Working Out for Drummers

Thanks to my daughter I have been on a health kick for the last month. I try to go to the gym three-four days a week and exercise at home one-two days. I’m channeling all of my OCD into losing weight. So far it is working and I’m still inspired. It will take a very long time to get where I need to be. I’m a cardio addict. I have a love-hate relationship with the elliptical. Last year I was on a roll. I lost over 20 pounds.

Unfortunately I took a few months off, ok five months off, and obliterated my accomplishments thus far. I’m fat. Starting over sucks but I have no one to blame but myself and milkshakes. This experience got me thinking about exercises for the drums. Playing the instrument requires a certain level of strength and stamina. Of course it is important to warm-up before playing but I’m more interested in what to do when you’re not playing. Here is a series of good references on exercises for drummers:

DRUM! magazine published a useful article on Upper Body Workouts that outlines a series of recommendations for building strength. They state:

Drums are one of the most physically demanding of all musical instruments. By playing them, we use the body’s muscle groups to deliver power, speed, endurance, and coordination over long periods of time. If your muscles become fatigued during a show or session, it can cause your drumming to be inconsistent or your groove to sound forced or uptight.

Livestrong.com published an article titled Good Exercises For Drummers that also outlines some exercises designed specifically for drummers. They state:

Drumming is a deceptively challenging physical activity that requires excellent posture, muscular endurance, strength and physical stamina. Exercises for drummers should target the muscles that are most vulnerable during a prolonged drumming session, including your neck, shoulders and lower back.

Monster drummer and fitness guru Bobby Rock has a section on his blog called Drumbell Training for Drummers. Using gym photographs Bobby presents several doable weight-exercises. He states:

These exercises really work!  And for all you non-drummers, this concept of training is excellent to adapt to whatever your athletic endeavor might be.  Just create custom movements with light dumbbells that emulate the various motions you perform.

There are a couple books/DVDs out there: Fitness for Drummers by Arlen Del Castillo and Fitness for Drummers by Justin Spencer.

That’s about it. A Google search on the subject turned up very few hits on fitness for drums and most of them were “exercises” in the sense of exercises for building techniques not muscle. A quick search on YouTube for “Fitness for Drummers” turned up nothing of value. This surprised me. Well, as I tell myself when I hit that painful breaking point “There aint’ nothin’ to it but to do it.”

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