

In Llyman’s terms?  Pull your shoulder blades back and down.

What this does is help to activate and engage the lower traps and rhomboids (among other muscles) giving you greater shoulder stability and allowing the muscles that SHOULD be doing the work, to actually do the work, rather than letting other muscles compensate.

Throughout all movements that you do, your shoulder blades should stay back and down.  This means that if you are doing a lat pull down or a pull up, it will feel like you are not letting your arms go out all the way.  You ARE using a full range of motion, but the difference is, you are holding your scapulae in place instead of letting them move about.  This means when you are doing a Romanian Deadlift,  it will be much harder for your upper back to round, because your shoulders are pulled back – this also allows your chest to remain high, which brings me to my next point…

Keep the chest high. To think of it more simply: stick out your chest. ) This may feel incredibly awkward, especially for you ladies, but what you are doing is actively keeping your spine in a neutral position.  Sounds kind of like an oxymoron doesn’t it? When you stick out your chest coupled with depressing and retracting the shoulder blades, what this does it to “brace” your body and hold it in that neutral position, so that whatever stress you are about to put on the body will be put in the right place instead of being transferred to your spine. Speaking of bracing…

2. "Brace" Like someone is about to punch you in the stomach.

Instinctively we gasp and “brace for impact”.

Feel that grab around your middle? That’s your TVA (transverse abdominus) showing up to the party.  This keeps your spine neutral and stable.

The hip joint is not the bone you can feel around the waistband of your pants.  It is lower.  If you move your fingers down your pelvis to the spot where your leg meets your body and forms a crease and you push, you will notice that if you push hard  enough, the joint will move and your rear end will go backwards

Not your low back.  When the hips are used properly as a hinge:

  • There is less tension in the neck
  • There is less excess tension in the back
  • The legs are allowed to hang freely from the body
  • The entire body moves more freely
  • The core muscles are engaged properly
  • The spine is protected
Click HERE to read more.

This video explains everything.
BONUS: watch the video to find out!

Stop Giving This Advice to Musicians

In Uncategorized by AngelaLeave a Comment

You know what really grinds my gears?
Musicians telling each other to just
"rest and stretch"

You’re well meaning, but stretch what? What if what hurts hurts because it’s OVER stretched? (more common than you might think. Rest? Sometimes yes, but if the issue is chronic, rest won’t help and can also make problem worse. PLEASE stop giving this advice because you don’t know!! Watch to see what I mean and what you can and should say to help your fellow musicians!

If you have pain that doesn’t go away with rest, it’s obviously not going to get fixed with MORE rest.

So many times the muscles that hurt are the muscles that are OVER-stretched and weak.

I’ve got programs that deal with this – from instrument specific workouts to 1:1 personal training and even a group coaching program that teaches you how to avoid this issue all together.

Click these options to see more or Book a call with me today and let’s talk about what best meets your needs and if I can help!

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Taking the Pain out of the Piccolo

In Uncategorized by AngelaLeave a Comment

This article was originally published in 2014 and was based off the wildly popular presentation I did with GySgt.(Ret.) Cynthia K. Rugolo of “The President’s Own” Marine Band at the National Flute Association convention in Washington DC in 2015.

Both piccoloists, both in military bands and both invested in musician’s health (I took over her position as chair of the NFA Performance Health Committee in 2018) we came together to give a presentation on preventing injury in piccoists. This article is a hybrid of that handout from the presentation and the subsequent article that followed.  A little back story: Cynthia actually had surgery for cubital tunnel sydnrome due to the piccolo and my third injury was an overuse injury from preparing for a piccolo audition (to get into The President’s Own, where Cynthia was playing, not that I knew that then) detailed below.

Musical injuries seldom have to do with only the weight of the instrument (the piccolo barely weighs a pound) but the posture and the demands it puts on your body in certain positions.  

Due to an upcoming audition, I have been practicing a lot more piccolo lately.  I truly love piccolo, and really enjoy playing it, but like so many have found out, when you get out of school and are in “the real world”, practice time can be at a premium, so skills can get rusty.  Then, when a playing opportunity or audition comes up, we have a tendency to rush back into playing hours a day and our bodies (especially as we get older) just aren’t up to the task.  Increasing your playing time on any instrument is something that should be done gradually.  However, there are times that this is simply unavoidable and there are the ensuing aches and pains to come along with the sudden increase in activity.

