As some of you know by now, I do a regular exercise column for Drum magazine entitled “Pump It Up.” While these articles are obviously geared toward drummers, anyone who trains can benefit from the ideas. Here’s another recently published article. (Most of these columns are variations of material from my book, Muscles, Mangos and Meditation.)
The “One-Wheel,” Grip-of-Steel Workout
Traditional upper-body weightlifting exercises best suited for drummers generally target the arms, shoulders, back and chest. As we perform these various movements, we also condition the smaller muscles and tendons of our wrists, forearms and fingers. This directly benefits the gripping power of our hands and increases our overall drumming speed and endurance… especially when we forego any kind of gloves or wrist-straps.
A “wheel” in gym rat lingo is slang for a barbell plate, and in this workout, you will be using just one wheel per exercise, minus the barbell. By grabbing the plate directly, you involve even more of your gripping muscles than usual, while also working the arms and shoulders. You can use this routine as a stand-alone “drumming specific” workout, or as part of a complete regimen when you add separate movements for your chest, back and legs.
Perform two or three sets apiece of the following exercises. Stay in the 12 to 20-rep range, and adjust the size of the plate for each exercise accordingly:
#1 – Biceps and Forearms
1. Grab the plate like a steering wheel, around “10:00 o’clock” and “2:00 o’clock.”
2. Lower your elbows by your side, and hold the top of the plate around midsection height for your starting position.
3. While keeping your elbows by your side, slowly raise the plate up toward your chin.
3. Return the plate to the starting position for one complete rep.
#2 – Triceps
1. Grab the plate on either side, around “9:00 o’clock” and “3:00 o’clock.”
2. Raise the plate behind your head, with your elbows on either side of your temples, for your starting position.
3. While keeping your elbows stationary, straighten your arms and extend the plate directly overhead by contracting your triceps.
4. Return the plate to your starting position for one complete rep.
#3 – Shoulders
1. Grab the top of the plate with your right hand while placing your left hand on your hip.
2. Bend your knees a couple inches, lean forward a bit and, with your elbow slightly bent, hold the plate around waist height in front of you (and slightly to the right, like a cane) for your starting position.
3. While maintaining this elbow-bent position, simply raise the plate out to your side and up to eye level with your shoulder.
4. Return the plate to your starting position for one complete rep. (Don’t forget to repeat the entire process on your left side.)
Enjoy the burn!