Cardio Drumming – Get Fit While Playing Drums!

Drumming is not just fun, it can actually be a moderate to intense workout. A person who weighs 185 pounds (about 84kg) will burn about 250 calories per hour of drumming. It can also elevate your heart-rate to high levels with enough intensity.

Being in great shape can really help your ability to play drums for long periods of time. However, even if you’ve never taken up a pair of drumsticks before, the workout activity known as ‘cardio drumming’ might be a great option to add to your exercise plan.

The basics of cardio drumming

You might say that it sounds a bit silly, but there are some rules that you need to follow to make the most out of your cardio drumming sessions.

When it comes to the equipment, you need a stability ball and a pair of sticks. However, it can be a bit uncomfortable for beginners to hit stability balls with small drumsticks.

What you can choose as an alternative is any kind of long, soft sticks, as shown in this cardio drumming video. The grip will be more comfortable with softer sticks and you’ll still certainly break a sweat.

This cardio drumming instructor also makes sure to include other compound body movements into the exercise. This really helps you get more out of your sessions, while still having fun!

For starters, you don’t need to drum to music. Just grab your sticks and start kicking the stability ball. You can hum or sing along, or simply relieve some stress through this activity.

Now that you’ve felt what it looks like, feel free to add another ball to your cardio drumming workout, and start the (stability) balls rolling.

Individual or group cardio drumming?

Some people have more motivation to continue with an exercise routine when they work out in a group. Others feel more comfortable when they do their exercise on their own.

When it comes to cardio drumming, you can start doing it alone. However, since it’s a mixture of physical and musical activities, drumming in a group could be a bit more exciting.

First and foremost, you have other people around you, so you’d be motivated to be at least as active as they are.

Further, since this is a rhythmic activity, you’ll have a lot of fun kicking the stability ball in sync with others.

It will get even better if you have an instructor in front of you. This person can set the pace and rhythm even without music. You can also sing different songs as you kick the balls, or just follow instructors drumming patterns.

Of course, you can get a lot more involved when the music is on. If the group consists of younger members, you can mix the genres and work out to all sorts of songs. It’s an even better option because if you change the songs, the pace will also vary. Therefore, you’ll burn more calories and have more fun.

Here you can watch an extract from a group cardio drumming session with an instructor. Pay attention to the diversity of kicking patterns she uses. You can take these tricks and try them during your home cardio sessions, or show them to your group, given that you don’t have an instructor.

People of all categories are welcome

What makes cardio drumming so attractive and popular is its universal nature. You can do this activity regardless of your age, gender or social status.

An average stability ball doesn’t cost more than $10, and you can find a pair of soft sticks for a couple of dollars. You can play music from any source you like and your cardio drumming sessions can begin.

Group activities could be a bit more expensive since you’ll probably have to pay a monthly membership. Nevertheless, you can try doing that for a couple of weeks or months, instead of regular fitness and gym workouts.

Cardio drumming for children

In the US and Canada, the DrumFIT program has been accepted in many schools. Both children and teenagers are delighted with this combo of musical and physical exercises.

The guys behind this program claim that it improves both the physical and emotional condition of students. They learn how to do something together while being physically active.

What’s also great is that nobody calls them names if they can’t drum in sync with the given rhythm. This is often the case not only in sports training session but musical schools, as well.

In cardio drum sessions, children hit as well as they can, and everybody’s entirely satisfied with their effort. Who wouldn’t like to enroll their kids to such activities?

Senior citizens and drumming fitness

Cardio drumming is a great exercise for senior citizens. You can fully adjust the intensity level based on your comfort level and ability. Also, nobody is going to judge based on how good or bad your rhythm is!

If you’re an older person seeking physical activity, check out if there’s a cardio drumming program in your vicinity. Alternatively, we might have given you a new idea for your community!

In the meantime, see this group of senior citizens cardio drumming to YMCA, and having the time of their life:

Warming up for real drums

Some drummers experience specific ailments typical for people who play this instrument. Many of them have tendonitis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, as well as other issues with their wrists, ligaments and tendons. As you’re growing older, those issues will only intensify.

Light practicing and warming up can be a great solution to help get your blood flowing and joints loosened out. You’ll warm up your arms, from the tips of your fingers to your shoulders. What’s more, you’ll activate other groups of muscles, such as chest and back muscles.

The advantages of cardio drumming

  • It is very inclusive towards people of all ages and fitness levels
  • It’s fun!
  • It gets your heart rate up
  • It’s very cheap to get up and running
  • It’s even better when used in conjunction with other compound body movements (lunges, squats, etc) to get your body moving.

The final word

Drumming isn’t only a remarkable activity as part of music. You can apply this playing technique in different everyday situations. Cardio drumming takes the best of both worlds: you get physically active while you’re playing the drums.

What’s also great about this hybrid activity is that it’s suitable for people of all ages. From toddlers and families to students and senior citizens, everybody can have great fun and break a sweat if they do cardio drumming.

To top it all off, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get equipped for cardio drumming. You can do it on your own, with your friends after a Sunday barbecue gathering, or join a cardio drumming group and see how it works when you work out and drum in a community. So, get up from that couch, get yourself a stability ball, and start kicking out some cardio jams.

By the end of it, you’ll probably be so into drumming that you’ll want to go for the real deal – a full electronic drum set!


Mike O'Connor
Mike O'Connor

I've been playing drums for over 18 years. I work as both a session drummer and a drum teacher, and I love to share my knowledge and tips on this site. You can also find me on the Electronic Drum Advisor YouTube channel.

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