Musicians aren’t exactly known for healthy living. More so drummers, who spend entire concerts sitting down. But one of the biggest names in rock drumming says playing his instrument actually keeps him in shape.
Neil Peart, drummer for Canadian prog rock institution Rush, who began a 2012 tour earlier in the month, told the New York Times he lost four and a half kilos after three and a half weeks rehearsal.
Peart joked: “Obvious business opportunity. ‘Do you want to lose weight and tone your entire body, from your nose to your toes? Sign up now for the fabulous new Bubba Drum Workout!’ ” Bubba being the prog drummer’s nickname.
If Peart was at all serious about making something of the idea, he needn’t bother because two drummers from Los Angeles have beaten him to it.
Pound is the brainchild of Cristina Peerenboom and Kirsten Potenza, an exercise routine that swiftly become a hit across the US by combining air drumming with more conventional gym work. Peerenboom, a 26-year-old personal trainer, told the New York Times that in a 50-minute class, participants – who lie on the floor with a pair of weighted drumsticks called ‘Ripstix’ – smash the floor an average of 15,000 times to get fit.
“Striking the ground and simulating drumming allows the participant to hear and see the body working symmetrically in form and exertion,” says Peerenboom of her unconventional technique.
Meanwhile, Blondie drummer Clem Burke tells the New York press that when he was analysed by sports scientists, he burned 600 calories an hour in a single concert. His heart rate was around 140 to 150 beats per minutes, the equivalent to running eight kilometres.
When asked about new drumming fitness exercises like Pound, Burke said he was pleased by anything that promoted drumming, but added, “fifty people with drumsticks? Sounds like it would be pretty noisy.”
The Pound craze has already taken hold at gym chains across America as well as becoming the hip routine of choice for executives over at Sony Pictures and – fittingly – the Recording Academy’s Santa Monica headquarters.
Physiologically, the air drumming routine works because it’s designed to work out the core muscles of the body. Even random drumming is still moving and using all the limbs in co-ordination.
The national director of certification for the American College of Sports Medicine, exercise expert Richard Cotton, has already given the musical workout his tick of approval. Cotton suggests that, “if you’re in decent shape for either one of these workouts, you’re going to burn at least as many calories as any other vigorous group exercise class,” he said. “It’s certainly not going to be less.”
Meaning that, as long as you drum hard without partying too hard on a *ahem* ‘rock star diet’, then you’ll be packing musical muscle in no time. Besides, why do you think the drummer is always the first to lose their shirt?