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07/11/12 Stretching and Exercise for tattooers [66]

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Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by TOC on 05/16/10


I've been thinking of making a DVD consisting of Stretching and exercises to address many of the physical issues that tattooers experience. I have taught Strength and Conditioning seminars and trained professional athletes, as well as having been a competitive fighter so I have a lot of experience in this field.

I've also been tattooing for over 10 years so I know what the daily grind can be like on our bodies. Here's a basic layout of my idea:

1- Dynamic stretching- a routine to be done in the morning aimed at loosening up your body and increasing flexibility to make your day go by easier

2- Shop routines- a few quick stretching routines to do at the shop either during a quick break or in between tattoos. This would focus on the main areas of use like wrists, shoulders, back, neck etc..

3- Evening stretch- This would be a more static routine to stretch out the main muscle groups after a long day.

4-Strength- A few basic routines to focus on building strength in your core and entire body.

5-Posture- Common mistakes in posture while tattooing and how to fix them.

What I need to know is, Is this something you would be interested in and if so are there any specific areas that you'd like to see addressed?



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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by mystiik on 05/16/10


It's a very interesting idea... i know when i was apprenticing my teacher complained about his wrist alot and his back and also complained of hand cramps after a few hours of running his machines... i think anything that helps not be in that boat is a good idea.


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by nate on 05/16/10


i personally would think this type of dvd would be very successful if marketed properly. ive been grinding it out for about 5 years now and deal with the tightness, aches, and pains on a daily basis. ive made conscious efforts to stretch, get more physical excercise, and improve posture but i still deal with this stuff everyday of my life. i think alot of tattooers have alot of problems with their back and would like to see an emphasis on that. healing certain common injuries would be a good topic too. maybe something on a diet that would help as well


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by brass balls on 05/16/10


i like where your trying to go with thiis..is this something you would do in person(convention workshop) or thru a dvd? guy aitchinson gets into this a little bit in his reinventing the tattoo 2nd edition..our physical health as a tattoo artist is an area of our profession that gets over looked a lot..now dont take this the wrong way,but im not sure how much people would be willing to pay..thats something on your end you would need to figure out..but i like your idea!!!! best of luck to ya..


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by max on 05/16/10


yep that sound interesting....in fact I will buy it ahahah my back is kinda fucked up as my wrist and fingers....


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by zaxxon on 05/16/10


Sounds like a great idea. I really do not want to have back problems in the future and would love for the DVD to address methods of prevention. Same goes for the wrists.


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by TOC on 05/16/10


It would be in a DVD format and I would probably include a small booklet that you could keep in your tattoo area as quick reference. The longer dynamic and static routines I would do as a follow along type routine since these would be longer and depending on peoples fitness level, may take some time and explanation.

A lot of this can be used as prevention because it's rare that you'll meet tattooers that have been at it for over 8 or 9 years that aren't starting to have issues with either their back, shoulders, neck or wrists. Small things can make a big difference. For example, I would often get a lot of muscle soreness in the shoulder of the arm that I use for stretching the skin while tattooing. I noticed once I changed the angle of my elbow, all of the tension was released from my shoulder. There are various things like this that I would go over in the "posture" section of the DVD.

I would love to do some stuff on nutrition but the issue is I'm Vegan and most people aren't so that could be a tricky area to navigate. Maybe in the future.

Thanks for the feedback and keep it coming


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by me on 05/16/10


TOC! you are awesome. glad you posted about this.

re: nutrition--why dont you see if you can someone on board who is expert in non-vegan nutrition to do a section on that,while you handle the veg side of things? surely someone out there would be willing to do some pro bono work...? hell, ive been vegan forevs (tho at times have taken some non-vegan supplements in response to certain health probs) and i still know a bunch about non veg nutrition, more than most meat eaters i know...stuff about nutrient levels, which nutrients work with others,recommended protein intake per body mass ht/wt...good animal protein sources vs. shitty ones, good fats vs shitty fats...the cholesterol myth...

basically, it wouldnt be that hard to cover the basics and show diff options people can take to meet their nutrition requirements regardless of the specific diet or sources they choose to get their nutrients from.

re: distribution--you should approach Guy about carrying this on his tattooeducation.com webstore, my guess is he'd be stoked on it and have advice or input of his own.

this is DEFINITELY needed in our industry, which tends to promote a very unhealthy lifestyle that screws us over in the end. i applaud you for taking this on, please go forward with it! if i can help in any way, get at me through email...

and ps the stuff you gave me a while back has been of help, thanks again!


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by skittles on 05/17/10


The devils best friend is diet, much LOVE for the fat people!


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by greg on 05/17/10


you should definitly do it!!! because if you dont,somebody else will..i'll buy a dvd from ya!


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by ChrisDowning on 05/18/10


I would buy it in a heartbeat!

My back and knees are already pretty messed up from pre-tattooing accidents. I'm pretty good about keeping up with exercise and stretching to keep that in check.

I would really like to see hand/wrist care covered in depth.

I've been grinding away for goin on 8 years now and my wrists and hands are getting really beat.

A full day for me means tingling and loss of strength in my right hand and my left hand cramped up. Over the last few months I've been noticing pain in my wrists that was never there before. There have also been 2 or 3 days over the last few months that I have had to call it quits early because my damn hands just didn't want to work anymore.

Hand problems aside, I wouldn't trade this job for anything. I would love a DVD that could help me make my career last as long as possible.


