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Top 5 Stretches for Drummers

13/10/2022

Stretching before drumming is sometimes overlooked by drummers. But if they’re not performed, you might encounter injuries that hinder your ability to play. This guide will discuss the five key stretches to perform before every session. We’ll show you how to do them properly and talk about the benefits of doing so.

1. The fingers

This stretch will help improve overall stick control and grip.

 

A man stretching his fingers before drumming

 

  • Start off with the palm of your hand facing the floor with your arm fully extended in front of you. Grip your hand tightly.

A drummer warming up before drumming

 

  • Secondly, slowly pull your fingers back towards your forearm until they are pointing completely upwards.

A drummer stretching his fingers in preparation for drumming

 

  • Repeat this 1-2 times per hand to loosen up every joint in your fingers.

This stretch will reduce lactic acid build-up (cramp) in your hands, wrists, and fingers. It allows you to maintain a strong grip throughout your playing as well as improve articulation in your wrists thanks to more dexterous fingers.

2. The wrists

This stretch improves drumming endurance, allowing you to play consistently for longer.

 

A drummer warming up his wrist before drumming

 

  • With a similar start as the previous stretch, grip your fingers tightly with the opposing hand.
  • Secondly, steadily pull downwards whilst keeping your forearm in the same spot and relaxing your wrist.
  • Repeat this 2-3 times per hand to really stretch out your forearm and wrist.

Performing this stretch will relax the brachioradialis – the main muscle in your forearm flexors – and loosen up your wrist. This will improve your rebound stability when hitting the drums and your endurance by allowing the muscle the get efficiently stronger over time.

3. Lower arms

These stretches will improve your power, particularly when striking cymbals that require a further reach than your snare and toms.

 

A drummer stretching his wrist with a drumstick before drumming

 

  • Firstly, you’ll need a pair of drumsticks.
  • With one hand, grip the tip end of the stick.

A man warming up his wrist before drumming

 

  • Next, with a fast motion, rotate your arm from right to left repetitively.
  • Keep doing this for 20-30 seconds per arm.

Performing this stretch will not only loosen up the muscles in your arm but also begin to stretch out your shoulder muscles. Due to the fast and repetitive motion of this stretch, the movement promotes blood flow to prevent any lactic acid from building up in your elbows and wrists. Again, this will improve endurance and speed when drumming.

4. Full arms

These stretches will improve your fluidity around the kit, allowing you to reach the cymbals and get to your toms quicker.

 

A drummer stretching his arms whilst holding a drumstick

 

  • Hold either end of your drumsticks with your palms facing upwards.

A drummer bending his arms whilst holding a drumstick, ensuring a deep stretch before drumming

 

  • Following this, bring your second hand inwards in the same motion.

A man stretching his arms before drumming

 

  • Fold one arm towards your body, keeping the other hand facing upwards whilst still gripping the stick.

A drummer stretching out his arms whilst holding a drumstick

 

  • From this position, slowly push outwards until your arms are straight.
  • Hold this position for 3-5 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.

Although this stretch is slightly more complex, it targets every muscle in your arm. During the motion of this stretch, you’ll feel your biceps and triceps (the main upper arm muscles) extend and contract, allowing for smooth movement and muscle relaxation. Drumming uses all the muscles in your arms, so this stretch is one of the most important to loosen and prepare us for playing.

5. Ankles

This stretch benefits our kick drum playing, assisting control, dynamics, and power.

 

Ankle stretch for drummers

 

  • Lift one foot off the floor and point your toes.

A man wearing jeans warming up his ankles before drumming

 

  • Bring your foot back around to the front.

A man stretching his ankles before drumming

 

  • Secondly, rotate your foot in a circular motion, slowly.

An ankle stretch to do before drumming, with a Premier drum in the background

 

  • Repeat this motion 5-6 times.

Both feet are used when drumming, so it’s important to stretch out the ankles and toes. It enables better control, syncing your mind to your body. Performing this stretch will extend your Achilles tendon (the tendon connecting your heel to your leg) and the extensor tendons on the top of your foot.

FAQs

Should you stretch before drumming?

Yes. Stretching before drumming will massively reduce the chance of injury while you are playing and allow you to build the mind-body connection to the muscles used when drumming.

How do you loosen your wrists for drums?

Step 2 of this guide will walk you through how to loosen your wrists efficiently for all styles of drumming, from short to long sessions. Make sure to perform the stretches in a slow and controlled way to gain the most from them.

Is drumming hard on your body?

The drums are some of the most strenuous instruments out there. Playing them is physically demanding; it uses almost every muscle in the human body and without proper warm-ups or stretches beforehand, you could risk injury.

When should I stretch and how often?

Stretching too much can have an adverse effect on your drumming performance and should be moderated according to how often you play. Try stretching right before your drumming session – even 5 minutes will take care of your joints and muscles, optimising your playing and letting you enjoy drumming for longer!

Final thoughts

Stretching before playing is essential for a healthy and prolonged drumming career. Easily incorporated into your drumming sessions, whether performances, recordings, or just home practice, these key stretches will benefit your playing in multiple ways Not only will they enable you to play for longer, but they will also improve your technique at a faster rate.

 

Joe is an enthusiastic drummer who has been drumming for 12 years. He plays Heavy Metal and Djent on drums and also plays some electric guitar in his spare time.

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