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  #1  
Old 05-16-2012, 10:28 AM
brianthe3rd brianthe3rd is offline
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Default Physical Effects of Drumming

Hello! I'm not sure if a thread like this has been made, but I just wanted to get some quick advice and see what other drummers have to say about this topic. Basically, my question is this: How do you physically feel after playing the drums (whether it be a performance, drum set practice, practice pad exercises, etc.)? How do your arms/wrists/hands feel both before and after playing?

I ask this question just to figure out if what I'm feeling is normal. I never really tense up, seeing as I'm a very relaxed player, but sometimes I feel as if I was just doing some very light weightlifting (so usually it's just my arms that feel like that).

I've been playing for about 5 years, watching many instructional videos by people like Jim Chapin, Joe Morello, Jojo Mayer, and Tommy Igoe. Most of these drummers just tell you to be relaxed and not tense up-- but that's it. I can't recall ever hearing about how you should physically feel in further detail (maybe because it's different for everyone..?). Obviously drumming is a physical activity, requires energy and whatnot. I think the best advice I've ever heard on this subject is from Tommy Igoe. In his "Great Hands" video, he says something along the lines of, "It's okay to work and get your heart rate up. We're drumming. We're not playing flute."

I know what tensing up feels like. I know what having tired arms feels like. I used to play thrash metal music with a buddy of mine for a few years, so I've gone through all those problems before. What I'm feeling now is different. I just want to hear if anyone else has similar feelings after playing, or what different physical feelings you have. Usually it doesn't bother me much, but it's enough for me to ask myself, "Is this normal?"

Just to avoid any unnecessary questions, I do warm up before playing (stretches, starting slow, etc.) and I do like to think that my overall hand technique is pretty good (and inspired by the drummers I listed earlier). I'd like to avoid posting a video of my technique, but I can if it is absolutely necessary. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you all!
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:32 AM
Odd-Arne Oseberg
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  #2  
Old 05-16-2012, 11:32 AM
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Odd-Arne Oseberg Odd-Arne Oseberg is offline
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

After a whole day of practicing my muscles are sore and need a little warming up before working to their full potential the next day. That's about it. If I'm at the kit keeping a high tempo on the hi-hat for a long time that's a little beyond my current comfort zone I might end up tensing up a bit. I get tired then beacuse I'm doing it wrong. Shake loose and back down a little and I'm fine, because that doesn't happen when I play stuff that reflects my current level.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:09 PM
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dmacc dmacc is offline
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

Only way I can describe it is my muscles feel like jello. Like I just got done with a 3 hour yoga stretching class. Not sure if that makes any sense or not. This includes when I sit down for 1.5 - 2 hours during practice or a 3 hour gig.

Last edited by dmacc; 05-17-2012 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:43 PM
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Arky Arky is offline
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

It depends on what/how intensely/for what durations I'm practicing, but if it's some intense/endurance stuff then my muscles will certainly "tell" me when they need a rest. Usually I would listen to my body then. Mostly those "reasonable rests" coincide with some other stuff to do outside of drumming so those situations aren't discouraging me. Quite the opposite - it just doesn't make sense to overdo but to start refreshed on the next day, or even after 1 day rest. This is referring to hands _and_ feet (as I'm practicing the feet a lot - the feet react similarly to the hands - they can get tired, too).

I'm taking drumming as a physical activity meaning one should strive to learn "effective" motions - e.g. not playing into the heads but accelerate the sticks and release the stroke at some moment so the sticks continue to travel, then also use rebound (or learn to control them). The "smart" way of (learning) drumming and staying as relaxed as possible was what I was trying to follow all the time. It does get intense at times (a must to progress, at least in terms of speed) but overall relaxation is paramount.

Relaxation & speed can be generated by e.g. applying Moeller and learn to get the accenting right but keep all the other strokes quite low in terms of stick height. Learn to get along as ergonomically as possible.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:13 PM
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Ian Williams Ian Williams is offline
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

You must know your limitations and work them out properly.
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:37 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

If every stroke you make originates from your elbow, even relaxed...that's a lot of arm movement, a lot of unnecessary energy being expended. I would expect that your arms would feel like jello after 3 or 4 sets. Everyone's technique is different and hard to compare. My strokes come from the opening of my hand aided by my wrist, no elbow movement. I use my forearms and elbows to move my hands over the intended drum, and my hands, fingers and wrists make the stroke. I feel zero fatigue after playing. So I can't compare.

Since you prefer not to post a vid, would you say that you hit your drums like you would hammer a nail? If so, that would explain the fatigue. There are better techniques to be utilized, ones that get the same result with about 90% less energy expenditure.
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Old 05-17-2012, 03:05 AM
Toolate Toolate is offline
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

I played for about 2.5 hours twice in the last month and was absolutely drained the following day each time. Not sure if I am slouching, hitting too hard or whatever but I think its 90 pct nerves. Too damn much fun not to go back for more.

Nerves?
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:13 AM
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Dre25 Dre25 is offline
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

I find that drumming is a really great warmup for a workout at the gym but I don't really find my legs and arms getting fatigued since I stopped playing metal + learned some technique recently. If I'm practicing for over an hour and a half I'll get a sore arse and sometimes I find myself in a trance like state and language + normal thinking seems alien. Almost like my mind wants to speak in rhythms, not english.

My right hip has been playing up this week, hopefully this is just a minor hiccup and not an ongoing problem.
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:15 AM
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BillBachman BillBachman is offline
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

All I feel is an endorphin high, especially after working double bass stuff along with the hands.
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  #10  
Old 05-17-2012, 04:22 PM
TheSetite TheSetite is offline
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

I find practicing very slowly for long periods (1 hour plus) ala Mike Mangini elicits the best technical advances and makes my limbs feel like they are floating round the kit. I get a warm feeling in the wrists and ankles. The hardest bit is having the patience to do this lol
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  #11  
Old 05-18-2012, 10:49 AM
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Piebe Piebe is offline
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

Just recent i switched from classical grip to traditional because the pointing finger of my left hand aches big time after i practiced on my double strokes and roles. Plus it happens off and on during rehearsal with my buddy when i really get busy on the drums that i hit the side of the snare with naturally exactly my sore pointing finger. Those times i curse the drums while bleeding on them. So this made me decide to change the grip to traditional which means i have to learn a lot of stuff all over, but at least i won't have a sore finger doing so.

Besides that i have no serious issues!
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:08 AM
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Arky Arky is offline
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

@ Piebe
Using the term "classical grip", do you mean "matched grip" (common term)? I'm just not sure what a "classical grip" is.

It's a good thing to play both matched and traditional. Allows to switch between them as you go by feel.
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Old 05-18-2012, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arky View Post
@ Piebe
Using the term "classical grip", do you mean "matched grip" (common term)? I'm just not sure what a "classical grip" is.
Yes it is matched grip, i thought classical grip was an English term as well but it is apparently dutch, so pardon my French. ;)
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It's a good thing to play both matched and traditional. Allows to switch between them as you go by feel.
I agree and essentially both have pro's and cons.
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  #14  
Old 05-09-2013, 06:17 PM
Beat Poet Beat Poet is offline
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Default Re: Physical Effects of Drumming

I do two hour sets of heavy rock and while I have the stamina to make it through and be playing at the same level at the end of the set as I am at the beginning, it's the lugging gear around, setting up/tearing down and getting home at 4AM that kills me. I'm not just talking about lugging drum gear about either, I'm talking PA, amps and guitars as well. I need a full day in recovery after a gig, I wake up feeling as if I have a blistering hangover, even though I don't have a drop of alcohol while gigging.
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