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Portland, Maine USA
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Profile of peglinton

Magic has been a hobby of mine for 30 years or so, although practicing and performing have been minimal for the past 20 years. I recently joined SAM to motivate me to return to magic -- once again, mostly as a hobby, with perhaps a show or two a year. I am particularly interested in strengthening my skills in sleight of hand, so that I'm more adept at performing tricks in a casual, spontaneous manner.

Can anyone suggest resources for building an “exercise routine” for sleight-of-hand skills – e.g., several slights that work well in a sequence? I have numerous books and am starting to build a video collection. However, many of these resources offer a compilation of effects without suggesting a practical, fun, or interesting way to link several effects for the purpose of building an exercise routine. I continue to select those effects that appear particularly useful and practice them over and over again -- then move on to another effect. Or I could review the larger set of basic sleights to try to establish an interesting sequence -- arguably a valuable exercise in its own right. Nevertheless, I thought I'd ask for recommendations.

Thank you, in advance, for your assistance!


Daniel Meadows
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Veteran user
Manchester, UK
390 Posts

Profile of Daniel Meadows
The idea of an exercise routine is a good one but I am not sure if practicing sleights over and over out of context is the best way to go once you have the move down pat. If you are learning a move that is no problem, repetition is good, but it would be better to do the sleight as part of the effect.

I think you had the right ideas in your post, you said you practiced an effect until you had it and then went to a different effect. That is probably the best way to practice until you build a routine. Try finding tricks that flow together or have a similar idea, or are connected in some way. Then you can practice the whole routine together. I feel this will be more beneficial as this is how you would perform when neccesary, rather than just doing a string of every sleight you know.
Cerberus Wallet, Equilibrium, Counterfeit, Deadly Marked Deck, Infamous, Instinct
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Regular user
125 Posts

Profile of WizzBang
One exercise that I have used which really helped me get the Classic Palm working was using a beer bottle.
By putting your little finger in the end and lifting it 100 times, I warmed up and was ready to use the bottle top to practice palming.
Being Aussie you were never short of venues and beer for practice, after a few beers you could also rehearse your comedy act as well...
Never seen this in a book!
Billy Andrew
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Scotland U.K.
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Profile of Billy Andrew
Other suggestions I've seen are the use of oversize cards for card manipulation and standard hand exercisers for coin work.

Also agree with Neil on rehersing the entire routine rather than just the sleights.
A journey of one thousand miles starts with the first step
Steve Brooks
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Founder / Manager
Northern California - United States
3742 Posts

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I'm far from being an expert in such matters, but do have certain exercises that work for me.

For starters, while watching television for instance, I will often have a deck of cards, and practice various cuts, and flourishes.
Followed by palms and passes, etc.
This keeps your hands and fingers nimble and well rehearsed I feel.

Also, I practice coin rolls, palming, clipping, etc. Even while standing in line at the supermarket, I may have one hand grabbing a coin in my pocket, and using one finger to place the coin into classic palm, etc. Again, keeping my fingers up to speed.

Another (works well for me) thing I do, is once warmed up, I'll go through my flourishes and cuts while my eyes are closed.
This includes spread passes and the like.
Doing this really helped me when I was first learning chords and finger placements for the guitar, and seems to help with my magic as well. Just a few thoughts.
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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Portland, Maine USA
3 Posts

Profile of peglinton
Thank you all for your advice!
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New user
89 Posts

Profile of Ryan
Steve, know any tricks involving guitars? Smile
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