Every drummer underestimates the power of proper warm-up routines before and after a show. Playing drums is arguably the most physical instrument in a band, although vocalists tend to disagree. It’s true that both require a lot of stamina on stage, but once the show is over, the vocalist can sit back and have a drink while you tear down your drumset (which now feels like it weighs 2 tons) down a flight of steps into a van. That’s why it’s important to know specific stretches for drummers.
Physical health is imperative before you enter tonight’s venue. In short, you’ll be packing your gear, hauling it into a vehicle, possibly unloading and carrying it up a few flights of steps and then finally, setting it up. At this point, you haven’t even performed your set yet! Here you are now, after a 30 minute set of sweating your teets off, tearing down and having to go through the same routine in reverse. Where’s the glory? Hopefully soon but in the meantime, let’s make sure your back stays in one piece with these crucial basic drum exercises. So before you get behind your practice pad, let’s get the blood flowing with some stretches for drummers.
The Basics: Arms, Wrists, And Hand Stretches For Drummers
Give the body a chance to warm up if it hasn’t done so already. After hauling a drumset and other gear into a van, there’s a good chance that you’re limbs are ready for an initial stretch.
You can start by stretching your arms out, start with your right arm. Stretch it out forward as though you were handing someone something. Palm facing up, arm as perpendicular as possible to your body and with the other hand, pull down on your stretched arm’s fingers until you feel the pull. It’s important to it hold for at least 10 seconds but try holding it for a few more if possible.
Do the same with the other arm. Now you can do the same stretch but with your palm face down and with the other hand, pull fingers towards you..
Lower Body Stretches For Drummers
Next, keep those leg muscles warm by doing lunges. Alternate between lunge by moving forward but if space is tight, which it usually is, you can perform lunges in place.
Start by standing straight, lift your right leg and move it forward about 2 feet forward, and attempt to kneel by bending the left and right leg at the same time. Control your movement by avoiding contact with your knee on the floor, it can hurt and prevent you from having optimal performance on stage.
Interchange legs at least 10 times ensure an even stretch your legs and increase blood flow. These exercises will give you a jolt of energy and will now be ready to get to your gig.
Quick Tips on Loading and Unloading your Drums
- Always lift with your legs, never with your back.
- Take a break if necessary.
- Control your breathing and make sure you’re not holding your breath when lifting.
Example: Breath in when lifting but be aware of your breathing (in from your nose, out from your mouth) as you lift and carry your gear.
Pre-Show Warm Up For Drummers
After you set up and ready to perform, try to take 10 minutes before and perform another few simple stretches.
Start with extending both arms outwards and pulling your hands and fingers inwards. Hold for 30 seconds. Make sure that your arms are parallel to the floor at all times. You will feel your arms start to weigh downwards but keep them up and continue to breathe.
Extra Drum Stretches & Tips Before a Show
Depending on your style of drumming, you may need to stretch your calves and ankles.
If you have a wall close by, you can step about 2 feet from the wall, lean in and hold the wall as though you were pushing it. Bend one knee and bring the other leg a little back and extend. You will feel the pull on the calf. Do not overextend. Hold when you feel the pull. Keep in mind, you may not be fully warmed up and do not want to risk pulling a muscle. Switch legs and do the same stretch and hold for at least 10 seconds or more if possible.
Lastly, stand straight and hold one leg above the ground. Point your toes forward until you feel the pull and hold for 10 seconds. Pull back your toes and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat until necessary. I usually do this about 5 times per foot. Keeps the ankles loose and ready for playing your kick pedals.
If you’ve got time for one more, invest some time into stretching your quads. It can be a muscle that is overlooked since it’s not overly used while playing drums however, it is being used when lugging all that gear around.
Using a wall to balance yourself, lift your right and use your right hand to grab your ankle. Pull it back until you feel the stretch in the quad muscle. Hold it for at least 10 seconds or longer. Don’t forget to breathe!
After you put your right leg down, do the same motion by lifting your left leg and grabbing your ankle by your left hand. Pull back and feel the stretch. It is totally normal to feel that you are losing balance. Use that wall to hold yourself upright.
Ready to (drum) Roll
You’ve performed the set of a lifetime and have the pool of sweat around your drums to prove it. If you have to tear down right away, go ahead and do so but once completed, it is important to do a few of the stretches mentioned above as part of your cool down. You will notice you may be able to push further or stretch for longer because you’re completely warmed up. Stretching properly after the show will help avoid sore muscles the next day. Also, the more you stretch, the more flexible you will be. Stand clear from the “drummer hangover” and maintain flexibility as an important part of playing drums.
The importance of routines before and after a show is imperative to your performance as a musician. Warming up isn’t just meant for athletes. You’ll feel better all around and still be able to maintain a social lifestyle before and after shows since it only needs a few minutes of your time.
Stretches for Drummers | A Few Minutes Goes a Long Way
The importance of stretching routines before and after a show is imperative to your performance as a musician. Warming up isn’t just meant for athletes. You’ll feel better all around and still be able to make time for being social before and after shows since it only takes up a few minutes. Whatever you do, don’t skip out on your pre and post-show stretches. They’ll help you perform better, prevent muscle soreness the next day and serve you well during your whole career as a drummer. Let us know if these stretches for drummers helped you out!