Warm-up Routines for Drummers – 01

Warm-ups for drummers. Black and white drum kit.

Throughout this “warm-up routines for drummers” series, we’ll be discussing different routines that you, as a drummer, can begin implementing in your own warm-ups.

This will be the first post in a series that will progressively introduce more advanced warm-up concepts and techniques.

If you are brand new to drumming and haven’t considered starting your practice sessions with a warm-up routine, these posts will be an excellent place to start. I’ll be adding easy-to-follow instructions for every exercise you’ll need.

Starting with a good warm-up routine, even if it’s only five or ten minutes, will get your blood flowing and loosen any tight muscles or tendons. It should go without saying, that this is very important for a drummer since the instrument is such a physical one to play.

Drumming practice pads are a great option as well if you don’t feel like sitting behind your kit or you want to do a mini practice session in your corner office if it isn’t big enough for a full-size drum set.

One important thing to remember when going through whatever warm-up routine you prefer, is to not overdo it. Smashing around the kit at light speed right from the start, is a good way to strain a muscle or joint. There’s no competition, so please start off at a moderate pace, and gradually work your way into beast mode.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s important to do these exercises leading off with both your right and your left hands. Consistency is the key.

If you make a mental note to always do these exercises by alternating your lead hand, you will see major improvements in your overall playing ability.

These exercises are designed to be repeated for as long as you would like. You could, for example, play each exercise shown below for two minutes.

Or for another example, you could alternate between different exercises after completing each one ten times. It’s all up to you and what you are comfortable with.

Now, without further ado, let’s get into the exercises!

These first two warm-ups might look familiar to some of you, and that’s because they are rudiments. It’s the single stroke roll to be precise, and it’s the first one found on the list of the 40 essential drum rudiments.


Warm-ups for drummers


Warm-ups for drummers - 02.

As mentioned above, the next warm-up on the list just happens to be another rudiment, and it is known as the double stroke roll. Make sure you are consistent with your doubles so they sound the same as the singles in the previous exercise.


Warm-ups for drummers - 03.

A great way of doing this warm-up (and learning rudiments in general) is to play the eight notes (4 beats) shown above, four times (a total of 32 notes), and then immediately go into the exercise which leads with the left hand as shown below, and play it for a total of four times.

The goal is to make a seamless transition from the exercise above to the exercise below.


Warm-ups for drummers - 04.

This next exercise is going to build upon the double stroke roll above. We are going to toss in one more note for a total of three notes, which will alternate between right and left hand sticking. Focus on keeping them as steady as you can.


Warm-ups for drummers - 06.

If you want more of a challenge (I highly recommend this!), try and count along to the eighth notes as you play. It would sound something like this:

Left hand: one – and – two

Right hand: and – three – and

Left: four – and – one

Right: and – two – and

Left: three – and – four

Right: and – one – and



Warm-ups for drummers - 05.

Think of this next warm-up exercise as kind of a mix between the first and second exercises. It blends singles and doubles in a rather simple way that will get your hands moving differently in no time.

Be sure and start off slow because this can be tricky to begin with.


Warm-ups for drummers - 07.

Next, we have the version that leads with the left hand as opposed to the right. Again, try to seamlessly transition from the exercise shown above, into the exercise shown below and then back again.


Warm-ups for drummers - 08,

This next warm-up exercise is actually one of my favorites. I’m not quite sure if this is where it should be as far as difficulty level, but I think it’s worth working at early on, and I think it’s a good place to end this post.

It encourages you to keep correct count (which we need to do as drummers!) and encourages your brain to work outside of its comfort zone.


Warm-ups for drummers - 05.

The pattern is simple enough. After every right then left, increase the count by one. I stopped at five as you can see in the example above, but you could in theory count as high as you would like. I think ten is a good number.

I would recommend going back down again by removing a note after each set until you reach the count of one again.

Just remember to count seven as “sev”, otherwise it might screw up your count if you pronounce both syllables in the word “seven”.

Below you will find the variation that leads with the left hand.


Warm-ups for drummers - 06.

Awesome job!

Here we introduced five easy warm-up exercises for any drummer to start utilizing. I hope you liked it and I would love to hear all of your thoughts in the comment section below.

Were these good exercises?

Were these bad exercises?

Were these exercises too difficult?

What to do next?

If you are brand new to music, music production, or are interested in learning to play the drums, you can check out my article: What is a DAW? – What Does DAW stand for?

You might also want to check out this article: Acoustic Vs. Electronic Drums – Which One is Right for You?

If you are looking at buying your first drum set or any other musical instrument for that matter, take a look at Zzounds. They have a variety of acoustic drum sets and electronic drum sets for purchase.

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Andrew has been a life long lover of music. Although starting his musical journey on the guitar, (we won't talk about his skills on that particular instrument) he found his true passion was for drumming and making music to share with others. He also enjoys writing blog posts about off the wall subjects that are very much real—such as Bigfoot, UFOs, and what's up with European mayonnaise. Why is it sweet???
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