Is Playing Guitar a Workout?

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Playing the guitar can be a stimulating hobby. You spend hours learning the keys and practicing different songs and tunes. If your hobby is cutting into your gym time you may be wondering whether your practice session qualifies as a workout or not.

Playing the guitar can be considered a workout as it exercises your arms, hands and fingers. If you play guitar for an extended period of time you can burn a significant number of calories. You approximately burn 420 calories by playing the guitar for 3 hours while sitting.

You’re probably wondering how playing the guitar can actually be considered exercise. Read on as we discuss how many calories you’ll burn while playing the guitar and even other benefits of playing the guitar.

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Is Playing Guitar a Workout?
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How Many Calories Do You Burn While Playing the Guitar?

Although it may not be your typical idea of exercise, playing the guitar can be quite a workout. The number of calories you burn while practicing your hobby may differ depending on your position and movement as well as your body weight.

If you play the guitar while sitting you will burn around 140 calories. Although this may seem like a small amount, playing for an extended period of time can burn a significant amount of calories. For example, if you play for 3 hours you can burn around 420 calories. If you combine this with a healthy diet, you can stay in good shape without leaving your guitar.

Playing the guitar while standing up will (obviously) burn more calories. The number of calories you burn almost doubles when you start playing while standing.

The table below shows how many calories are burned for different body weights if they play the guitar for an hour while standing. 

Body Weight (lbs)Calories Burned Per Hour
125170 kcal
150204 kcal
175238 kcal
200272 kcal
225306 kcal


If you want to lose weight, playing the guitar while standing can be an effective way for you to hit your weight loss goals without ever having to go to the gym. 

If you want to maximize the calories you’re burning you can add movement to your guitar practice. Moving around while playing can help you burn even more calories and can be an invigorating and fast-paced workout.

7 Health Benefits of Playing the Guitar

  1. Improves Your Memory

One of the top health benefits of playing the guitar is its positive effect on your memory. Many studies show increased activity in the memory centers of the brain, leading to an improvement in memory over time.

Memorizing the different chords and patterns on your guitar is a good workout for your brain. Playing the guitar helps keep your memory sharp and there is less decline in memory power as you age. 

  1. Boosts Your Concentration

Playing the guitar is shown to have brain-boosting effects and can have a huge impact on your concentration levels. Playing the guitar regularly requires a lot of concentration and can expand your attention span. 

With practice, you learn how to focus on one task and this boosted concentration can even help you out in other areas of your life.

  1. Improves Your Hand-Eye Coordination

Playing the guitar requires you to read sheet music and recreate those patterns and chords on your instrument. This requires immense hand-eye coordination. As you practice the guitar more your hand-eye coordination will improve and you will be able to recreate those patterns faster and with fewer mistakes

  1. Strengthens Your Arms

Playing the guitar is quite a physical workout. You have to hold a (somewhat heavy) guitar and play on it. At first, playing the guitar might even leave you with sore arms due to the unfamiliar weight and movements.

As you play more, your arm muscles will strengthen and be able to support the weight easily. Your wrist and fingers will also become more flexible and strong.

  1. Relieves Your Stress

Playing guitar can release dopamine in your body. This can help you relieve stress and be more mentally healthy. 

Studies have shown that guitar playing can help you handle stress better and even reduce trauma, boosting your mental health and wellbeing. 

  1. Improves Your Motor Skills

Playing the guitar requires you to make weird shapes with your hands and softly pluck at the strings. Over time, these motions can allow you to improve your finger dexterity and motor skills. You will be able to play faster and more accurately.

  1. Boosts Your Creativity

If you want to get in touch with your inner artist, playing the guitar might be the right way to go. Regularly playing the guitar can boost your creativity and intellectual abilities. 


Q: Which Musical Instrument Burns the Most Calories?

You can burn the most calories by playing the drums or the trombones. Playing drums burns up to 280 calories and playing the trombone can burn around 240 calories per hour.

Q: How Many Calories Are Burned While Playing the Violin?

If you play the violin for 1 hour you burn approximately 175 calories. This is the equivalent of 2 glasses of wine or half a snickers bar! The number of calories you burn changes depending on how much you weigh.

Q: Is Playing Guitar for 1 Hour a Day Enough?

Playing the guitar for one hour a day can help you improve your skills and get all the added benefits of playing. However, we recommend breaking your session down. Adding breaks in between your playing can help enhance your learning ability.

Final Thoughts

Although playing the guitar might not be a typical workout, it does qualify as a good exercise for your body and your mind. You can always maximize the calories you burn by playing standing up. So now you can get shredded while shredding!


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