Left Foot Stamina/Technique (8th notes) - best approach ?

Maxlev_drummer

New member
Hey all!
I recently have been working on getting my foot independence, and in particular constant 8th notes on the hi hat with my left foot. I’ve noticed after a while my hip flexors start to really tire out (not pain, just muscle fatigue) especially 8th notes at 85 bpm and up. I’m wondering if anyone else had this experience. Is this a conditioning issue, something where after a while I will build enough strength that this won’t happen (like building shin muscles for heel down)? Or is it a technique issue? I’m doing my best to use my calves and hip flexors and not just one or the other. I’ve been practicing this particular skill for about 2 months. Thanks!
 

eddypierce

Senior Member
Kim Plainfield describes a side to side motion for continuous 8ths on the hi-hat (with the foot) in his book Advanced Concepts. I've found it quite helpful. It reduces the amount of up and down motion the leg has to make, so you might want to check that out.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
Kim Plainfield describes a side to side motion for continuous 8ths on the hi-hat (with the foot) in his book Advanced Concepts. I've found it quite helpful. It reduces the amount of up and down motion the leg has to make, so you might want to check that out.
This is a great technique.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Two months isn't very long. Your body may need to adapt to the new demands you're placing on it. If your discomfort persists, you might consult an instructor who can certify the integrity of your technique. A simple adjustment may alleviate your woes.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
You may be sitting too low.
This is also my first thought. It's not really an issue of stamina for me to press down on the hat pedal. I'd bet you're moving more than you need to. Adjust the seat so your thighs are slightly angled downwards.
 
Hey all!
I recently have been working on getting my foot independence, and in particular constant 8th notes on the hi hat with my left foot. I’ve noticed after a while my hip flexors start to really tire out (not pain, just muscle fatigue) especially 8th notes at 85 bpm and up. I’m wondering if anyone else had this experience. Is this a conditioning issue, something where after a while I will build enough strength that this won’t happen (like building shin muscles for heel down)? Or is it a technique issue? I’m doing my best to use my calves and hip flexors and not just one or the other. I’ve been practicing this particular skill for about 2 months. Thanks!
Are you playing heel up or heel down? It sounds like it just might be general fatigue of the exercise. I remember when I started getting into left foot stuff around 10th grade it took quite a while for me to get used to it. This video of old school Taylor Hawkins was one of my main inspirations:
Then I started noticing most of the rock heroes could do it too... Tre Cool, Travis Barker, Chad Smith. Bouncing that left foot to 8ths.
 
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toddbishop

Platinum Member
I’m doing my best to use my calves and hip flexors and not just one or the other.
I don't use either of those. At least it doesn't feel like it. It's more about pressure with your toe-- basically push with your toe so your heel lifts. That's the basic dynamic-- you can play with that to make it into a technique for playing the hihat. I guess that activates your calf, but that's not what's initiating the motion. The hip should be totally passive.
 

eddypierce

Senior Member
For the side to side motion, is the pivot point at the knee, thigh/hip or elsewhere? I just wonder if a pivot at the knee is somewhat rough on it.

Is this mostly used only for a short period of time so the turning at the knee (if that’s the case) isn’t a problem?

Thanks
Here's a link that actually shows the page of the book where he describes it (the "Side to Side" motion: https://books.google.com/books?id=EtETyQpviNsC&pg=PA18&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false
 

cornelius

Silver Member
Thank you for the link. I am just not sure if long term use of that motion is healthy for my leg. The heel goes back and forth, from one side of the pedal to the other. My thinking on pivot point relates to which part of the upper leg bends or twists to allow that motion. Is it at the knee or somewhere else?

I’ll have to experiment a bit. The issue could just be that I have poor flexibility at the ankle and knee.
I've been doing this technique since the early 90's with no physical issues. I play with my heel pretty low off the pedal and pivot on the ball of my foot - the amount that I move my heel in and out is less than the illustration in Kim's book.

To strengthen your ankles, try Dom Famularo's Combination Exercises. It's an exercise to work on accuracy between your limbs, but it's also a great way to strengthen your feet.
 

jazzerooty

Junior Member
The side to side swivel is what I use. It enables you to play faster without cramping up your calf and thigh. This was a Tony Williams technique that I'm sure he got from some other drummer. Watch the Tony instructional video of his Dallas workshop. Watch how he dances so lightly on the pedal. Terrific power and speed without the burnout.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
I'd say push it, but not to the point of injury, and let it build up. In bicycle racing they have a saying: To ride fast, you have to ride fast. No substitute for doing.
 
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iCe

Senior Member
Endurance, endurance, endurance.... i still have with some songs that i unconsciously play the hi-hat with my foot and near the end of the song i notice my leg is starting to freeze up. Also, i moved my throne a few cm up and that really does make a difference!

Also really important that you play relaxed, don't force things.
 

Phil A.

Junior Member
One thing I've been focusing on lately is lowering the "stroke" height so that not every chick is a full stomp volume. It's the same principle as feathering the bass drum in a jazz tune, where you're not letting the beater rebound to its fullest potential. Especially at faster tempos, the beater will barely be leaving the head. Hi hat 8th notes will always take some stamina but at least you'll be making it easier on yourself by reducing the leg motion. If your hi hat stand has the adjustment, you can also try playing around with the spring tension. Hope this helps!
 
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