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How Do Drummers Not Get Tired? (This is How)

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Drumming can be fun as well as rewarding. Acting as the backbone of any musical composition, the drummer is always on the move. Moreover, while a drummer is beating away on the drum kit, it is difficult not to wonder, “How do drummers not get tired?”.

Drummers must build stamina and use proper technique. Stamina and technique are the primary factors deciding how long a person can play drums effectively.

Drummers must build stamina and use proper technique.  Stamina and technique are the primary factors deciding how long a person can play drums effectively.

Increasing Stamina by Practicing Drum Rudiments

One of the most effective strategies to increase one’s stamina and technique is through the act of practicing rudiments.

Rudiments work very well to increase not only your technique but also to strengthen your hands.  One of the major issues which plague new drummers is tiring via the hands. 

Hand and finger strength are essential to maintaining longevity when it comes to drumming, whether it be live performance or practice.
When a drummer has adequate hand and finger strength, the easier it is to hold the drumstick loosely and in a more relaxed manner.  This increases stamina and the ability to play is thus increased as well

Drumming is an Athletic Workout

Drumming is most certainly an athletic workout. With this in mind, this article will deliver the answers as to how drummers are capable of playing for hours without seemingly getting tired.

There are several things that drummers can do to build their stamina. Most drummers will find that the muscles of their arms are tired after a long drumming session. The effects felt the following day are not uncommon.

After a whole day of practicing my muscles are sore and need a little warming up before working to their full potential the next day.” May 16, 2012

Odd-Arne Oseberg, a member of drummerworld.com

Getting More Tired Playing Live than When Practicing

Playing drums live and practicing drums are two very different situations. To understand the differences, one should examine how the differences affect us.

Practicing drums is a much less stressful activity than playing live. When you are practicing, there is pressure to improve. Nevertheless, there is not the same fear of making a mistake. This extra stressor can cause a physical response.  

When the body is stressed, chemicals are released to satisfy the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. This response can lead to tiredness and, if prolonged, can even cause exhaustion.

This excessive stress is just not present in a practice situation.

Warmer Conditions Produce Fatigue for a Drummer

There is also the live performance conditions to consider. If the venue is small, and there are many people at the place, the temperature will be warmer than it might be in a practice space.

Likewise, there is often spotlight use in a live performance setting, which dramatically increases the temperature of anyone who is standing or sitting within a spotlit area.

Increased temperatures, increased stress levels, and of course, the general excitement involved with playing live all contribute to making live performance much more tiring than practicing.

For these reasons, most individuals can acquire great respect for a live performing drummer who does not miss a beat, as they say. The next time a live performing drummer is in view, think about these points when judging their ability. It is quite a spectacle when one gets to view a drummer play live who makes it look easy.

Arms Get More Tired than Legs

When drumming for extended periods, or even shorter periods, many drummers experience fatigue. According to Harmony Central3, most drummers feel this fatigue in their arms first. Often this is a feeling where the arms feel like rubber. This feeling may only be alleviated with rest.

However, why does this occur? Let us take a look at the science of muscles for a moment.

When a person is drumming, although the legs may be working the bass drum and hi-hat pedals, legs are secure from being walked on and carrying the body’s weight. Legs are naturally built more robust than the arms for this reason.

Drummer Arms Move More than Legs

Also, when drumming, the arms are moving around more than the legs. The arms do the majority of the work. It is why the arms feel the first fatigue when drumming.

If we are going to determine the arms are the first to tire and feel fatigued, it is good to understand where that tiredness, fatigue, and even soreness originate.

When we work out our muscles, it is understood that tiny microscopic tears occur with the muscle fibers. When these tiny microscopic tears occur, two things happen.  

First, the local nerves send equally small signals of pain to the brain. Add a bunch of these signals up, and one will get a sore or fatigued muscle area.  

A Drummer Body Repairs Itself

Next, the body starts to repair the damage. This repair response likes to take into account the amount of damage and repair just a bit stronger to avoid damage the next time.

