Warm-up exercises or warming up is a part of the main physical activity or performance. Warm-up exercises help the performer prepare for the event by stretching and relaxing the muscles and joints in the whole body.
Warm-up exercises help to improve the performance and also help to maintain consistency. Warming up also reduces the risk of fatigue, soreness and injury.
Like any other physical performance, commercial voice over artists also require warm-up exercises to deliver their best voice performance at the microphone. Vocal warm-ups help to loosen the muscles of the mouth and the vocal folds thereby reducing the risk of vocal fatigue or injury.
Full body stretches are always beneficial to start your day. It helps to relax by improving the blood and oxygen circulation in the body. Commercial voice over actors are usually recording in an air-conditioned or closed room. These warm-ups are very beneficial to them. Body stretches can be done in the following order – neck rolls, shoulders rolls and stretches, arms, rib stretches, waist roll and stretch and finally shake the whole body gently starting from top to bottom to release any tension.
The facial muscles can be exercised by following the lion and mouse technique and the tongue stretches. For the lion and mouse exercise, the commercial voice over actor can stand in front of the mirror and open the mouth wide like a roaring lion and then scrunch the face like that of a mouse. The tongue stretches can be done by the commercial voice-over artists by pulling the tongue down towards the chin and up towards the nose as much as possible and also by moving it left and right.
Commercial voice-over artists should start the breathing exercises by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. First, inhale through the nose while counting till eight and then hold the breath till another eight counts. Exhaling should be done through the mouth while counting to eight. The breath should be steadily pushed out through partly opened lips with a hissing sound.
The humming technique is also another variation of the breathing exercise. This technique helps the voice over actors by activating the vocal folds after long hours of sleep. The commercial voice over artist should exhale and hum at a comfortable frequency then oscillate between the high and low frequencies.
Commercial voice-over artists can perform the lip trills by rolling their tongue onto the roof of the mouth and creating “trrrr” or “rrrr” sounds. Lip trills help the commercial voice over actors to loosen the muscles of the mouth and warm up the vocal folds.
Commercial voice-over artists need to practice a lot of tongue Twisters to help loosen up the muscles of the mouth. Tongue twisters also help the voice-over actors sharpen their consonant pronunciation in order to articulate better during the voice recordings.
Neck stretches are very important for commercial voice-over actors while warming up. It helps to release the tension and relax the neck muscles.
The yawning exercise can be done by the commercial voice-over artists by opening their mouths as if they are yawning and then letting out a loud sigh.
The commercial voice-over actors should start by slowly exhaling and keep humming until all the air has been exhaled. This needs to be repeated at least 5 times.
The Commercial voice-over artists need to stand upright and place their hands on their stomachs. Now, start inhaling while expanding the stomach as much as possible. Slowly start exhaling by saying “Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.” pushing the stomach inward with every “Ha”.
Warm-up exercise can be done at any time of the day as long as it is not immediately after a heavy meal. Commercial voice-over artists should practice these warm-up exercises regularly to get maximum benefits. It would be beneficial to do some basic warm-up exercises just before a voice recording session.
Warm-up exercises can be practised by the commercial voice-over actors wherever they are comfortable. It would be helpful to do it in a place which is well ventilated, clean and away from loud noises. It is also believed that doing the warm-up exercises in the shower could be beneficial to the voice-over artists. The humidity helps to protect the throat and the vocal folds.
Along with good warm-up exercises, commercial voice-over artists also need to take care of other aspects which would affect the overall health and well-being. It is not just about taking care of the voice that matters, the mind and body also need to be kept healthy by the voice-over artists to deliver consistent voice recordings.
A good night’s sleep is very important for the repair and regeneration of the cells. Our body heals when we sleep. Keeping this in mind, commercial voice over actors should be able to get the required quantity and quality of sleep at night. Following some of these basic sleep routines can improve the quality and quantity of sleep: avoid eating late in the night, avoid caffeine and alcohol at night, take a warm shower before hitting the bed, avoid bright lights in the bedroom, read a book, listen to some relaxing music.
We are what we eat. This says everything about eating habits. Commercial voice-over artists should be mindful of what they eat. It is better to completely avoid oily food, spicy food, extremely hot or cold food, sweets and sour food. These foods can damage the vocal folds and no amount of warm-up exercises will be effective to reverse this damage.
Smoking can irritate the vocal folds and eventually lead to permanent damage. Commercial voice-over artists should avoid smoking in any form, even secondhand or passive smoking.