The body was meant for movement, it was not meant to hold isometric contractions for long periods of time.  For example, the other day, I got so caught up in my practicing and what I was doing that the first time I looked up to take a real break an hour and a half had gone by!  I tried to put down my right arm and almost had to physically straighten my arm back out.  Needless to say I was quite sore the next few days. To enjoy playing so much that this happens is a blessing and a curse, so in addition to setting an alarm to go off every 30 minutes to remind me to take a break (you may need less time) I have developed some strategies to prepare the body for piccolo practice.

Is piccolo practice different on the body than flute practice? YES! We may hold the instrument to the same side and use the same fingers to press the keys, but just because the instrument is smaller and weighs less, does not mean it can’t pose physical challenges.   A few things I noticed were the development of knots in my forearms.  I saw a sports massage therapist for that and once he had taken care of those issues, I went back to practicing.  The knots appeared elsewhere, namely my biceps, especially the right bicep. 

What I discovered is that through my intense practicing, I had begun to not grip the piccolo, but press very hard with my right thumb, which created a knot by my elbow. I also discovered that playing piccolo, while not being heavy and causing the back pain that extended flute playing can cause, because the right arm is held to the side and contracted so much (and when under intense practicing conditions, you may end up contracting your arm unconsciously, adding to the problem) that the arm ends up staying in contraction for a long period of time.  And some say musicians aren’t athletes!  Tell me, would you do a bicep curl with a dumbbell and hold it up for an hour plus? Of course not, but that’s essentially what you are doing when you don’t take a break from piccolo practice.

Here are some warm up stretches to do when your muscles are tight and pre-practice.  Remember, you only want to hold a static stretch on muscles that are tight.

Step 1: Release the Knots

Find the source of your pain, be it in your forearm, closer to the wrist, elbow, bicep, etc. If you can find a tender area that “rolls” when you move it, you may have found a knot or trigger point.  This can have varying degrees of tenderness, but it represents a muscle that is basically stuck in contraction.  To help the muscle relax, find the most tender spot with your finger, a tennis ball, friend, etc. and press on it.  Hold for 15-30 seconds and the area should start to relax.  If not, move around and see if there is a more tender area nearby.  Many times we think we’re on “the spot” when really, it’s just a millimeter over.  Another note, if you feel tingling, move away from the site a little bit; tingling represents you are pressing on a nerve.  If possible, press the knot WHILE stretching the muscle.  This will also help the muscle relax.  One book I have found incredibly helpful at finding my own “knots” is “The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief” by Claire Davies. A good guide for knowing how hard to press is that on a scale of 1-10 the pain should be about a 7; any higher and you may contract instead of relax. You’ll know it’s ok to move on when the pain is down to a 1-2.

Step 2: Lengthen the relaxed muscle

Your muscle has been in a chronic state of shortness due to being contracted so long.  Now that you have relaxed it, it needs to be stretched back to its normal length, but done gently.  The two I will show you are the forearm stretch and the bicep stretch

Forearm Stretches

You can  do this against a door or wall.  What is important to note about this stretch is that the backs of his hands are not touching the surface (be it a table, door or wall).  Your fingers should point downward and hands should be low enough (if on the wall) to feel a good stretch.  The very back of the hand should not touch because if it does, the stretch is over, you’ve gone as far as you can go.  Leave some space between you and the surface and then lean gently into the stretch.  Breathe deeply as you do so. DO NOT force anything.  As the muscles relax, eventually the back of your hand may touch the surface, at which point the stretch is over.  If it doesn’t, don’t force it.  Make sure to breathe deeply, relax the rest of your body and hold for a minimum of 15-30 seconds.  With older people studies have shown static stretches may take up to a minute to be effective.  Be patient.

a girl doing a wrist stretch
a girl doing a wrist stretch

Bicep Stretch

The second stretch is a forearm stretch that goes the opposite direction.  As you can see, my forearm is brought up in front of me and my hand is curled into a loose fist.  This is very important.  If you curl into a tight fist, that defeats the purpose.  Take your other hand, and place it on top of your loose fist. Begin to bend your loose fist back around and towards your body.  Stop when you feel a stretch and then hold that, breathing deeply until the muscle begins to relax.

This can be done whenever you take a break from piccolo practice, before and after practicing.  As I mentioned before, the bicep can get very tight from being contracted and if you are very focused and intense in your practice, you may have been squeezing unconsciously.  I  have, lately, found many large knots in my bicep muscle because of this.