This added strength is how we work out and build muscle.

Over time, and with regular exercise, we build muscle and gain strength and stamina.

Given that drumming is working out, it stands to reason that the same is correct for drumming.

Learning Drums Over 40 – More Tiring?

With all this talk about drumming being a good workout and physically and mentally exhausting, many wonder if they can learn to drum at older ages.

Drumming is not exactly a professional sport, despite what some drummers will say. However, like many things in life, some believe there is an expiry date as to when one can learn drums.

There is no age that is too late to learn to drum. However, if one is in their nineties and has extreme osteoporosis, it may be more difficult or even hazardous.  

In most cases, one can learn drums at any age, which is likely to be good for one’s health. However, it might be recommended to wear ear protection depending on how loud one plays.

There is no age that one becomes incapable of physically playing drums. However, other health complications may impair one’s ability to play in the same way as everyone else. 

For example, Stephen Hawking might have had to invent a way of using his communicator to control electric drums, or something similar. The point is that there is always a way to overcome adversity, and one should never put an age rule to learning to play an instrument even if it is the drums.

Is Being Tired after Drumming Healthy for You?

As with all forms of physical exercise, one is likely to experience feelings of tiredness after this sort of exertion. And, it is not recognized that physical activity is bad for you. 

In fact, the opposite is a common consensus. Therefore, being tired after drumming is a signal that you did a ‘good’ workout. What is the harm in that?

Not only is drumming an excellent physical workout, but it is also a brain exercise. It is an extreme brain exercise.

To be able to keep time, coordinate all four limbs, and create an original beat all require specific parts of the brain to be working at their best.

The extent of how much effort is required by the drummer in the coordination of all these activities determines the overall talent of the drummer. 

Some people are born with a natural ability for their brains to coordinate these different processes, and the rest of us have to practice.

Drummer Natural Ability is Mostly a Myth

However, this should not be taken as a discouraging statement. The odds are similar to being struck by lightning when it comes to being naturally gifted at something.

It is most inspiring to realize that the passion that drives us to become better is the true gift of nature bestowed upon us. This drive allows us to grow. When someone is naturally gifted, that person often has problems in their personal lives. This is perhaps due to not acquiring the discipline of self to achieve the level they were blessed with.

This situation can be thought of in a similar way when it comes to finances. For example, a child born into extreme wealth may never know or acquire the respect and discipline to have achieved said wealth on their own. A self-made person is often a much ‘better’ person than one who inherits wealth. This is common knowledge.

The same may or may not be true for drumming. A drummer who achieved greatness through hard work will feel a greater sense of achievement than a drummer who did not work hard to achieve success.

Summing Up

So, as you can see, the hard work that makes one tired after hours of practice is good for the body; it is also excellent for the mind and soul. Never be afraid of feeling tired after your drumming. It only shows that you have worked hard to move forward. Good work!


  1. Drum Technique – Physical Effects of Drumming – Forum, Drummerworld, https://www.drummerworld.com/forums/index.php?threads/physical-effects-of-drumming.90905/, Accessed June 19, 2020.
  2. Northrup, Christiane M.D., “10 Health Reasons To Start Drumming” https://www.drnorthrup.com/health-benefits-drumming/, Accessed June 20, 2020.
  3. Bopshuwadi, “I get really tired while playing drums…”, Harmony Central, https://www.harmonycentral.com/forums/topic/68513-i-get-really-tired-while-playing-drums/, Accessed June 20, 2020.
  4. “Getting tired faster when playing live. Tips?” Reddit, https://www.reddit.com/r/drums/comments/1clkdh/getting_tired_faster_when_playing_live_tips/, Accessed June 20, 2020.
  5. Perkins, R., Ascenso, S., Atkins, L. et al. Making music for mental health: how group drumming mediates recovery. Psych Well-Being 6, 11 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13612-016-0048-0
  6. “40 Essential Rudiments” Vic Firth, https://vicfirth.zildjian.com/education/40-essential-rudiments.html, Accessed June 20, 2020.