The Ultimate Fitness Workout for Drummers

Drumming has many plus sides to it. Apart from the fun and excitement that comes from banging on a drum set, pro or amateur, it is also good for your health and improves it in many ways, both physically and mentally.
But, apart from the art of drumming in itself, there is also a bit more work you should put in, and this involves working out at home or in the gym. Yes, did you know that exercise can promote your drummer fitness and improve your skill behind the set tremendously?

There are specific exercises that can help with this in a wide array that you can choose from, or just work with all of them in order to improve your overall drumming skills.

Now, the main areas of interest are your arms and legs, since these are what you primarily use to play, but other parts of your body also offer support to them and should be considered too, for example your shoulders, chest, back, calves and abs. Some of the best workouts and fitness routines for drummers include climbing, bouldering, squats, standing calf raises, powerlifting, deadlifts, bench presses, running, weight lifting, swimming, biking, chest flies, and of course cardio to build up your endurance. There’s even a cardio drumming workout routine where weighted drumsticks are used to build stamina. We will take a look at all of these exercises, and more, and what they do for your body to improve your skill as a drummer.

You should first talk to your doctor before you begin any of these workouts and consult your gym trainer too, especially if you are a first-timer so that you will know which workouts are best for you and which ones to start with then gradually work your way up.

Diet and proper rest are also a key aspect of drummer fitness. Make sure you are eating right and getting enough sleep each night. Otherwise, you might end up overstraining your body and canceling out all your hard work. Also, avoid heavy smoking and drinking since these both have a bad impact on your body and end up harming it and messing up your endurance and strength.

Overall Body Workouts
An overall body workout that involves all your body parts, especially muscle enabled ones is highly advised. This is to make sure that the strength in your body is equally divided. Overall workouts also help with your twitch muscles, which you naturally engage more during drumming.

Core Strength
Core strength workouts are mainly for your back and abs, which are your main support areas while drumming since your arms will be doing a lot of moving around and will need all the extra backup they can get. It also helps with the long hours you end up sitting during practice sessions and performances.

Climbing and Bouldering
Climbing, and bouldering too helps with your speed, especially when playing double bass. They improve your balance, which is important for you as a drummer. Bouldering helps improve your balance too, which is great when you have to be on the seat for long hours on end or play drums with 4-way independence.

Squats help a lot with your lower-body flex points and joints, including your ankles, knees, and hips, which are instrumental during kick drum and hi-hat techniques. Since your feet are the main sources of support while doing squats, you learn to have the endurance and strength you need as you play the drums.

Chop Building
Chop building is mainly aimed at strengthening the stamina of your arms, shoulders, hands, and fingers too, all integral parts to your drumming performance.

Strength Training and Power Lifting
Strength training basically incorporates powerlifting, which includes squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. These exercises help to engage your core and give your muscles more power. If you’re a rock drummer or a gospel drummer, you definitely need to include these exercises in your workouts.

Running and weight lifting generally builds endurance and gives both your lower body and upper body the strength to power through extended drumming sessions.

Standing Calf Raises
Standing calf raises help with giving your feet and ankle muscles more strength and stamina for you to use when drumming.

Swimming is a great general body workout since it strengthens your arms, chest and leg muscles. It also improves your breathing patterns, since you hold your breath while underwater, it will help you not to pant and tire out too easy during drumming sessions. The strength it gives to your muscles is also very vital. Swimming provides a full-body workout and should be included in your workout cycle.

Biking mostly improves your lower body strength, that being your legs, thanks to the cycling process. It also helps to improve your balance and endurance. Whether on a stationary cycle or a bicycle, biking provides a sufficient cardio routine that will benefit any drummer.

Ankle Weights
This is one of the few workouts that you can do while drumming and is a technique off the sportsman manual, which says that if you harden your conditions during training, you will have an easier time when the day of actual competition comes. You can compare it with how swimmers tend to practice in colder areas and with weights on their arms and legs, which improves their speed and endurance when competing. The logic is that you have pushed through tough conditions so when presented with more comfortable circumstances, it is much easier. Try wearing ankle weights during drumming practice and your body will get used to it, such that on the day of your actual performance, everything becomes a breeze. But start with light weights and be very careful not to injure your ankle joints.

Here are a few more exercises that you can rely on, especially to improve your posture, position and balance as a drummer and get rid of the strain or aches that come from sitting long hours banging on a drum kit continuously. They also help to ensure that your body retains its proper posture and that you are not slumping over or stiff in some areas.