To do this stretch you will need to stand alongside a wall.  Put the affected arm alongside the wall.  Rotate your hand so that the back or your hand or the side of your hand is against the wall.  If the palm of your hand is against the wall this stretches more of your chest muscles.   To effectively reach the biceps, you must rotate your hand.  If it is tight, believe me, you will feel it! Once in position, turn your body away from the wall and face outward into the room until the desired amount of stretch is felt.  Hold until release is felt.

Step 3: Move the now relaxed and lengthened muscle

This is a pretty easy and self-explanatory step, but now that you have relaxed the muscle that was tight and brought it back to its proper length, you need to move it, so it can “remember” how to move within its proper length.  If any of these muscles have been chronically tight, it has been a long time since they were allowed to function at their full length and must be “retrained” so to speak.  
For the forearms, wrist circles are an easy choice.  These can be done with separate hands, or, I like to lock my fingers together, loosely, and rotate my wrists around.  Wriggle your fingers as well.  Easily.  We are going for less tension here, not more.
For the biceps, arm circles or elbow circles are good as well, just getting the arm flexing and moving gently back and forth will work fine.  

My friend, Dr. Laura Fields, a Doctor of Physical Therapy (and a flutist!) has a great series of videos on how to fix your own pain.  This video shows some other good options for the forearm, elbow and wrist.  If you want to check out her website for videos on other areas of the body (shoulder and neck are good too!) Her website is: SpineCareFitness

If you liked this article, found it helpful, or have more questions, I would love to hear from you! For more great articles and information visit my website: MusicStrong and friend me on Facebook! I hope to hear from you soon!

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Top 10 FitnessGifts for musicians in 2022

In Uncategorized by Reinald TabudloLeave a Comment

Merry Christmas! Hard to believe it’s here, isn’t it? While you’re out doing your Christmas shopping, admit it, occasionally you buy your gifts with an ulterior motive. Sometimes you buy your husband a gift certificate to Netflix, a restaurant or the movies…because you know you will benefit from it, too. Well, fitness gifts can have that reputation, too. In fact, if you gave a person you love a gift certificate for personal training, even though they say they want to get in shape, isn’t it usually given to the spouse or loved one that you really wish would get healthy/lose fat/insert ulterior motive here? Of course you do!

Whether you have ulterior motives, you are looking for good gifts to help the ones you love feel better, or you’re just looking for a good deal for yourself for the Christmas and heck, why not treat yourself? Isn’t one of the best gifts you can give your spouse is taking care of your health? That said, I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 fitness gifts for this year.

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTJKNvehHHyQRI 2ESIY4lSFy

Foam Roller

If by now, you don’t know why I love foam rollers, you obviously haven’t been reading many of my posts?  Why give yourself or someone you love the gift of a 1-time massage when you can give the gift of daily self-massage?  Foam rollers provide just that.  They break up adhesions, release trigger points, increase mobility and circulation and just feel GOOD!


From Lee Burton, PhD, ATC, CSCS

“Using sticks and foam rolls can be a great way to prepare your body for a more dynamic warm-up or movement prep activity.  These can provide an increase in blood flow or create more extensibility in the tissue which will allow for more effective mobility and flexibility work.  These two pieces of equipment also play an integral role in recovery after a workout to help alleviate soreness, trigger points, or tightness in tissue.  Sticks will provide more isolated pressure over a specific area of a muscle which may be sore due to a trigger point.  Foam rolls provide general pressure which will help increase blood flow, assisting in alleviating generalized soreness after a workout.  Both are self-help techniques which should be part of a both the warm-up and recovery phases of training.”

Arm Aid

The only self-care therapy tool specifically designed for relieving a range of problems in the entire arm including hands and elbows. Fundamentally, the Armaid is a lever that lets you effectively apply the trigger point therapy technique. It can help you prevent and recover from maladies such as Tennis Elbow, Golfers Elbow, Tendinitis, and De Quervain’s syndrome.

So, how does it work? The Armaid has three basic parts: A non-skid base, a large arm with a stationary permanent roller, and an adjustable small arm that holds the interchangeable therapy roller attachments. The non-skid base stabilizes the tool, usually on your leg, but could be on a tabletop, wall, or any flat surface. The large arm comfortably supports the muscle you are working on during therapy. The smaller, adjustable arm holds the therapy roller, which is the real workhorse for applying trigger point therapy.

