Warming Up Before Gigs

Posted: August 27, 2010 10:06 AM

Andy Doerschuk_1

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I once had Louie Bellson tell me during an interview that he never warmed up before playing a show. He trained himself to go onstage cold and didn’t want to become dependent on a warm up routine, so that on the rare occasion when he would get to a venue late, he would be able to go straight onstage and deliver a good performance. It seemed so counterintuitive and the exact opposite of what most other drummers had ever told me about their pre-show rituals, but the proof was in the pudding.

The funny thing is that I rarely ever get a chance to warm up before going onstage, and I can’t say that I see many adverse effects because of it. However, I do tend to warm up my hands before I play bigger shows, I believe as a way to counteract nerves more than anything else. So when I do get to warm up I usually just play on a pad along to any music being played on the jukebox or over the P.A. system. I start off by just playing a simple beat along with the groove to get the blood flowing, and gradually begin playing single-stroke rolls in time.

Do you have a warm-up routine to share with the troops?

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Posted: August 29, 2010 10:15 AM

guarilio989

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my warm-up usually consists of tapping my hands against my legs to the beat of whatever band is before us or the house music or whatever just to get the “blood flowing” and to get my head in the game. after that, everything else just seems to fall into place

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Posted: August 31, 2010 01:11 PM

David Pak

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To loosen up the shoulders you may also look into the “Broomstick Shoulder Dislocation” stretch. For those not familiar it’s not as masochistic as the name sounds. It’s an active stretch and for portability you can swap out the broomstick for a rope.

Posted: August 31, 2010 01:46 PM

David Pak

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+1 on Hydration before and after.

In general… when you’re young you tend to feel like you are indestructible. You can get away with a lot because your body bounces back but as you get older things start to add up. Treat yourself like the athletes you are.

Posted: August 31, 2010 01:54 PM

Andy Doerschuk_1

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I used to have an enormous problem with cramping onstage. It was sometimes just excruciating to finish a song while my entire right or left leg was fully knotted up. I tried everything from Gatorade to bananas to potassium tablets, but in the end only one thing worked: I began working out regularly at the gym, doing weight training and cardio. It didn’t take long before my leg cramps became a thing of the past. I don’t miss them at all.

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Posted: September 01, 2010 09:37 AM

dreeddrums

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you know iv heard that working out is bad for drummers because it reduces limberness but i work out on a regular basis too, what are your thoughts about this? i normally just try and stretch before and after and hold for about 30 sec i was told 15 stretch’s the muscle and 30 lengthens it so i figure that will help me keep my arms and legs from tightening up to much.

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Posted: September 01, 2010 11:23 AM

David Pak

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Dreeddrums - 01 September 2010 09:37 AM

you know iv heard that working out is bad for drummers because it reduces limberness but i work out on a regular basis too, what are your thoughts about this? i normally just try and stretch before and after and hold for about 30 sec i was told 15 stretch’s the muscle and 30 lengthens it so i figure that will help me keep my arms and legs from tightening up to much.

You might want to look up dynamic stretching. I’m no doctor [and I don’t play one on TV] but the idea as I understand it with dynamic stretching pre activity is to prep your body to basically prep your body for work. The concern with static stretching - holding for 15 or 30 seconds - is that you can actually temporarily weaken the tendons resulting in less bounce for the ounce.

For example if you were a runner the sequence would be walk around a little, a quick light jog, very brief temp run and then some dynamic stretches and perhaps another quick light jog/temp work. The idea being to get some blood flowing and then prepare the body for sustained effort, temp and reach without actually stressing the ligaments to the point of fatigue… think rubber band that gets stretched too far.

Posted: September 01, 2010 11:40 AM

Rev.D.

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I try to warm up a half hour before a show. My warm up consists of 3 sets of 10 calf raises(both legs), followed by 6 sets of 10 individual calf raises(3 sets for the left, than 3 sets for the right). I also play an 8th, 16th, 32nd, triplet exercise with my legs and arms together(usually on a chair). Then I will take 5 minutes right before the show to relax. The older I get, the more important warming up becomes.

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Posted: September 01, 2010 11:45 AM

David Pak

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Rev.D. - 01 September 2010 11:40 AM

I try to warm up a half hour before a show. My warm up consists of 3 sets of 10 calf raises(both legs), followed by 6 sets of 10 individual calf raises(3 sets for the left, than 3 sets for the right). I also play an 8th, 16th, 32nd, triplet exercise with my legs and arms together(usually on a chair). Then I will take 5 minutes right before the show to relax. The older I get, the more important warming up becomes.

+1 on this.

Really like the 5 minutes. Not too long so that you cool down again but enough time to get your mind right.

Posted: September 01, 2010 12:25 PM

Andy Doerschuk_1

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bashboomcrash - 01 September 2010 09:46 AM

I think as long as you aren’t doing a bunch of bulking up with heavy weight training, limberness shouldn’t be affected.

It’s funny, but I had the opposite experience. I had always just assumed that weight training would negatively impact my limberness, but when I really got into serious weightlifting several years ago I found that I could do more on the kit with less effort, plus my endurance shot up greatly. It was actually a real breakthrough for me. Perhaps everybody is just wired differently, though.

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Posted: September 01, 2010 12:56 PM

Rev.D.

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Andy Doerschuk - 01 September 2010 12:25 PM


but when I really got into serious weightlifting several years ago I found that I could do more on the kit with less effort, plus my endurance shot up greatly.

My weight lifting exercises are simply to keep tone. However, it does help me with building endurance as well. Sometimes those “short” gigs end up feeling really long and endurance comes in handy.

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A good drummer will sound good on anything. A Bad drummer will sound bad on anything.

Posted: September 01, 2010 12:58 PM

Rev.D.

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David Pak - 01 September 2010 11:45 AM
Rev.D. - 01 September 2010 11:40 AM

I try to warm up a half hour before a show. My warm up consists of 3 sets of 10 calf raises(both legs), followed by 6 sets of 10 individual calf raises(3 sets for the left, than 3 sets for the right). I also play an 8th, 16th, 32nd, triplet exercise with my legs and arms together(usually on a chair). Then I will take 5 minutes right before the show to relax. The older I get, the more important warming up becomes.

+1 on this.

Really like the 5 minutes. Not too long so that you cool down again but enough time to get your mind right.

Exactly.

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A good drummer will sound good on anything. A Bad drummer will sound bad on anything.