Tips for a healthy back

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Postby Nehe555 » Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:27 pm

as one who quit his office job because of developing back problems and the onset symptoms of carpel tunnel, I can't stress enough the importance of posture and stretching. Have you noticed how many aggressive drummers are very built? Take travis barker as an example. He's got a slim build, but he's ripped. He needs to be to keep playing so hard. Be careful when lifting though, because lifting can convert fast-twitch muscles to slow-twitch, which is not something drummers want. We want to develop fast-twitch for those 4 bar single stroke fills. Instead of working out, I've realized that stretching in the morning and evening makes me feel much better, and I last longer on the drumkit. Stretching in the mornings doesn't mean you don't stretch before playing. You can never stretch too much. Atom Willard explains some great stretches he does before his gigs. Basically, he stretches the neck, shoulder, and arms because these muscle groups are all related. In other words, a tense neck can affect your playing. Posture is the other thing, and I'm surprised no one's mentioned this yet. If your back hurts from playing, you could be reaching or slouching. Your drumkit could be setup too low, so raise those toms and snare drum. That'll force you to sit up straighter, or else you'll hit the rim with your hand.
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Re: Tips for a healthy back

Postby Nehe555 » Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:10 pm

BillRayDrums wrote:
Atmerrill wrote:Good points on posture and all - but what about tonage?

Most of my back pains about 5 years ago wasn't caused by posture, but by the gross weight of gear I was schleping around - specifically stands. I was playing DW 9000 series stands. At one point I was bringing (3) cymbal stands, hi-hat, snare, tom stand, seat, and pedals. Got to the point I couldn't pick-up my stand case in the truck. Made the decision then that a 12 pound cymbal stand to hold a .75 lb cymbal was stupid. Went out the next day and bought the Gibraltar flat-base series snare and cymbal stands, and pulled my old Slingerland Dynamo Hi-hat out of the closet. Even got a Tama single braced seat stand for the DW seat top.

Now, I use two mic stand cases for my stands. One case has just cymbal stands, and the other seat, snare, hi-hat and floor tom legs. Both cases are light, and my back is a hell-of-a-lot more happy.


you make a good point there about hardware weight. i've been trying to find some articles online about hardware weight comparisons, but i can find nothing. i'm thinking of switching out all my hardware to something lighter. i've heard that gibraltar hardware is light, but i wanna see some numbers! should we all go around and weigh our hardware and post the results?
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Postby vincemie » Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:28 pm

i once took a private lesson from bernard purdie he pointed out that i slouch and stuck his fist into my lower back everytime i catch myself slouching i feel his fist straightening my back out for me.
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Postby PHANTOM PATRIOT » Wed Apr 02, 2008 12:46 pm

ONE OF MY BASS PLAYIN FRIENDS IS A MASSAGE THERAPIST. HE TOLD ME THIS.
...LETS IMAGINE YOUR HEAD WEIGHS 10 LBS, FOR EVERY INCH AWAY FROM STREIGHT GRAVITY ADDS THE WEIGHT OF YOUR HEAD...... SO IF WHILE SLOUCHING YOUR HEAD IS 2" IN FRONT OF STRAIGHT, YOUR NECK IS HOLDING 30LBS OF WEIGHT
THE MORE YOU DO THE MORE YOU GET...

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Postby torkid47 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:53 am

The best post I've read here yet.
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Postby grannydrums » Fri May 02, 2008 1:36 am

I spend the first half hour of my drum practice sitting on an excercise ball, I think it has helped to strengthen the muscles you use to keep a good posture. I dont have a back to my stool, but i have put an old stand behind me with a padded sock at the end of the arm position where i can feel it if i sit up straight, its a little reminder of how i should be sitting. I have some old mirrors at either side of me so that I can check all the things my teacher nags me about, posture, arm higth, etc. If the band are not there i sometimes play with a full length mirror in from too-- it realy points out bad habits(and silly expressions on my face!!)I fins it helps to be aware of where each hip bone is and wether or not each shoulder bone is square above it, and without straining try to think of the shoulders being another 2 or 3 inches higher by lengthening the back.
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Re: Tips for a healthy back

Postby BillRayDrums » Fri May 02, 2008 2:13 am

Nehe555 wrote:
BillRayDrums wrote:
Atmerrill wrote:Good points on posture and all - but what about tonage?

