Fatigue and recovery


Been practicing pretty intensely and pushing myself and I noticed that I'm getting stuck and not progressing in my exercises (endurance, timing) or at least I don't notice it that well myself. Some sort of plateau I guess.

Would a longer break hurt my playing? What have you done when you have had that exhaustion creeping in after practicing for long periods of time?


Senior Member
Maybe you should take a small break and analyze what exactly is going wrong. There is no damage to that, if not just improvements.
I have had a severe (a real) burnout last year, I'm still fighting it, so I think I can speak up with quite some experience about this topic.

Two years ago I was trying very hard to finish my exams (13 of them), I knew I was going to fail a couple of them but I did everything I could to save it... guess what, I failed.
As soon as I failed I went on and on studying and exceeding myself, pushing myself waaayyy off my body's limits. By the end of February I was so exhausted I didn't know what was wrong with me, I couldn't remember things anymore, couldn't perform at all, always very stressed, started lacking at any tasks, I lacked of sleep, wouldn't concentrate anymore, would feel always tired, would feel like my head would explode after studying/making exams (in fact so bad that I would really get sick from it), huge headaches, exercises that I was able to do I couldn't do any more, etc. A total disaster... that obviously triggered panic and a big question "what's wrong with me?". At the end, nothing was wrong, just that my brain said a big "STOP" and "screw you". I was abusing of myself.

I finally went to the doctor and the doctor literally said me: "if you don't stop now, you will either get a heart attack or develop a depression over time"
I needed rest, and slowly recover, let the stress go away and bit by bit come back to my activities.

What I want to teach you here is this:

Pushing yourself is good. BUT, exceeding your physical/mental abilities can kill you, do it long enough and it will. I don't know your full situation, but here is what I learned and what my doctors/mentors have recommended me over time:

If you feel you can't go forward in any situation, take a break. 10 minutes? 1 hour ? a day? a week? a month? a year? you choose it. Let your body indicate you.

Refresh your mind with new things. Improvement comes slow, some of us go faster in some topics/exercises, others go slower, it's completely normal.

As you take the break, sit down and evaluate yourself:
- What exactly are you struggling with?
- What specific part of the issue do you find difficult/struggle?
- what you don't like of it?

After you have done that, put it on paper. Now you have a good overview, start making some research online and find the best exercises that suit your problem. Start working on them, one by one. Do not start working on them all at the same time as it will confuse your brain. Start one by one, add them as you go and feel more comfortable.

most important: DO NOT TAKE ANY PILLS/DRINKS or wathever BS they say you. (own experience), as the problem doesn't get solved, it can potentially create an addiction and only worsen the situation. Get your fingers off from redbull or similar on this case. Believe me.

I now take breaks regularly, just because I want to take care of my progress and I need to, for my recovering health. I have done tons of progress with my damaged brain. I don't wish you the same, believe me. I don't think you are in such a bad condition as I was, but prevent it.


Senior Member
Recently I haven't been practicing anywhere near as much as I used to. But I have been working on feeling relaxed on and off the kit.

My playing is better now than when I was 'practicing' before.

I don't think a longer break will hurt. Life is all about balance and we all feel 'burnt out' sometimes in whatever we do. A break will put things into perspective.

But a break doesn't have to mean totally a break from drums/music. My practice was very much physical before. ATM I am working more on reading while I rest my body.

Good luck.

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I think veecharlie has soe good point here.

We need rest.

Going all day is physically possible with an athlete type nutrition program. It's not really advisable long term, though. Your brain needs rest, too. I had my own reasons for doing that for a while. It's more of a technical and physical workout, not a wholistic musical approach. I'll probably do it again some time, but it's really a sort of summer vacation type of thing.

Identify what you really want to learn and need to work on. Do that in a focused manner for a reasonable amount of time.

Do not set limits on when something should be mastered or whatever. It will take the time it will take. The point is to really focus on that or those few things. If you feel things are slow, remember how long it took you too learn the first basics. Slow and focused on a few things is the fastest way.

Definelty don't go to caffine and things like that. It doesn't not provide quality focus, mnid body connection or help build real conditioning. If you have to go all day because of work some enzymes and a thin protein instead.

Most important thing though is rest. If you practie intensely, do all the common sense things. Take short breaks, stretch out, get some fresh air.

We love drumming and sometimes we think more is better, but the reality is that if you can't focus on basic things you're burnt out. You should rest or do something different.

Shorter and more focused seesions are actually more demanding, just not physically. For those sessions to give full benefit, rest to process things both consciously and unconsciously is part of the equation.


Gold Member
I have been playing 2-4 hours every ngiht for 3 years now and i do have times where i will take 1-2 days off now and then and coming back i feel much better/stronger.. take a few days and relax.. it won't hurt you playing and you might feel better :)


Silver Member
If you can't rest like you'd like, slow it down a lot. I've learned when I'm struggling with exercises, I play them really s-l-o-w-l-y. That helps me focus more on form and I find my speed is better when I want to get faster.


My primary hobby of several years is bicycle racing. With endurance training it is well known that recovery days help training, and recovery weeks every month or two help reset and push one to the next training level. Hell, I even burned out on cycling last fall when I took up drumming and a couple months off helped reset the brain. I've noticed I get a similar boost with drumming when I get a day or two off. I also notice my kick drum is sloppier when I'm fatigued from a hard weekend of racing. Good to give the muscles and mind a little break here and there and come back fresh, focused, and faster.


I took a couple of days off but I'm still constantly tired and my double kick has suffered most. Technique is better but my endurance has gone down a lot.

In theory my playing is better but my enjoyment in playing is less because I can't push myself towards playing more difficult stuff at the moment.

I guess I need to take a real break instead of just resting my legs or whatever. Exercise etc.


Platinum Member
I don't really think this should be a factor-- like, hitting a drum is not supposed to require effort; it's not supposed to be an athletic thing where you're managing cycles of fatigue and recovery. That's the whole idea about technique-- one thing about it, anyway-- to do things the easy way so you're not getting fatigued.

I would be looking at your technique, but also at the things you're practicing. If it's mentally burning you out, play something else. Definitely do something else if you're not seeing improvement. There are way too many things to practice to be beating your brains out on one thing that isn't happening.


I don't really think this should be a factor-- like, hitting a drum is not supposed to require effort; it's not supposed to be an athletic thing where you're managing cycles of fatigue and recovery.
Yeah. It's mental fatigue mostly, I've been trying to do everything at once with the drums, like trying to learn a few songs in a couple of days or whatever. Trying new stuff all the time. Just your general hyperactivity and unfocused practice :)

Also, pushing my double bass practice to where I feel the burn on my shins and stuff like that takes a toll on my body, at least a bit.