What time of day should I use the P.E.T.E. ?
Time of day to use the P.E.T.E. depends on your individual practice and playing schedule.
There are several things to consider:
- Your muscles need time to recover from the exercise in order to gain strength and endurance from the conditioning process.
- You should avoid the regular exercises using the P.E.T.E. for a period of time before practicing or performing. Note that many players find that a very gentle and short exercise before playing actually helps with their warm-up.
- Best results will come from establishing and following a regular exercise routine.
Same as with any other exercise program, your developing embouchure muscles need time to recover after exercising to ensure that the muscles are ready for practice or a performance. Depending on your level of conditioning, the recovery time before playing for most P.E.T.E. users varies between 2 hours and 48 hours. Someone with well conditioned and developed embouchure muscles may be comfortable playing within a couple hours after a moderate to aggressive level of muscle workout. Someone just starting out with the P.E.T.E. probably needs more resting time before they feel ready to play.
Each player is different in this regard. The important thing to remember is: Don't try to do too much too soon.
How long should the P.E.T.E. exercise session last, and how aggressively can I use it?
First time P.E.T.E. users should limit the length of time for the exercises (described in the instructions - PDF file download) to 2 or 3 repetitions of each exercise lasting somewhere between 15 seconds and 45 seconds each. This may not sound like much of a workout to begin with - however many new users users discover noticeable results within the first couple days of P.E.T.E. usage.
In the instructions (PDF file download) we describe Exercise #1 as a "tug of war" between using your embouchure muscles to hold the P.E.T.E. in place while pulling it in the opposite direction. The harder you try to hold it in place, the harder you can try to pull. Start out gently with this - such that you are starting to feel the muscles get tired and lose grip on the P.E.T.E. after 15 to 30 seconds.
Then stop using it and let the resting, recovery, and conditioning process take place.
After using the P.E.T.E. for several months, many users report being able to perform each exercise for several minutes - and of course, with that level of conditioning, they also report that their endurance, control, and power has also increased very substantially.
The P.E.T.E. is effective as an isometric strengthening tool. Do not attempt to adapt the P.E.T.E. for motion (bulk building) exercises as results may be counterproductive.
The keys to success using the P.E.T.E. are simple:
- Pace yourself - You can't get 6 weeks worth of results from 6 days of training - however it is very likely that you WILL notice improvements within the first week of use.
- If it feels like you're overdoing it, then you need to back off a little and let the rebuilding and conditioning process happen.
- Stick with it - Even after you've been using it for 6 months and your chops are strong enough to endure the most challenging performance, you should still use it enough to maintain that high level of conditioning.