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by markkidd on 05/19/10


TOC - It would be a great thing. I've been at it 10 years and I'm F'ed up. I have degenerative disks in my neck, carpel, pinched nerves, sciatic nerve issues etc. I just spent thousands out of pocket for MRI's, x-rays, massage, accupuncture, chiro, doctor, rhumetologist... on and on. I've been in pain for years but this shit hit me hard, fast and furious. I was out of work for 3 months.. BOOM just like that. Talk about a reality check. I'm blesses I had a staff to hold down the fort.
I was going to make a posting about ergonomics etc. to see what others have done to help. There are many things that could be incorporated in your dvd such as; seating (i.e. salli chair), cross lighting, momentary foot switches, alum or other light weight machines anything at all that can help create longevity for the artist. There are sooo many things like not breathing the high level disinfectants. Think of 10 years of huffing overspray from Virustat or Madacide... If you did an "all inclusive" health vid I'm sure it could be one of the most valuable purchases any artist could ever invest in. Maybe we should start a new thread and ask everyone what they do to stay healthy, ergonomically or otherwise?


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by markkidd on 05/19/10


Oh, and simple things like how to set up your machine to let the tattoo machine do the work... i.e. counter balance, center of gravity, etc. I was talking to Danny Dringenberg last week and he was explaining how he believes 1" grips are a primary cause of carpel due to the "un-natural" size of the grip compared to the hands natural positioning... I'm sure you could get enough content to produce a quality DVD.


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by TOC on 05/19/10


Thank you everyone for your input and suggestions. They are very helpful and will definitely add to the quality of the DVD. I've set up an interview with my friend who is an acupuncturist. He is an incredible healer with an intuition of what's happening in the body like no one I've ever met. That alone will be a very informative segment and a great perspective from someone who helps people deal with these issues daily.

My goal is to have this finished and ready to go by this years Paradise Artist Retreat since this years' focus in purely on the artists. Maybe I can talk to Gabe about doing a free seminar.

Thanks again for all the feedback and keep it coming if anyone has anymore.


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by Revi13 on 05/19/10


Think your project sounds like a fantastic(and for me, much needed) thing..! I really hope you´ll ship them overseas. Perhaps make them buyable as download?


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by Petri on 05/22/10


Really good idea and I'm glad others than me have thought about this also. Go for it TOC! I think it is needed.


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by TOC on 09/06/10


Just a little update for anyone that's interested. I've been putting together some great stuff for this project. Rather than just throwing a bunch of exercises and routines together I've really been trying to focus on specific things that need to be addressed by tattooers and the best way to alleviate pain and even help in prevention and curing of persistent ailments.
I am trying to focus on proper body mechanics and have been using myself as the guinea pig. I have also been in contact and exchanging ideas with others that have a lot of experience in this field, mainly from physical therapy, acupuncture/kinesiology and chiropractors. My goal is to put out solid information and solutions to help all tattooists with our daily issues.
I've always had my own stretching regimens as a fighter and training with other fighters that has helped in the past but as the years go on that hasn't been enough.The things I've implemented for myself at the shop in between appointments, during breaks and most importantly, while tattooing, have been a tremendous help so far.
What I would like to do is work with some other tattooers for a few weeks before I film things for the DVD to get feedback from them as well. I want this to be something that is truly beneficial to everyone that gets it, so I am willing to go through all of the trials and tribulations until I feel it is where it needs to be.
I am going to be in Malaysia and Thailand for a few weeks so I'm looking for some people in the NYC area that would be willing to get together a few times in mid November so I can show them everything that I have put together so far. If you're interested please give me your contact info. I'm also open to if anyone want's to get into a little MMA/Muay Thai training as well. 100% free. You'll be a part of helping out our community.


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by Epicdermis on 09/07/10


Nothing but good can come from this. It's an excellent idea that is frankly long over due. I look forward to seeing this.


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by supergrover on 09/07/10


i really like the idea and by the positive response it seems to fit the needs of many of us. dvds are great, as well as books, but if you do not have experience putting them together it is quite a task. would you consider a forum to keep things fluid? a yearly membership could make it profitable enough for you without stressing about getting it 100% right for printing. i just finished publishing a book and i know so many things now i wish i knew when i started. if you want i could share info of some really necessary steps that are easily over looked. best of luck james


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by davey on 09/07/10


Hey man, great idea! I hope to see this happen. Even if you dont get a non-vegan diet section going, you should include what you know about a good vegan diet. Im an omnivore myself, but good advise is good advise. Im sure plenty of others would agree. Best of luck.


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RE:Stretching and Exercise for tattooers

Posted by TOC on 09/07/10


Thanks for the good words guys.

supergrover- I do have the experience in 2 aspects:

1-exercise fitness from training fighters and being one myself. I was also the Strength and Conditioning coach of the team that I fought on

2- I have a Strength and Conditioning DVD that has been available for a few years now.

BUT..... I had NO control over the process of how that DVD was done and though the final product contains great info, in all honesty it seems a bit amateurish to me because they basically filmed me doing a seminar and sold it. So it doesn't feel personal at all, but more like you're just watching a seminar.The gym I was at produced that. This one I am doing on my own, and thinking of it in the terms of what I'd like to see if I purchased it.

Your idea of a forum is GREAT! I hadn't thought of that. It would be even more beneficial for people to share their experiences and ask questions so they can get more out of it. I would not charge a membership fee. I honestly want to share what Knowledge I have that can benefit our community. If it was a straight for profit thing it would have been out already and I never would have mentioned it as an idea here in case someone else ripped it off. I want to put out a high quality product, with the time and effort put into it that anyone who buys it should expect. The same that all of our customers should expect from our work. If I break even financially, then I'm happy. I believe in karma and good energy. The more I put out I'll get back in return.


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