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Good Exercises for Drummers
Drumming is a deceptively challenging physical activity that requires excellent posture, muscular endurance, strength and physical stamina. Exercises for drummers should target the muscles that are most vulnerable during a prolonged drumming session, including your neck, shoulders and lower back. If you're a drummer, you also should consider performing regular aerobic activity to boost your energy levels and improve your cardiovascular conditioning.
Perfect Posture Exercise
The perfect posture exercise is helpful for drummers because of the postural strain experienced while playing drums. The necessity of positioning your arms and hands in front of your body to drum creates the tendency in some drummers to arch their back and hang on the ligaments of their spine. The perfect posture exercise introduces extension movement into your thoracic spine and helps correct the tone of your overactive muscles. Perform your perfect posture exercises by sitting on the edge of your chair. Place your feet about shoulder-width apart and roll forward until you have a noticeable curve in your lumbar spine. Drop your arms to your sides and turn your palms over, so that they're facing forward, as much as possible; you should feel a light stretch in your forearm flexor muscles. Lower your shoulders down and back, pushing out your chest and pulling your collar bones back. Tuck your chin to your throat, then move your head backward until your ears are in vertical alignment with your shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds, breathing deeply through your nose throughout the course of this stretch. Perform this stretch before, while and after you drum, and then two to three times per day on the days that you're not drumming.
Neck Active Range of Motion Stretching
Because of the arrangement of conventional drum sets and the physical demands of drumming, it's common for drummers to crane their necks. According to The Chiropractic Resource Organization, for every inch your head moves forward, your head effectively gains 10 lbs. of weight, based on the amount of force and strain applied to your upper back and neck tissues. This causes your suboccipital muscles -- your chin-raising muscles situated at the base of your skull -- to remain under almost constant contraction, which may cause headaches at the base of your skull. Neck active range of motion exercises help stretch tight neck muscles and mobilize your spinal joints in multiple directions.
Perform neck exercises by first slowly flexing your neck forward, then titling it back until you reach your end range of motion. You can use your fingertips to add some light pressure at your end ranges of motion, which will enhance your stretch. Return your head to a neutral, upright position, then bend your left ear toward your left shoulder, then your right ear to right shoulder. Finish your exercises by rotating your head to your end range of motion on your left, then on your right. All movements should be slow and cautious, and you should feel a gentle stretch in your neck muscles at your end range of motion. Add additional light pressure to your skull with your fingertips as needed.
Low Back Stabilization Exercise
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, your intervertebral discs are under constant pressure, especially while sitting, and even more so if you're sitting and slouching. If you're a drummer, it's important that you perform low back stabilization exercises in conjunction with other exercises to improve your posture while drumming. Consider performing the quadruped exercise on a daily basis to protect your back from injury. Perform your quadruped exercise by assuming an all-fours position on the floor. Keep your thigh and knees in vertical alignment with your hips and your elbows and hands in vertical alignment with your shoulders. Your knees should be about hip-width apart. This is your starting position. Keeping your hips stable and your torso parallel to the floor, slowly and simultaneously lift your right arm and left leg until they're both in line with your torso, parallel to the floor. Hold your position for 20 to 30 seconds before lowering your limbs to your starting position. Switch the direction and repeat this exercise using your other limbs. Perform five repetitions using both sides of your body, three times a week.
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.