July 11, 2008

Drummers Are Top Athletes

A special thanks to my drummer buddy Bennii Obana for sharing this informative article.

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Source: BBC News - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7518888.stm

Rock Drummers are Top Athletes

Playing the drums for a rock band requires the stamina of a Premiership footballer, research suggests.
Tests on Clem Burke, the veteran Blondie drummer, revealed that 90 minutes of drumming could raise his heart rate to 190 beats a minute.

Despite rock's reputation for unhealthy living, Dr. Marcus Smith, from Chichester University, said drummers needed "extraordinary stamina".

A hour in concert could burn between 400 and 600 calories, he said.

Clem Burke, who provided the beat for hits such as "Heart of Glass", "Atomic" and "Call Me" was invited to take part in the eight-year project by Blondie fan Dr Smith.

It is hoped that the results could help develop outreach programmes for overweight children who are not interested in sports.

Burke was connected to equipment to measure his heart rate and oxygen uptake, and the levels of lactic acid in his blood.

He found that during a performance, his heart averaged between 140 and 150 beats a minute, peaking at 190, levels comparable to other top athletes.

However, Dr. Smith said that while top footballers were expected to perform once or twice a week, drummers on tour would be doing it every night at a different venue.
Drummers burn 4-600 calories per hour.
He said, "Footballers can normally expect to play 40 to 50 games a year - but in one 12 month period, Clem played 90-minute sets at 100 concerts."

"Footballer find playing a Champions League game once every two weeks a drain, but these guys are doing it every day when they are on tour."

"It is clear that their fitness levels need to be outstanding - through monitoring Clem's performance in controlled conditions, we have been able to map the extraordinary stamina required by professional drummers."

The project was conducted jointly by the University of Gloucestershire and the University of Chichester.
A dedicated "drumming laboratory" is now being built at the Gloucester campus and it is hoped that other professional drummers will be tested.

Dr. Steve Draper, from Gloucestershire University, said: "This is the first facility of its kind in the world."
Professor Edward Winter, a specialist in the physiology of exercise at Sheffield University, said that the challenge of playing the drums should not be underestimated.

He said that at 190 beats per minute, Clem Burke was probably exceeding the maximum heart rate predicted for a man of his age.

"Rock drumming in particular is very energetic, and to add to this, these guys are playing in a hot environment - you'll see them literally dripping with sweat."

Link to related video - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7517867.stm

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Now, isn't that neat? Drumming is serious physical stuff! I'd say that this research is not limited to drummers who exclusively play rock music. Other musical styles such as pop, hip-hop, R&B, and jazz require an abundant amount of energy too. And I'm sure many of my fellow drummers can relate to the physical factors of drumming.

I strongly agree that drumming and sports have its parallels. We drummers can be considered as athletes. Which is why I somehow tend to treat myself like an athlete. I try to eat right. I make an effort to put myself in good condition. I find ways in order for me to perform more effectively with the least amount of effort. I conserve my energy before a performance and during our break times. I take advantage of my days off by resting my body. I must not abuse my body and I must be disciplined. Being a professional musician, I need to take extra good care of myself.

Playing the drums is a great workout. It's fun, and it's always a pleasure to make great music. Drumming has so many benefits. Everyone should give it a try.