The plyometric activity as a conditioning to enhance strength and precision of the finger movements in pianists

Sci Rep. 2022 Dec 23;12(1):22267. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-26025-0.

Abstract

Stability of timing and force production in repetitive movements characterizes skillful motor behaviors such as surgery and playing musical instruments. However, even trained individuals such as musicians undergo further extensive training for the improvement of these skills. Previous studies that investigated the lower extremity movements such as jumping and sprinting demonstrated enhancement of the maximum force and rate of force development immediately after the plyometric exercises. However, it remains unknown whether the plyometric exercises enhance the stability of timing and force production of the dexterous finger movements in trained individuals. Here we address this issue by examining the effects of plyometric exercise specialized for finger movements on piano performance. We compared the training-related changes in the piano-key motion and several physiological features of the finger muscles (e.g., electromyography, rate of force development, and muscle temperature) by well-trained pianists. The conditioning demonstrated a decrease of the variation in timing and velocity of successive keystrokes, along with a concomitant increase in the rate of force development of the four fingers, but not the thumb, although there was no change in the finger muscular activities through the activity. By contrast, such a conditioning effect was not evident following a conventional repetitive piano practice. In addition, a significant increase in the forearm muscle temperature was observed specifically through performing the plyometric exercise with the fingers, implying its association with improved performance. These results indicate effectiveness of the plyometric exercises for improvement of strength, precision, and physiological efficiency of the finger movements even in expert pianists, which implicates that ways of practicing play a key role in enhancing experts' expertise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena / physiology
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Humans
  • Motor Skills* / physiology
  • Movement / physiology
  • Music*
  • Thumb