Hand exercises


"Uncle Larry"
Has anyone here had a teacher who showed them hand exercises to develop a good grip? I'm not talking squeezing rubber balls or anything like that, I'm talking using a drumstick on the drum. I had a teacher in the 80's that showed me these incredible hand and foot exercises that totally stretched the muscles and tendons that you actually use for drumming. He told me that Buddy Rich developed these exercises. I practiced them balls out for over a year, and I gotta say doing them was the single best thing I've ever done. These exercises were so intense that I actually lost feeling in my fingers for 6 months, but now I have such a touch on the drum. The only thing I use my shoulders and forearms for are for getting my hands over the racks and floor toms, the rest is from the wrist joint to the fingers. I've never read anything about hand exercises here and was wondering if anyone else was taught them.


"Uncle Larry"
I will try to describe these hand exercises.
Bottom of wrists and forearms parallel to the floor, so your wrist has the movement of a hinge (very important)
The contact points for the stick are as follows:
Butt of stick at the center bottom of hand, not protruding to the wrist, in the crease created by the thumb
stick gets laid in the first joint of every finger
Thumb sticks out slightly in relation to the rest of the fingers
The stick should be at the same angle as the forearm. There should be no palm contact at all with the stick except at the butt end.
With your forearms parallel to the floor, raise the stick so it points at the ceiling, try to shoot for a 90 degree angle of the stick in relation to your forearm.
Here's the exercise part: Try to break the stick by squeezing your hand with the grip mentioned above, (you won't be able to break it obviously) and with the stick pointed at the ceiling, wham it down on the drumhead and bring it back up to the starting point while squeezing as hard as you can in one quick motion. The goal is ZERO FOREARM MOVEMENT. Pretend there are electrodes around your wrist and if you touch them you get zapped. You can do one stick at a time, or both together. Try to achieve a full 90 degree swing with the stick, all the time squeezing the bejesus out of it and DON"T MOVE THE FOREARM. Keep doing this, all the while adjusting your contact points, and turning your wrist so it is parallel to the floor, because the stick will want to go elsewhere, because it doesn't feel natural when you first try this, but always keep adjusting the stick so it touches the contact points mentioned above, and keep squeezing. After a few minutes of this, you feel pain, and that is the goal, to both strengthen and stretch the hell out of the muscles you actually use on the drumstick. Do that for a year and you will have killer hands. I just gave away a little known secret.


Platinum Member
I was taught similar exercises that you have just described in the late sixties when I was learning to play in a Drum Corps in Connecticut. They were extremely helpful and I still use them today for warming up. I was told that they would stretch and strengthen the muscles in the hands. Buddy Rich was never mentioned though.