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The following exercises can be found in The Teacher and Student Method Drum Set Studies Exercise (Book One).

If you think about it, how fast and how long you can play a single or double stroke roll depends on one thing... the speed and strength of your weakest hand. After all, you
have to use both sticks to create a roll, so it’s a good idea to concentrate solely on one or the other first.

Looking at drumming from the perspective of an athlete, it’s good to practice a method that makes things harder for the player. I remember watching one of my brothers run around a field with a tractor tire attached to his waste, so that when he ran without it he felt like Superman - the unhindered task seems easy in comparison. As drummers, there are similar methods we can employ, but not quite as extreme as weighing ourselves down. You can purchase sticks that are made of a heavy metal, but I think it’s important to practice with your regular sticks for the correct balance and feel. Instead, I like to use endurance exercises on each hand, performing multiple hits at a time. That way, it seems a lot easier when you play less with singles and doubles.

Here are some good endurance sticking warm-ups to practice around the entire drum set, and you should always practice more with your weakest hand. Play these with a
gradually increasing tempo:

 

Once you have exhausted yourself with one stick, it’s time to reduce to less hits at a time. Starting with fours, then moving down to doubles and singles, another good way to work out your upper body movement is to perform patterns that are extra strenuous. I found that a tricky pattern to move around the drums with is the letter “Z” (tom 1 > tom 2 > snare > tom 3). If you are playing on a right-handed set-up, this movement really puts a strain on your left shoulder, because it is having to spread out and then contract quickly, moving from tom 2 to the snare. So, the first six following exercises have sticking patterns both around the kit as normal, and then using the “Z” pattern. The final two exercises here, then, really give your hip movement a good workout. Again, play these with a gradually increasing tempo:

 

Of course, always be careful when you are practicing strenuous exercises. You should get worn out by doing these, but nothing should ever hurt. Ever. If you are feeling pain at any point, then please stop. I should also mention that it is always good to perform stretches before trying out any kind of work-outs, even on the drums.


Owen Liversidge

Owen Liversidge, currently residing in Atlanta, GA, has been an active drummer for 21 years, playing both in the UK and the US. He has a degree in Popular Music Studies from the University of Leeds, England. After teaching for 12 years, Owen has recently released two books for teaching drum set method - The Teacher and Student Method Drum Set Studies book 1 & 2, both available on Amazon.



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