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Warm Ups

Like any physical activity, drumming is demanding on specific muscles, tendons and ligaments. Because of this, stretching/warming up properly is the wise approach to ensure that you will play your best while avoiding injury. Like tennis elbow to a tennis player, we must avoid tendonitis, tenitis, and muscle pulls to continue doing what we love. Warming up actually encompasses the acts of stretching specific muscles and tendons - as well as “using” them in a controlled fashion before you actually begin a higher level of activity. And, with almost everything, there are different routines that work best for different people - and different styles of drumming. For example, if you’re a metal drummer, you will be using your larger muscle groups more than a jazz drummer. Thus, you will need to concentrate on warming-up and stretching these muscles more. If you play lighter, you will concentrate more on smaller muscle groups. Regardless, I believe that the following warm-ups do apply to all drummers. There are other approaches also in use that work equally well, or better than mine. And that’s OK. The main point is to always try to stretch and warm up before you play!

Warming Up Exercises for Drumming

The first thing is to try and get at least 1/2 hour of free time before you’re going to perform. You don’t need separate “warm up” kit either (although that would be great). I always bring a Remo pad or a foam pad to work my fingers, wrists and forearms (since it is light and doesn’t make much noise). For my feet (because I play a double bass pedal setup) I bring special beaters, or, I use two small pieces of closed cell foam under my feet that apply some counter-force - in a heel up or down position. I usually begin by “cold-stretching” my arms, wrists and fingers for about 5 minutes (using 9-12 different exercises). Then I stretch at the ankles for about the same time (using rotation, and up and down motions). Finally, I get out my practice pad and begin playing flat flams slow to fast (a flat flam is a unison stroke). After this I begin with single stroke rolls - also slow to fast, and then light to heavy. Finally, I add various sticking exercises with rudiments and accents. Then I move to my feet. I begin by playing with my heel down with both feet playing flat flams and other rudimental exercises. As I do this, I eventually use a toe-up position - and then go back to a heel down position. I initially try to keep consistently slow tempos as I change my dynamics. Then I speed up. Eventually, I use both my hands and my feet. In this mode, I alternate between playing fast and slow - regardless of the patterns I chose to play. Next, I stop and “warm-stretch” (same exercises). Then, I work on both my hands and feet some more. Then, I feel ready to play!

Steave Dow

drum_techniuqes/warm_ups.txt · Last modified: 2007/07/26 12:19
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