Rock 'n' Roll Drummers Are As Fit As Sports Stars

Erberderber

Senior Member
I teach English in Italy and in one of my textbooks there is an exercise which describes rock 'n' roll drummers. How accurate do you think the description is? One thing I can say is that it definitely doesn't describe me! Here it is...

"Bands are made up of talented people, each with their own role and status within the group. But drummers are different.
Doctors monitored drummers during rehearsals and live performances and their findings were surprising. Many drummers are as fit as elite athletes. Good drumming requires a combination of physical and mental agility, and fitness is vital. During a performance a drummer can lose 2 litres of fluid and burn off hundreds of calories. One described it as having a three-hour workout every night. Modern drummers often follow strict fitness regimes, working with personal trainers and sticking to a special diet. Several hours before a performance, many start warming up by up by doing stretching exercises; like athletes they eat bananas to keep up their energy levels and take specially prepared energy drinks with them on stage. The comparison between drummers and sports stars seems fair."

The book does not state the source of this article. Does this describe you??!
 

Blisco

Senior Member
I would say so. It's a good workout for sure. Somewhat limited, though.

I usually work out 90-120 minutes a day, 5 days a week on cardio and weights/strength just to be able to stay fit to rock n roll.

Today is a great example. I was at the gym for 2 hours. Got the full body treatment. Then work for 8 hours with a lot more walking. Then I play tonight for 3 hours. It will be a good calorie burning day. If I can only avoid the after-gig pizza and limit the beers :)

I'm more impressed that our semi-stationary guitar players get so sweaty. Strap marks across their back and all LOL
 

Erberderber

Senior Member
I would say it's about the fifth time this article has been mentioned.
I was unaware of that, I came across the article during a lesson today and was curious to see what people thought about it and didn't consider going through the archive first, so my apologies.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
I teach English in Italy and in one of my textbooks there is an exercise which describes rock 'n' roll drummers. How accurate do you think the description is? One thing I can say is that it definitely doesn't describe me! Here it is...

"Bands are made up of talented people, each with their own role and status within the group. But drummers are different.
Doctors monitored drummers during rehearsals and live performances and their findings were surprising. Many drummers are as fit as elite athletes. Good drumming requires a combination of physical and mental agility, and fitness is vital. During a performance a drummer can lose 2 litres of fluid and burn off hundreds of calories. One described it as having a three-hour workout every night. Modern drummers often follow strict fitness regimes, working with personal trainers and sticking to a special diet. Several hours before a performance, many start warming up by up by doing stretching exercises; like athletes they eat bananas to keep up their energy levels and take specially prepared energy drinks with them on stage. The comparison between drummers and sports stars seems fair."

The book does not state the source of this article. Does this describe you??!

I would say 'some', definitely not all. Some rock drummers (as well as jazz, any style) are not in good shape. You can be proficient at the kit, and still be on the edge of a heart attack.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I would say 'some', definitely not all. Some rock drummers (as well as jazz, any style) are not in good shape. You can be proficient at the kit, and still be on the edge of a heart attack.
Yep, I would agree with that. I am drumming fit and and do a couple of gym sessions a week. 3 hours hard drumming is no problem, but an elite athlete??? Hardly.

Most have no perception of just how fit elite athletes are, they are physical freaks. I know, I coached elite juniors and they were on another plane, the seniors are even further removed from the average fitness junkie.
 

Headbanger

Senior Member
So many rock 'n' roll drummers continue performing into old age, when sports stars would have been forced to retire long ago. Others have serious medical conditions, problems with alcohol and drugs, are heavy smokers, eat junk food. If drumming required the same level of fitness as, say, boxing, how many of our favourite drummers would even get a gig?
 

Erberderber

Senior Member
So many rock 'n' roll drummers continue performing into old age, when sports stars would have been forced to retire long ago. Others have serious medical conditions, problems with alcohol and drugs, are heavy smokers, eat junk food. If drumming required the same level of fitness as, say, boxing, how many of our favourite drummers would even get a gig?
That's what I was thinking when I read the article. Think back to the late 80s, are we seriously assuming that Steve Adler and Carl Lewis had the same levels of fitness? Also I find the bit about personal trainers and specially prepared energy drinks a bit far fetched. Not very rock 'n' roll is it? But I'm not a pro so what do I know?
 

opentune

Platinum Member
umm just have a look at Bernard Purdie, QuestLove,... Buddy Guys drummer...several others. It requires a different kind of 'fitness' not akin to sports athletics
 

Brian

Gold Member
umm just have a look at Bernard Purdie, QuestLove,... Buddy Guys drummer...several others. It requires a different kind of 'fitness' not akin to sports athletics
The article is about rock n roll drummers and also says "many" drummers as a qualifier. I tend to agree with it, mostly when talking about high-energy music and drumming that is strenuous.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
There is a certain type of fitness to drumming, but i don't think it equates to higher level athletes.

As has been mentioned, I know some guys that are kick-ass drummers here locally that would not be considered to be in good shape, in fact a few of them appear to be in horrible shape physically.

I do agree that drumming is great exercise, just a different sort of exercise. I also know that as I age, I need to approach things differently when I'm gigging. It used to be no big deal to do a whole-night gig on a short nights rest, or having a couple of pops thru the night. Last night, for example, I didn't have that full nights rest, and a had a Jack Daniels with friends at the venue as well. By the end of the night, I could tell the difference.

I am needing to approach it with more of an athletes mindset, more and more lately. At least rest-wise, and eating/drinking night of gig.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
Not even fast twitch muscles and reflexes??
Of course there are similarities in certain areas, but the title says "Rock 'n' Roll Drummers Are As Fit As Sports Stars".

"Fit" like a sports star would be a whole 'nother level of physical ability than what most (or perhaps "many") drummers would be able to be considered.

And yes, there are physical traits that drummers would possess that sports stars wouldn't compare to. I just don't consider them a measure of "fitness" as the term means to me.
 

Brian

Gold Member
"Fit" like a sports star would be a whole 'nother level of physical ability than what most (or perhaps "many") drummers would be able to be considered.
Just playing devil's advocate, but the word fit and fitness can mean a variety of things. Race car drivers are "sports stars" in a way, for example.
 

picodon

Silver Member
For sure drumming can be somewhat tiring, but I think it's a little pretentious to compare your 3 hours concert drumming to a guy who runs a marathon during the same time.

This discussion can be easily objectivized if someone straps a heart freq monitor on during a concert to see what happens. I'm sure it will rarely make it even just in the aerobic range.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Just playing devil's advocate, but the word fit and fitness can mean a variety of things. Race car drivers are "sports stars" in a way, for example.
Maybe the author meant Drummers are as fit as Sports Cars.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Just playing devil's advocate, but the word fit and fitness can mean a variety of things. Race car drivers are "sports stars" in a way, for example.
Good point. Darts and billiards are sports as well. I wonder about fitness for them.
 
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