A Workout for Photographers
2020 here we go! This year I decided to add a little health routine to my photography schedule. Why? Because photography is a very physical activity. Think about it, lots of running around, caring heavy bags, holding awkward poses while taking images, sitting in front of the computer for hours while editing lots and lots of photos in post-production, etc. If we are not physically prepared for a work day like this, there’s a high risk of pain or even an injury. This week let’s talk about a simple but effective workout for photographers, and how you can prepare yourself for long hours of shooting.
Why do photographers need a workout routine?
Every photographer needs a workout routine to prepare themselves for long hours of shooting, regardless whether it’s a wedding, a bulk of headshot sessions or portfolio shoots with dancers.
Let’s talk about how you can take care of your body as well as prepare yourself for a long photographer’s work day.
DISCLAMER: I’m not a fitness instructor. All the tips and advice written here is from my experience as a professional photographer, dancer and simply a fitness lover who’s been working out for years.
The main areas you should focus on are:
- Endurance, so you are able to hold any position (even the most uncomfortable one) for an extended period of time, for example when you’re filming or anticipating an action to capture it.
- Balance. When you are moving along with your subject or trying to nail a weird angle, that’s where good balance and body awareness help you a lot.
- Core. Leaning forward and shooting from above or a very low angle (when you’re literarily in a crunch) is going to be quite a painful experience if your core isn’t strong.
- Arms. I think this one is the most obvious one: DSLR’s are heavy, especially with a hefty zoom lens on top. Biceps and shoulders get sore so fast if you don’t exercise them.
- Legs. Train your legs to be able to hold squats when shooting from a lower angle.
Yoga is a god’s gift for your core and flexibility, especially if you don’t like strenuous and high intensity workouts. Try stretching all your muscles after a long day of shooting and caring your gear. Hold asanas for balance to strengthen your whole body as well as improve your balance.
And posture! Do a downward-facing dog, a fish, or a plow pose to stretch your back thoroughly after all the hours you spend in front of you computer editing.
If you’re working from home like me and prefer staying in your comfies, check out Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. It’s my favourite channel for simple an easy to follow asanas and yoga flows for any mood or pain in the body (“yoga for back pain”, or hip pain, etc). You can enjoy any yoga sequence in your pyjamas!
Pilates is another low-impact exercise which emphasises core strength and proper postural alignment. It’s also great for your muscle strength and endurance. Compared to yoga, pilates is more focused on strengthening different muscles in your body.
So, if you are stuck choosing between the two, choose yoga if you need more flexibility and balance in your body, or go for pilates if you need to work on your muscle strength.
Another way to improve your endurance is to add a couple of dumbbells to your workout routine. It can be as little as holding a 1kg while doing ‘Russian twists’, or a low-weight and high-reps arm exercises to build muscular endurance, such as bicep curls, lateral raises, shrugs, tricep dips.
Get used to holding weights and you will feel like your camera and camera bag suddenly become lighter and easier to carry around for the whole day.
Photographer, what does your workout look like? If you have any other tips for a better workout for photographers, let me know in the comment section below.