With the Armaid you’ll be building a committed relationship to recovery. So don’t rush your therapy – start slow and listen for feedback from your body.

The Musician’s Essential Exercises (ebook)

Musicians are athletes, but we’re different – you don’t want a workout for just everyone, and how do you know what’s appropriate to you?
This ebook covers the Basics!

  •     What equipment you really need
  •     Proper form
  •     Corrective exercises to prevent injury
  •     The exercises you MOST need as a musician
  •     3 full workouts putting it all together


  •     How to pick a foam roller and how to use it
  •     The best way to release tight neck, forearm and upper body muscles
  •    What your core muscles are and how to effectively strengthen them for increased playing longevity
  •     The Stretches you really need before, during and after a playing or workout session
  •     3 workouts to do pre-post playing and in the gym using only your body weight
  •     Tour bus/on the road routine

Gymboss Interval Timer

I first found out about this little guy through Martin Berkhan on his Leangains site.  Why do I like it and what is it for?  We all know intervals suck and it’s super easy to take longer than necessary to rest.  Sticking to prescribed rest times in a program (besides tempo) is one of the hardest things to do.  The Gym Boss Timer will beep out your intervals for you after you set them and since it keeps going, you have no excuse not to keep going, too!  Much better than a stopwatch because this is hands free.  You set it and go.


  • Makes workouts easier to plan and execute with more consistency
  • Auto mode repeats intervals; manual mode acts as a countdown timer.
  • 1 or 2 different time intervals can range from 2 seconds to 99 minutes
  • Alarm beeps, vibrates or both in durations of 1, 5 or 10 seconds.

Jawku Muscle Blaster

I use the Jawku Muscle Blaster V2 on myself and my clients CONSTANTLY. It’s perfect for those hard to reach places where a foam roller just won’t do (ahem, upper traps, between the shoulder blades, shoulder, chest, forearms, TFL (pocket muscle), glutes, etc.)  There have been several on the market for awhile with no real competition, this one blows them out of the water with a longer battery life, silent technology, its own carrying case AND it’s the most economical.

Bumper Plates

I know very few gyms who have these and it drives me crazy.  Why? Well for one, I’m a short lady at only 5’3″ and two, I had to completely scrap my deadlift technique and start over from scratch.  What does this mean?  It means that unless I get boxes, and keep stacking them under the plates and bar, I CANNOT practice setting up correctly for a deadlift because the proper deadlift height is the 45 lb. plates.  I’m sorry, but when you’re new to training, you can’t start out with that much weight, and picking the bar up from the floor with 5’s or 10’s is asking for an injury.  Bumper plates allow you to add only 5-10 lbs. per side but they are the same size as 45 lb. plates.  Problem solved. 🙂

Mini Bands,JC Travel Bands and Super Bands

These bands, in my opinion, are indispensable for several different reasons.  First off, bands are the easiest and most portable workout equipment you can use.They fold up into just about any suitcase, backpack, gig bag, you name it and can you say that about a dumbbell?  Even if you don’t belong to a gym or are travelling and can’t get in your normal workout, you can come pretty close to it with bands.  Here are my favorites for what to do with each:

  • Mini bands:
    wrap around ankles for lateral band walks for glute activation, place around knees when squatting or pressing as tactile cue to keep knees out
  • JC Travel Bands: just as good as the full-length version but smaller and easier to take when traveling. Favorite feature?  The loop in the middle with the knot at the end.  Perfect for shutting in a door or wrapping around a door knob to do rows, pull downs, face pulls, even  bicep curls.
  • Super bands:
    Best way to improve your pullups: band-assisted pullups.  Also great for x-band walks, partner rows, band-resisted squats, RDL’s and even pushups.
Covid Comeback Challenge Are you ready to take your life back? Ready to have the last painful playing session or injury REALLY be your last? Regain not just your strength but be stronger than ever, able to play any gig, concert, session or tour with confidence What Can You Expect to Gain?
  • Ability to play your instrument longer without pain and soreness
  • Increased endurance and stamina on stage
  • Increased breathing capacity and breath endurance
  • Lowered resting heart rate / increased cardiovascular health
  • Increased lean body mass
  • Increased confidence
  • Increased creativity
  • Bolstered mood and positive outlook
  • Deeper quality sleep
  • Less inflammation
  • Increased energy