The importance of warming up before playing your drums cannot be overemphasized. It not only helps you play more efficiently and with greater ease and relaxation, it also helps you avoid the potential problems of repetitive motion injuries.

Although there are many different exercises you can use to warm up, here I share the ones I’ve found to be most effective.


When warming up it is crucial to begin at a very slow tempo. This allows your muscles and tendons to gradually stretch out and loosen up, which is important if you want to avoid injuries.

Over the years I’ve found it best to begin my warm-ups by playing each hand separately. I start by practicing these four exercises at a slow tempo first with my right hand and then with my left. I suggest repeating each of the four exercises at least 20 times before proceeding to the next. After that, ignore the repeat signs and play all the exercises without stopping as I demonstrate on the video.

Although I apply my system of Tension Free Drumming to these drills, which uses arms, wrists and fingers, you will experience effective warm-ups regardless of the techniques you use. You may just have to make some minor modifications. For example, if you don’t use arm technique, replace “arm” with “wrist” where specified throughout the drills. You may also notice that I identify arm and wrist technique but not fingers on the video. This is done to avoid any confusion caused by some drummers who, like myself, combine wrist with finger technique while others may isolate the fingers separately from the wrists.

Although I originally designed these exercises for use as warm-ups, I’ve also found them extremely effective for building both endurance and speed. Remember, always have fun and stay loose!