Of all the instruments available worldwide, drums can be said to be one of the most physically demanding when it comes to playing. Due to this, drummers are part of the most active members of a band. Drumming involves lots of physical, mental energy, and adrenaline when performing. As physically demanding as drumming can be, can it build your muscles?
In short, no. Drumming does not build muscle. Drumming is considered a form of aerobic exercise rather than a resistance exercise that builds muscles. Drumming will, however, improve muscle strength and endurance.
You are unlikely to develop huge muscles or arms from playing drums alone. If you hop on your drums for an hour to do some practicing, your pulse can get faster, and you can sweat a lot. This means drumming helps build and improve stamina more than it builds muscle.
Therefore, though drumming might burn fat, it does not build muscles since it is more of an aerobic exercise than a resistance exercise.
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What Muscles Are Used In Drumming?
Playing drums is an activity that involves every part of the body. Drummers move their bodies in sync with whatever groove or rhythm they are playing. This means every muscle in the body is in a way involved when drumming.
However, some particular muscles are used extensively when drumming. These are the muscles that help drummers strike the drums in coordination with the rest of the band.
So let’s take a look at the main muscles that are used when drumming.
1. Shoulder muscle (Deltoid)
One important muscle that is used in drumming is the shoulder muscle, also known as the deltoid muscle.
This is the muscle that allows you to lift and rotate your arms internally and externally. The deltoid muscle allows drummers to lift their hands to reach for the toms, as well as the ride and crash cymbal. It is also the deltoid muscle that makes it possible to turn your arms left or right when reaching for the floor tom, hi-hats, or the snare.
This means the deltoid muscles are actively engaged when drumming.
2. Tricep muscles
The tricep muscle is the muscle that allows you to stretch your arms. The tricep muscle is actively involved, usually when drummers are striking the drums hard. It is also mostly involved when you are extending your arm to strike the crash cymbal or the toms.
3. Forearm muscles
There are three different muscles in the forearm — flexor pollicis longus, flexor digitorum profundus, and pronator quadratus. All of these muscles allow you to flex your wrists and have control of your fingers which is quite crucial in drumming.
These muscles make it possible for drummers to hold their drumsticks and also make it possible to strike the drums by moving their wrists.
4. Calf muscles (Gastrocnemius)
The calf muscles, also known as the leg triceps, or gastrocnemius, are essential in playing the kick drum.
This muscle makes it possible for drummers to step on the bass kick pedal with their heels up.
5. Shin muscles (Anterior Tibialis)
The shin muscles (or anterior tibialis) make it possible to tap your feet. It controls your feet and allows you to lift them while your heels are still on the ground.
Drummers use this muscle to open and close the hi-hats, and without the anterior tibialis, this wouldn’t be possible.
Does drumming increase muscle size?
There are many different forms of exercise. And the main types of exercises that increase muscle size are known as resistance training exercises. Resistance training mainly involves weightlifting, calisthenics, isometrics, and plyometrics. And the general idea of resistance training is to put as much stress as possible on the muscles and cause them to build.
However, drumming does not put enough stress on the muscle groups to cause them to change. So it may increase muscle size, but that increase will be insignificant or barely noticeable.
Drumming can cause you to sweat hard and get tired, but it will not help build your physique in any significant way. Basically, you will not build a lot of muscle from drumming. Drumming is more of an aerobic exercise than a resistance exercise, which is the best type of exercise for building muscles.
Though drumming does not significantly increase your muscles’ size, it helps increase the strength of your muscles.
As a drummer, your muscle strength will increase over time, and how fast or slow they become strong really depends on the type of genre and how often you play. Drummers who play heavier types of music like rock, metal, or punk usually exert more energy and force when playing.
This serves to strengthen their muscles. Your arm muscles might also be strengthened from drumming if you play your drums hard enough for long periods or when the sticks you use are quite heavy.
Does Drumming Tone Your Arms?
