Drumming is as physically demanding as it is mental. Without the proper warm up and stretching exercises, one might find themselves with a serious injury, or even worse, a bad practice session or performance. Although the drums require the use of the whole body, some parts are used more frequently than others and should be taken care of first.
The arms should be extended from side to side and swung back and forth until the shoulders feel loose. The hands should simply be rotated in small circles until the wrists feel lax, but at a slow pace, not too fast. The forearms should also feel slack as you work the wrists, making sure to pay attention to the speed so the full effect of the work out can be gained.
Most drum sets will come with a bass drum and peddle, so after a good five minute warm up of the arms… the legs, feet, and ankles should be focused on. The same rotation calisthenics can be used for the ankles as were with the wrists. The lower legs, up to the knee, should also feel the tightening and loosening of the muscles as the ankle is moved in a loop.
Make sure to keep a steady pace for the same amount of time, as was used for the arms and wrists. Next the legs should be lifted to work the thighs and gluts, along with a few jumping jacks for cardio, whole body extension, and blood flow. Once the ten minutes of warming up are done, you should be fully prepared, and limber enough, to sit down and start to work the most important part of the body – your fingers.
A practice pad should be used when working the fingers – they are light weight, can be used anywhere, and dampen the noise just enough to not exasperate anyone who might be around you; also preparing for the performance or show. Start lightly by doing a simple cadence, nothing to vigorous, and continue your rhythm, moving ever more vigorously into a crescendo.
If the body still feels stiff at this point, stop practicing, and repeat the previous exercises until the body feels loose again. Then, repeat the same practice beat, moving faster and faster into the crescendo to see if the arms, wrists, and fingers are working properly. Eventually you will want to work the feet into the equation. Again, start off light and slow, progressing into a more enthusiastic tempo; gauging the body for any more tightness.
Once the feet have thoroughly been worked, you can carry on with the dynamic rhythms, making sure to work both the hands and the feet until you feel confident enough that you are fully warmed up and the body has no tightness whatsoever. Don’t be fooled by the simple physical appearance of the warming and stretching exercises. They are also for preparing the mind; the mind must me clear, serene, and “in the zone”, just as the body must be warmed up and loosened before any performance.