  1. Perfect posture exercise
    This exercise is important in order to get rid of the general body strain that comes from long hours seated drumming. It prevents you from having an arched back, which will lead to inevitable back problems that will cause a hindrance to your drumming.
  2. Neck active range of motion stretching
    Drumming will have you involuntarily craning your neck as you lean forward in order to focus more. This causes a constant strain on your neck muscles, so the purpose of the neck active range of motion stretching is to stretch all those tight and taut muscles and give your spinal joints more mobility.
  3. Low back stabilization exercise
    Your intervertebral discs are usually under quite a lot of pressure while drumming since you are constantly in a seated and slouchy position, thus it is important to perform low back stabilization exercises, and others too, for example, those earlier mentioned in the article, in order to prevent posture distortion.
  4. Wrist and arm stretches (Pretzels)
    You know how your arms, and wrists get really worn out at the end of a long lecture that involved you writing a lot of notes? Your automatic response to this strain, usually, is to stretch and rotate your wrists, right? Well, this same cause and effect applies to drumming. Your arms are the most heavily involved parts of your body as you drum away, since they are constantly hitting and all that rapid movement and wrist rotation can have you really sore. After each session, make sure you get your pretzels in, and no, not the snacks. Make sure your arms and wrists are well stretched out. You could do it on your own, or if you are lucky enough, have someone do it for you.

All the above mentioned workout exercises will help you maintain good posture and position, which is key to your drumming career, and your overall health too. If you are unsure of how to do them, you can look up a couple of video tutorials and articles online, or ask a trained expert to show them to you. The good thing about these particular sets of exercises is, unlike some of the aforementioned fitness routines that require you to have or be in a gym, you can do them in the comfort of your home or anywhere else on the go.

There are other sets of workout and fitness routines that might be beneficial to you, which we will list below. These exercises focus on the upper-body strength in the areas that drummers are most active.

Bench Press

Bench presses are the best for building your body’s strength, especially for your upper arms and chest, thanks to all the lifting. Which is great for your arms since it gives you more muscle power to play longer.

Chest Flys

Chest flys are meant to train your pectoral muscles, thus giving shape and strength to your chest muscles. Lifting the weights up, down then over your head by lying on your back also gives strength to your arms- wrists included- and back, which is part of your support system while drumming. The exercise also involves your legs, which really just makes it an overall body workout, doesn’t it?

Overhead Lat Pulls

This exercise particularly works your larger back muscles, and while at it, your arms too. Your back offers your body and arms support while you are drumming, and your arms, well, they are the main stars of the show, making this a routine you should consider.

Preacher Curls

Preacher curls work on your biceps and upper forearms, and also work your wrists, which will give you the necessary endurance since drumming involves a lot of wrist rotation.

Tricep Pull Downs

Tricep pull downs are named after their purpose, which is strengthening your triceps. It is a pretty simple exercise that you do standing up as you pull up and down the weights.

Front Overhead Press

The front overhead press works on your shoulders, which are basically the pivots, the mobility points of your arms. They also work your arms, what with all the up and down movement, thus strengthening your muscles and also help in loosening up your stiff wrist joints.

Side Laterals

It is advisable to perform side laterals after the front overhead press, and this particular set is meant to work out your front shoulder muscles, your arm muscles, chest and back too. It basically covers your entire upper body, which is the area you use most while drumming.

Shoulder Flys

Shoulder flies are a bit like the side laterals, in that it involves your upper body, that being your arms, shoulders, chest and back too.

These workouts are heavily gym oriented so make sure you do them right and if you are a beginner, we strongly advise that you get the help of a professional trainer and train with them until you get a proper hang of everything. This precautionary measure is to prevent you from serious injury that could put you out of the drumming game. Also, get your trainer to advise you on how many times you should repeat a set, what warm-ups you should start with first, techniques you should apply, proper weights to use, and how long you should rest in between sets.

We really hope all these fitness routines and workout tips help improve your drumming skills, and general body wellness. This article does not cover all of them so feel free to check out some more, which you can easily find online on platforms like YouTube and you can fix them into your schedule so that you are not too tired from working out to drum and vice versa. Feel free to add some of your own workouts into this routine and incorporate your personal preferences into it. You also do not have to do all of these exercises. Pick what works best for you and focus on the areas of your body that need improvement.

Another great thing about fitness and exercise, is that you can listen to music all throughout your workout. This is especially beneficial to you as a drummer since you can prepare for your sessions and performances in advance by listening to the music that you are going to play. Plus, it makes workouts much more enjoyable.

Remember, also, that in order to achieve great results from your workout, commitment is necessary, just like with your drumming. Listen to your body and understand it and you are well on your way to drumming mastery. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes improvement. So happy drumming you fit beast!

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