Yes, drumming does tone your arms. However, it can take a long while to achieve through drumming alone. This is because the amount of calories you burn in your arms with drumming is not much. However, since drumming involves your arms, you will have toned muscles over time as a result of drumming.
Once again, how fast your muscle tones depend on how often you play the drums and how hard you hit them. If you are a hard-hitting drummer and often play, you will have toned arms in a shorter period than a soft-hitting drummer.
However, I wouldn’t count on drumming if I really want to have toned arms. I would rather hit the gym or exercise at home to tone my arms. There are numerous exercises available for toning your arms. Pushups is a very popular one you can do without the need for any equipment. Bicep curls are also another great exercise for toning arms.
Health Benefits of Drumming
Although drumming is not the sure way to build your muscles, the benefits one can derive from drumming are numerous. Drumming helps nurture and develop your creative potential. Since you will most likely be playing in front of a crowd from time to time, it also boosts your confidence as an individual
For this article, though, I am going to limit myself to the health benefits of drumming. As a drummer, you may be curious about the health benefits of drumming. Drums as an instrument can be physically challenging to play. However, there are full health benefits associated with playing drums.
Drumming Boosts Metabolism And Burns Calories
Drumming for long periods can kick up your metabolism. There is evidence that drumming stimulates the release of cortisol, a steroid hormone that boosts metabolism.
Drumming also helps with your cardiovascular health and strength while also burning fats. Drumming for long durations is one way of shedding off some calories. It burns calories and shapes up the body and mind. This burning of calories is facilitated by the fact that drummers don’t just sit stationary whiles playing.
Drumming can get your heart rate up and provide you with a form of workout. An average drumming session can burn about 200-500 calories, whiles a performance in a large auditorium or arena can cause a drummer to burn about 1200 calories.
Drumming Boosts Brain Power
Drumming is believed to boost brain power and function. According to the Federation of Drums and Percussion, drumming can increase your IQ.
Playing drums is actually a unique skill to acquire. When drumming, you will have to coordinate each of your four limbs’ actions and movement at once, with every limb performing a different function. This is not easy to perfect in the initial stages of learning how to play drums.
Every individual has a dominant hand, with most people being right-handed. This means most people can perform simple motor tasks with two hands at a similar level. However, only a small number of people can perform complex fine motor tasks with both hands equally well.
Drumming engages both hemispheres of your brain, and continuous practice helps develop your brain. Drumming helps your brain to strengthen your non-dominant side in order to coordinate your limbs properly. Mastery of this limb coordination has been associated with increased IQ.
Drumming Reduces Stress
It is widely known that listening to music or playing certain instruments can alter our mood. Drumming is no different. Drumming is a great and unique way to relieve stress. Drumming is widely believed to help reduce stress, frustration, and disappointment.
It has been proven that drumming releases hormones such as endorphins and enkephalins, which are associated with general feelings of happiness and well-being.
Most drummers become engrossed in their playing and don’t even notice the time fly by. This is because drumming keeps them engaged, relaxed, and entertained. Basically, drumming can help provide a needed distraction from grief, disappointment, and frustration. After a stressful day, drumming is a great avenue to help you forget about the day.
Drumming Increases Endurance
Playing in gigs and recording sessions for many hours can lead to amazing aerobic benefits when it comes to endurance. Playing drums is actually a stamina-building exercise. It helps improve and build your stamina. Hence drumming, particularly vigorous drumming, leads to an increase in stamina.
Playing drums can be very fun. However, drumming requires a lot of balance. This is because you usually have all four limbs going at once. Drumming involves the use of the small and large muscle groups of the body when playing.
Though drumming can get your pulse racing, it does little to build your muscles as a drummer. It is important to remember that the main reason for sitting behind a drum set is not to exercise. Therefore, before you mount the stage to play your drums during a performance or even rehearsals, you need to be well-rested, relaxed, focused, and ready to perform.