How to progress on Tommy Igoe's Lifetime Warmup?


I've been working on Tommy Igoe's Lifetime Warmup for about 3 months now and I can only do the Beginner Section 120 bpm (not 130 bpm like it's written). I am stuck at 120 bpm for 3 weeks now. Ruffs, 1x/2x/3x paradiddles is very hard at 130 bpm.

How should I practice?

Should I keep doing the Beginner Section and work on increasing speed? Or should I try doing the Advanced Section slowly in my own pace? Any more tips would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance drummers!


Senior Member
The key to playing faster is playing slower…MUCH slower. It's all about getting the mechanics under your hands so that they're completely second nature, like using a fork, or brushing your teeth. Of course there is something to be said for pushing (if you're stuck at 120 try 122), but for the most part to get faster we must first go slower.

I do have beef with Tommy's DVD in that he equates "level" with tempo. He plays the advanced warm up pretty damn fast. But I think even players who aren't "advanced" should be working through the advanced warm-up, just at a slower tempo.

As far as I'm concerned, the answer to both of your questions is yes. Work on upping the tempo of the beginners warm-up if that's what you're comfortable with, but you should also be working through the intermediate and advanced warm-ups at whatever tempo is comfortable for you.

Good luck!


Silver Member
I feel that the tempos are guides.

120 is a decent tempo so if you want move to the intermediate section.

When you move to the new section you actually have to slow down to be able to play it so what happens is that you end up refining those parts of the beginner section while wrking up to the new tempo.

By the time you get back to 120 those parts are way way cleaner, smoother and crisper.

Also remember to work on those parts of the warmup in isolation so for instance
play the lifetime a warmup!

then spend 5 minutes playing the 3 stroke ruff. Through those 5 minutes move the tempo band up if it becomes easier.

Hope that helps man. If you have any more questions then do ask cos I've been using and teaching it since it came out.



Silver Member
Hi Daxz222
Agree with what has been stated..after working with warmup for years...I am at 144BMP for full warmup( flams section 98BPM). Once I got the basic to 130BPM to started working with full warmup.
I did and still work this warmup at 53 BPM. Much of my practice routine is as 53BPM at the pad and the drumset.
It's a tempo that my brain can comprehend drumming task.


Platinum Member
I think maybe it's time to just do something else. Maybe that particular work has shown you all it has for you for right now. Snare drum books are cheap-- Stick Control, or Accent & Rebounds, or Rudimental Swing Solos, or Master Studies 1 and 2, or Book 2 of Haskell Harr, or any number of other things will cost you about $10-15, and are full of essential stuff.


Silver Member
I'll tell you about my experience with the Lifetime Warmup. Its a bit different from yours but maybe you can take something from it.

So I got it in 2011. I'd already been playing for over ten years, and right away was able to pull off the Intermediate at 150 (I had to work out a few kinks though; for example, I had never played a left hand paradiddle-diddle in my life so I had to get that going, despite the fact I've been able to do to right hand paradiddle-diddles at like 200 bpm since high school).

But then I got lazy and didn't really progress until earlier this year. So when I moved on to advanced, I made sure I got the advanced licks (alternate paradiddles, triplet rolls, etc.) up to 150 so that everything was in line and equal. That took a few months. And again, it started really slow. I know for the alternate paradiddles, just learning them, I set my metronome to 100 to click 16th notes, and slowly built them up until I can play them at 150 with just quarter note clicks. I felt that helped quite a bit, and I'm sure that can help with your paradiddles.

Once I got everything at 150, I took the playalong mp3's and slowed them down to different speeds. So base its 180, I then made a 150, 160, and 170 version. I would play along with the 150 version for a couple of weeks, then up to the 160, etc. That helped quite a bit too, built up my stamina for the 10+ minute workout. However, I've been stuck at 170 for the past 2 months, I can't seem to make the jump to 180, I think I barely pulled it off once but I'm considering that a fluke. So I made a 175 version and that feels good for me now.

So based on my experience, there's a few things you can try yourself in there. Do things slower, set your metronome to count 16th notes, and line up everything with those 16th notes. Also, slow down the playalongs to different speeds, maybe with 5 bpm increments, and when one becomes comfortable, move up to the next one, until you get to 130.


Junior Member
I actually skipped the beginner and intermediate section and went right into advanced section. I did, however reduce the speed to 50% (I have an app for that). It was good for me because it forced me to play everything slow, around 5 months later, I can do the beginner and intermediate section at full speed.


Silver Member
Its a great dvd and routine. I think the one thing about this and ge doesn't spell this out. Its a maintenance work out, treat it like one. To learn patterns you need to play them slowly for a decy period of time not practice 15 at once. Once you have the muscle memory you need to maintain it. This where a routine like this comes into its own. Don't rush this stuff and don't worry about bpm, in fact juat play at the same slow tempo its quicker progress and you don't need to bend down to change your metronome settings ;)


Silver Member
Another thing to try is different stick sizes. I usually pad with Vic Firth MS2's. Fat marching sticks, really heavy. Just for kicks and giggles the other night I switched to my regular 5a's, which really felt funny on a drum pad. But I was able to actually pull off the 180 with only a few hiccups.

