Effects of Anabolic Steroids on Trumpet Playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trickg, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. John Mohan

    John Mohan Pianissimo User

    Aug 11, 2004
    I don't think they'd make all that much difference. The amount of strength gain required to be a good, strong brass player really isn't all that great. It's more about gaining the "knack" or "feel" (aka coordination and/or technique). I'm fairly certain of this because since retiring from full-time professional playing more than a year ago, and cutting my practice to an average of about one 20 or 30 minute session every 4 or 5 days, I still can get up to Double C and I still have the endurance to handle a 3 hour community band rehearsal. I probably wouldn't want to walk in and play the 1st trumpet book of "Cats" without first getting back in shape though! :shock:

    Since I've found that I can get back into shape in about 3 weeks of routine practice, I don't think all that much physical strength beyond my set point is required. It is possible that I am still benefitting from the years of 4 - 6 hour a day practice and performing I did. But I think that since it has been more than a year since I was doing any heavy playing (my CSO audtion in September '04 was the last time I was doing any heavy practice), my physical strength has probably returned to that of a normal non-player. (Though the fact that I do the Claude Gordon Breathing Exercises still every day might be a factor).

    Short answer: steroids would do more harm than good.


    John Mohan
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Why? Would steroids do harm? I think that people generally believe (wrongly) that ANY amount of steroid use is extremely dangerous. I don't believe this is the case at all - I'll agree that there are some negative effects to using steroids, but most of the people that wind up with severe long term effects are people that abuse steroids, i.e. take higher doses than normal for longer periods than normal.

    I mean, look at Arnie. He has admitted to using a lot of whatever he could get his hands on during his competition days. And believe me, he used A LOT, yet here he is, alive and well.

    I've got a question for Dr. Tom - you mentioned obesity - if steroids used in conjunction with a workout routine would help an obese person lose weight and gain solid muscle mass, wouldn't the benefit of the steroid outweight the harm it could cause when compared the health risks that obesity poses? I've actually read articles regarding certain anabolic steroids that not only refute the idea that they are bad for you, but are actually beneficial to combat certain health problems, such as osteoperosis.
  3. John Mohan

    John Mohan Pianissimo User

    Aug 11, 2004
    Ask a doctor (I'm only studying to become one).

    But in the meantime, trust me - with the exception of legitimate medical use, steroids are not a healthy idea.


  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    John, I'm not one to try to pick gnat poo out of pepper, but explain to me how steroids suddenly go from being dangerous to being safe simply because they are being used legitimately for a medical purpose?

    The problem with this discussion as I see it is that most of the folks weighing in with their opinions regarding the use of anabolic steroids are taking the stance that has been spoon fed to them, and it is related to the overuse and abuse by the body building community.

    Folks, I can't reiterate enough that the people that are experiencing the truly negative side effects of anabolic steroid use are the ones who are abusing - using a higher dose than they should for longer periods than they should.

    It's almost as if everyone is brainwashed to thinking what the mass media - most people's source of information for this sort of thing - is telling them because some serious body builders (who abused, by the way) had some health issues. These are the guys who aren't taking just one - these are the guys stacking Winstrol or Dianabol with some other steroid, and using high doses of each. I'm not saying that you can gobble them like M&Ms, but seriously, they aren't that bad and used in the right way, they can even be beneficial.


    (Note: I've never personsally used anabolic steroids, but I have done a lot of reading on the subject in the past.)
  5. ebtromba

    ebtromba Pianissimo User

    Beneficial…..OK, maybe.
    However, you said it yourself, any steroid use that is could fall under the category of abuse involves taking the ‘roids for extended periods of time. So say a trumpet player took a safe dosage for a limited time. Maybe the person would experience benefits while taking steroids, but as soon as the ‘roids were stopped, the benefits will almost certainly melt away. This is why the body builders must keeping taking the drug to maintain size, and why they often increase dosage as time passes: they will loose muscle mass if steroids are discontinued. Look at some well known baseball players, and baseball in general. As soon as much stricter drug testing went into effect recently, the number of home runs has significantly decreased, and many formerly huge famous players have noticeably lost a lot of muscle mass.
    The benefits from their prior steroid (or other illegal substance) use do not last if they stop abusing the drug.

    That’s one of the great things about daily systematic intelligent practice- you can keep doing it!

    Also, I agree with John. The physical aspect of playing trumpet successfully isn’t at all about sheer muscle mass. Its about efficiency and technique, rather than brute strength. Besides, what player has giant bulges in their face? Today’s top players don’t look any different than any other normal non-brass-playing person in terms of facial muscles.

    I actually have substance I take that helps me immensely in my day-to-day recovery: chopsaver www.chopsaver.com. After around 7 months of use, I am still surprised at how it helps my overworked lip muscles recover and my abused lip tissue heal. Great stuff, and it won’t screw up your body!
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Eric, I was hoping that this wouldn't turn into a debate about the ins and outs of anabolic steroids, but there are a few things I would like to address based on the reading I have done on the subject.

    For one, while you might lose some of the benefit of the steroid once use stops, you won't lose all of it. That would be like saying that as soon as you stop lifting weights that you will lose the muscle mass that you have gained, and that simply is not the case. I still have fairly well developed triceps from the lifting that I have done, even though I haven't worked out in ages. Granted, the muscle is not as toned, but it is still there. The same concept applies to gains made with the assistance of steroids.

    Anyway, since it doesn't appear that anyone has any first or secondhand knowledge regarding the subject of steroids and the chops, maybe it's best to simply let it drop at this point.
  7. Jerry Freedman

    Jerry Freedman Piano User

    Mar 4, 2005
    I have a few not so cool diseases and have to take steroids sometimes. I am told that some are close to the anabolic kind. When I take them I feel stronger, my aches and tendon and muscle pains go away, but I things including my chops swell and get puffy...and that's where the problem might lie.
  8. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    This may not be firsthand... but our band director's wife is a really gifted flute and piccolo player who used to play with both the local symphony and our community band. She also has a permanent disease for which steroids are part of the treatment. The steroids "puffed her up" something terrible to the point where she could no longer perform on stage. The disease seems to be in a bit of remission these past few months and she's back at it again with the community band and playing very well.

    I've seen a few other folk who have had to take steroids on a regular, prescription basis; I'm glad I'm not them.
  9. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Hi Ed,

    She probably was on some type of Prednisone or Medrol steroid.
    I don't think they are the type that Patrick is talking about.


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