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Warm up before playing is crucial. A good warm-up routine makes your hand movements smoother and faster, making all the job easier later.
The first thing I do is to stretch my left and right hand fingers. Keep your arm straight forward, with the back of your hand towards your face. Now, using your other hand, pull your fingers towards your face (but don't pull back too hard) and hold them is this position for a while.
Fingers stretched, let's pick up the guitar and play some exercises. These exercises I learned from videos, books or other guitar players and helped me a lot on my warm up routine.
The first one is still a stretch exercise. It helps developing left hand flexibility and strength. Take a look at the sequence of patterns below:
Pattern 1 - The basic thing we'll be doing:
The idea here is to play these patterns one after another. Try some variations too, like moving them up and down the neck or changing the string set you play them (e.g. if you play a pattern on high E, B, G and D strings, try playing it on G, D, A and low E strings). Also, theses patterns are quite linear. If you can't play pattern no. 4, you won't be able to play the no. 5 and so on. So, it's important that you can play one pattern clearly before you move on to the next. I show these patterns here as chords, but you can play them arpeggiated, using alternated picking or sweep picking if you want. It really doesn't matter because we're focusing on our left hands now.
Next step: picking hand.