Drum & Percussion Lessons
Drummer Cafe 20th Anniversary
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The Endurance Method is a 10-minute hand exercise I came up back in the early '80's in order to warm-up, build strength and dexterity in my playing, and increase my speed. Using this exercise every day, 5 to 6 days a week, has proven to increase speed and performance endurance, not only in my own playing, but also with all of my drum and percussion students over the past two decades.

In order for this exercise to have it's full affect, you must follow the instructions to the utmost detail.

R = Right Hand
L = Left Hand



EXERCISE #1

The first exercise is called Flat Flams or "French Flams". This is nothing more than both sticks striking the drum at the exact same time, in unison.Flat Flams (French Flams)

Begin by performing one Flat Flam per second, using Full Strokes (see definition at bottom of article), and gradually increase your speed. You must take your time here, being careful to create a mirror image of one hand to the other in height, angle of stroke, volume, grip, position, etc.

*** NOTE *** THESE ARE NOT NORMAL FLAMS, AS SHOWN ON A RUDIMENT SHEET; THEY ARE TO BE PERFORMED AS DESCRIBED ABOVE.

Increase your speed until you are playing as fast as you can (perhaps only 2 or 3 strokes per second). The key here is you must remain relaxed; no tension in the hands or forearms, and the sticks must still strike the drum surface at the same time (otherwise you're not playing Flat Flams). The process from slow to fast should take approximately one minute.

Hold your "peak speed" for 30 seconds. If you start sounding sloppy (sticks are not striking the surface at the same time) or get tense, you need to back off the speed. Find a tempo that you can hold and yet play the rudiment perfectly.

Now begin to slow down until you reach your initial starting tempo. This slowing down process should also take approximately one minute.

So there you have it! You've just performed your first Endurance Exercise! Please remember . . . you must remain relaxed, using only your wrists (no arms) to build your strength in your hands. The key for the exercise is to train your muscles to stay in a relaxed state when performing at all tempos; especially when maintaining a fast tempo.



EXERCISE #2

The second exercise is called Single Strokes. Begin by performing one stroke per second, using Full Strokes, and gradually increase your speed. Watch your hands, making sure that one hand is a mirror image of the other in height, angle of stroke, volume, grip, position, etc.

Single Strokes

Increase your speed until you are playing as fast as you can (perhaps only 2 or 3 strokes per second). The key again is to remain relaxed; no tension in the hands or forearms. As you increase the tempo, the Single Strokes should sound like a "rapid fire machine gun" or a "two stroke lawnmower"; no "hiccups". The process from slow to fast should take approximately one minute. Hold your "peak speed" for 30 seconds. If you start sounding sloppy or get tense, you need to back off the speed a little bit until the tension goes away and/or the strokes become even again. Find a tempo that you can hold and yet play the rudiment perfectly.

Now begin to slow down until you reach your initial starting tempo. This slowing down process should also take approximately one minute.



EXERCISE #3

The third exercise is called Double Strokes. Begin by performing one stroke per second, using Full Strokes, and gradually increase your speed, DON'T BOUNCE! Watch your hands, making sure that the hands mirror each other.

Double Strokes

With Double Strokes it is very difficult to play the second stroke in each hand as loud and even as the first one. Many times drummers will perform Double Strokes like this: R, r, L, l, or R, r, (pause) L, l, etc. This is not good! Our goal needs to be that the Double Strokes sound just like Single Strokes!

*** NOTE *** AS A RUDIMENT, THE DOUBLE STROKE ROLL IS PERFORMED IN SUCH A WAY AS TO ALLOW THE STICKS TO BOUNCE. THE GOAL OF THIS EXERCISE IS TO WORK THE WRIST AND IT'S MUSCLES, NOT TO EXECUTE THE FINISHED PRODUCT, BEING THE DOUBLE STROKE ROLL. DON'T ALLOW THE STICKS TO FREE BOUNCE.

Increase your speed until you are playing as fast as you can (perhaps only 2 or 3 strokes per second). The key, once again, is to remain relaxed; no tension in the hands or forearms. The process from slow to fast should take approximately one minute.

Hold your "peak speed" for 30 seconds. If you start sounding sloppy or get tense, you need to back off the speed a little bit until the tension goes away and/or the strokes become even again. Find a tempo that you can hold and yet play the rudiment perfectly.

Now begin to slow down until you reach your initial starting tempo. This slowing down process should also take approximately one minute.

You've just completed a great work out for your hands in 10 minutes! You may want to shake out your hands (see Stretching and Warming-Up the Body) a little bit between each of these exercises. This will help relieve any tension that may have been created and keep the hands loose & warm.

If you use the The Endurance Method every day, 5 to 6 days a week, for one month, you will see a HUGE difference in your playing! Not only will you be able to play for longer periods of time without tiring, but your speed and form will have increased tremendously.


A Full Stroke is one of the four basic strokes used in the Moeller Method. The Full Stroke is a loud stroke in that the stick starts high, at least 8-12 inches above the playing surface, then immediately rebounds back to the same high position after striking the surface.


Bart Elliott Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician and founder of the Drummer Cafe. His 35+ years in the music industry, over 100 albums to his credit, as well as his understanding of contemporary and classical music, makes him a complete and skilled master musician. A highly sought after drummer and percussionist, both live and in the studio, Bart is widely known as a top music educator and gifted teacher, appearing as a guest artist and clinician throughout the USA.