Most of my back pains about 5 years ago wasn't caused by posture, but by the gross weight of gear I was schleping around - specifically stands. I was playing DW 9000 series stands. At one point I was bringing (3) cymbal stands, hi-hat, snare, tom stand, seat, and pedals. Got to the point I couldn't pick-up my stand case in the truck. Made the decision then that a 12 pound cymbal stand to hold a .75 lb cymbal was stupid. Went out the next day and bought the Gibraltar flat-base series snare and cymbal stands, and pulled my old Slingerland Dynamo Hi-hat out of the closet. Even got a Tama single braced seat stand for the DW seat top.

Now, I use two mic stand cases for my stands. One case has just cymbal stands, and the other seat, snare, hi-hat and floor tom legs. Both cases are light, and my back is a hell-of-a-lot more happy.


you make a good point there about hardware weight. i've been trying to find some articles online about hardware weight comparisons, but i can find nothing. i'm thinking of switching out all my hardware to something lighter. i've heard that gibraltar hardware is light, but i wanna see some numbers! should we all go around and weigh our hardware and post the results?


Who cares about weight (tonnage)? You are essentially carrying what you are comfortable with to a gig. For me if weight were an issue I would get single-braced stands and also clean the 50 or so red flyers from a gig in 2005 from my trapcase that seem to still linger, no matter how hard I try to pass them along. Oh yeah then there's the drawings that people threw in 15 years ago into my tom cases.
My setup has not changed in about 20 years....Double braced stuff and I don't use a cart because I enjoy the exercise. 5 trips to the car? No problem because that's my exercise regimen right there. Humping my shit through whatever obstacle course is presented. I'm pushing 40 and I'll stack up against anyone. :) Even Stump, that little running maniac that he is.
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Postby grannydrums » Fri May 02, 2008 3:11 am

i am a little old lady(I will admit to 60) I make lots of trips with my gear and then when I have finished help the band with their stuff, these young lads are very slow. I cannot manage the bass amp by myself but will give the rest a go. If i can pick it up by using my legs rather than my back I will take it. I used to use double braced DW stands for the toms but have recently got a gibralter rack. Lightweight, quick to set up, takes up less room on stage and looks realy cool
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Postby 40th » Sat May 03, 2008 1:26 am

this is funny. Just the other day I was thinking about improving my movements around my set. I was sure I could do better by making some adjustments and start to get picky about how I sit at my kit. It has definately added some benefit to my skills. Sitting up helps to, but making sure everything is the proper height and reach...Im golden now!

Next is to practice more... :(
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Postby grannydrums » Sat May 03, 2008 1:50 am

actually my band say i look more like a MILF--when they are not screaming about how much room I take up. Thats probably why they hide me behind the amps, dont like the band looking if the drummer sent his granny along
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Postby BillRayDrums » Sat May 03, 2008 1:53 am

grannydrums wrote:actually my band say i look more like a MILF--when they are not screaming about how much room I take up. Thats probably why they hide me behind the amps, dont like the band looking if the drummer sent his granny along

Heh so you did see that message....

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Postby Steve@NDC » Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:21 am

Great post BillRay!
I've been nursing a suspect back for years. The crap hit the fan for me in '02, when my herniated L4 vertebrae decided to fragment. I had to be carried out of my house by an ambulance crew. I had a partial discectomy surgery in August of that year. Knock on wood, I've been relatively pain-free since then. Still some stiffness every once in a while. Luckily, I see a very good chiropracter every month -- he keeps in alignment.
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Postby ChrisNichols » Sun Jul 13, 2008 11:56 am

The back muscles are easily the most neglected when it comes to working out and fitness. It's all good having great pecs and biceps, but you HAVE to balance it out with a strong back as well.

I find inverted rows are very good for the upper back muscles, and they're a pretty easy excercise to master. For the lower back, I like deadlifts, but before you try those make damn sure you have the right technique and know your limit, because it's very easy to screw your back right up overexerting yourself or doing them improperly.
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Re: Tips for a healthy back

Postby Drumosaurus » Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:17 am

wow, this thread just made me realize how much I slouch. I read this last nite around 5, and since then Ive been walking and sitting with as good posture as I can manage. It just feels good to sit with good posture.
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Re: Tips for a healthy back

Postby metldrummer2112 » Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:16 pm

Drumosaurus wrote:wow, this thread just made me realize how much I slouch. I read this last nite around 5, and since then Ive been walking and sitting with as good posture as I can manage. It just feels good to sit with good posture.


Haha yeah I had that problem too. I used to always notice that I slouched when I walked. I kept it in concious thought not to slouch and now a couple months later I have much better posture.

It doesn't seem like too hard of a habit to break. Then again, I'm good at breaking habits
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