So that led me to thinking. Try lighter sticks at the faster speeds so you can get used to the tempo and the muscle memory without worrying about endurance, then increase your stick size so you can play it full bore without fatigue.


Senior Member
I recently got this DVD and have been running through different exercises using the beginner or as my warm up for around 30-60 minutes then work on the mechanics of one exercise at a time that don't feel natural to me.

An example(for myself) is flam paradiddles with the accent on the E.

fRll fLrr

I play it extremely slow!

With this DVD, I think it's extremely important to sit in front of the TV with your practice pad and start with the grip/fulcrum section untill your playing it EXACTLY like Tommy!!!! I don't care how you've learned in the past, play it like he did and really look at your hands to compare to his. Look at his body posture, wrist height/position, fingers, etc. Do NOT skip this until you are hands are matching his and can really feel where that fulcrum will be in your hand. Nothing forced!!! If it takes a year to get this down then that's fine, but don't skip forward until you master your own hands for each exercise!!!

It's so important to get it right before moving on

If you get it down to where you want it, then you can try your own technical approach with the warm up. Maybe French grip or German grip and different technique exercises.

I've been playing for 15 years and was tired of forcing my hands/body to play what is on my mind (still learning) and this has helped me tremendously to relax.

I think this is the best instructional DVD out there for learning to really get both hands flowing naturally and the thread deserved a bump.

Thanks to Tommy for sharing this knowledge!


Senior Member
I've been working on Great Hands for about 3 1/2 years now, every day. When I began, I was a "returning" drummer that had been noodling with sticks on and off for years. So, my basic rudiments were already in fairly good shape at around the the Intermediate speed (but I didn't know all the stickings in the Intermediate yet).

I started with the Basic. The way I did it was to play along to the provided recording with the notation in front of me. When I ran into a part that I couldn't do, I'd practice just that particular pattern at slower speeds every day until it was ready, then return to the recording until I hit another sore spot. Rinse, repeat.

It took about 3 months to get the Basic down, and then I did the same with the Intermediate, which took about a year! I'm still working on the Advanced, and can only do about half of it.

Don't worry about speed, especially if you're not playing along to the recording. As others have said, speed is best developed by practicing slowly, ad nausium. Contrary to common wisdom, speed in not as much about muscle development as it seems. It's way more about developing precision and endurance; and that comes from hours and hours of practice at comfortable speeds. Yes, it is important to push speed every now and again, but when you're ready, that push won't be too hard.


Platinum Member
I've been working on Tommy Igoe's Lifetime Warmup for about 3 months now and I can only do the Beginner Section 120 bpm (not 130 bpm like it's written). I am stuck at 120 bpm for 3 weeks now. Ruffs, 1x/2x/3x paradiddles is very hard at 130 bpm.

How should I practice?

Should I keep doing the Beginner Section and work on increasing speed? Or should I try doing the Advanced Section slowly in my own pace? Any more tips would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance drummers!

Don't fake it. In your case, you should consider the tempos rigid guidelines. Until you can nail everything in the Beginner section at 130 (or better) don't bother with the rest. Work extra on the stickings that are lagging behind. Stick to it, and bump your tempo up in tiny increments. Ten BPM won't take you that long if you really get to work. Check your impatience and ego at the door and take a very long term view. Trust the process. When you've nailed them all at 130+ you can pat yourself on the back for sticking to your guns and doing it right which is a more important skill than faster rudiments in the big scheme of things.

As mentioned above, if there's any "dirt" in your motions, you may hit a ceiling on certain rudiments. Super slow practice being careful to really refine your movement patterns is a good way to get things running again. Get a teacher even for a session or two to ensure your basic motions (Full, Down, Up, Tap) are in working order and that you're combining them smoothly and with control.

In the meantime, forget about speed and try doing the whole thing at 60 BPM for a couple of weeks but really focusing on the precision of your movements. Be as mindful as possible of the feeling, look and sound of each rudiment and even each hand within each rudiment. Don't add anything unnecessary and focused on staying so relaxed the sticks nearly come out of your hands. In order to play quicker the series of motions on any particular hand must become one impulse rather than separate movements. After two week of this, bump the metronome back up and see what happens.


New member
Hi all
im very out of practice
how many times in succession or per day or both would you practice the beginner warmup to build up left hand.
the 130 tempo is ok but twice through and my left hand is waining.
twice through, 3 times per day?
do you think i would see a definite improvement doing this everyday for a month?

what other regimes would help build my left hand, stick control book?


Silver Member
Earlier in the quarantine Tommy Igoe on social media had a challenge where he wanted all drummers to do the Lifetime Warmup 3 times a day, throughout the day (not all at once). I try to do that, by try I mean it's usually only one time because of work and other creative obligations I have, but I think it's a solid goal and easily obtainable to anybody at any of the skill levels.