Warming up is an essential part of a healthy drumming career. Not only does it allow you to loosen up your joints, but it also reacquaints you with your kit layout. Before sitting down at your kit, check out our top 5 stretches for drummers!
Throughout this article, I’ll be using the official notation to explain some of the rudiments:
Right = R
Left = L
Kick pedal = K
Hi-hat pedal = HHP
Without further ado, here are the top five drumming warm-up exercises to try out.
Single snare strokes
A super easy warm–up to start with is single snare stokes.
Start slowly and gradually speed up.
Then, gradually slow down again with RLRL strokes.
Repeat this four to five times to loosen your wrists and connect your mind and body.
This simple exercise is great to start off with as it helps you find your drumstick balance as well as familiarise yourself with the drum heads’ rebound.
A great rudiment to stimulate your control around the kit. Paradiddles are relatively straightforward to perform, consisting of an RLRR LRLL stroke pattern.
This is best performed on the snare for ease. However, incorporating it across the snare and toms will warm up your hand-eye coordination and control.
Perform this exercise for 30 seconds to a minute for the best warm-up results.
Single-stroke snare, kick drum, hi-hat strokes
Of course, it’s easy to forget when they’re tucked away at your drum kit, but warming up your legs and feet is fundamental to efficient, healthy playing.
A great way to warm up your legs and feet is a left-right kick, right-left hi-hat pedal pattern: L R K, R L HHP and repeat.
Perform this pattern slowly to start with and gradually speed up to as fast as you can go.
Not only will this exercise prepare your legs and arms, but it will also hone your hand-feet coordination, so you can get the most out of your drumming session.
Moving onto a slightly more advanced exercise, triplets will warm up your hands and wrists.
If applied to the rest of the drum kit, i.e. rack toms and floor tom, triplets will also warm up your upper arms and shoulders.
To perform the triplet, count your strokes like “1 trip-let, 2 trip-let” etc. Each number is accented. This accent can be performed around the toms with the rest of the triplet performed on the snare.
Inverted paradiddles are a great finishing rudiment to perform right before you start thrashing the kit.
Although they sound daunting, they’re quite simple as they just start halfway through the original pattern. The notation for this is RLLR LRRL and repeat.
Once this pattern is dialled in, gradually speed up and slow down your tempo and apply it to the rest of the kit. This will prepare your arms as well as your wrists and hands.
Spend a good amount of time performing this until you feel loosened up and ready to start your drumming session.
1. How should I warm up before drumming?
There are multiple drumming rudiments tailored to getting warmed up before playing. This article shows you the five key rudiments to perform that will warm up all the body parts used when drumming.
2. What muscles does drumming work out?
Drumming is extremely physical and, therefore, trains almost every single muscle in the human body.
The muscles in your arms are worked the most when exploring the drum kit. However, your leg muscles are also used significantly, especially with double kick playing, and your core muscles keep you balanced on the drum stool.
3. Should I stretch before drumming?
Yes. Stretching is super important to do before drumming. It prevents any injuries occurring during your drumming session and optimises your playing abilities.
Our Top 5 Stretches for Drummers article walks you through the best stretches to perform before beginning to warm up on the kit.
There’s a variety of products out there that are dedicated to warming up with and practising the drums.
WHD 10” Metronome Practice Pad
The WHD 10’’ Metronome Practice Pad is ideal for warming up.
Just apply some of the rudiments mentioned directly to the pad.
The built-in metronome works perfectly for keeping your rudiments in time.
Shop now | WHD 10″ Metronome Practice Pad
Korg MA-2 Digital Metronome Black/Red
Another great warm-up product is the Korg MA-2 Digital Metronome Black/Red.
This is your standard digital metronome with extra useful functions included, such as “timer” and “sound out” modes.
It’s great for getting your mind into a rhythmic state and keeping your warm-up rudiments controlled and consistent.
Shop now | Korg MA-2 Digital Metronome Black/Red
Vic Firth MS5 Corpsmaster Snare Drumsticks
Last but not least, there are the Vic Firth MS5 Corpsmaster Snare Drumsticks.
These are designed specifically for marching snare drums.
They’re great for warming up as they’re designed for speed, agility, and balance.
And they’ll make performing the warm-up rudiments effortless, meaning you’ll be ready to play in no time.
Shop now | Vic Firth MS5 Corpsmaster Snare Drumsticks
Now that you’re all warmed up, you’ll be less prone to any injuries whilst drumming. Plus, you’ll get the most out of your drum kit and drumming technique.
Warming up on your kit has two key purposes that make it essential to all drummers. Firstly, it loosens up your body for optimal playability and secondly, it hones your mind and drum kit connection as you familiarise yourself with your kit’s layout and accessibility.
Explore these tips and rudiments to optimise your drumming sessions, and most importantly, have fun with them!