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8 Bass Drum Warmups That Prevent Injury

Dave Atkinson  /  UPDATED Aug 22, 2022

Have you ever done a soundcheck so long before your set that you aren’t warmed up anymore? Or have you ever gone from 0 to 100 and pushed yourself so hard you pulled a muscle? It’s always a good idea to get your limbs moving and blood flowing before you get on stage or start a long practice session.

Here are 8 simple warmups you can do to prepare your feet for the good times ahead.

If you aren’t behind your kit:

1. Heel down toe taps
Make sure you’re sitting at around the same height as you would on your throne. Plant your heels on the floor and tap your toes Like you’re playing heel down. You can do this with alternating feet or tapping in unison. Try it for a minute straight if you can! You want to feel a bit of a burn.

2. Heel up toe taps
The opposite of the last exercise, plant your toes on the ground and tap your heels, making sure your toes don’t move. You can do this with both feet at the same time or alternating. Can you keep it going for a minute?

3. Feet up toe taps
Lift your foot so it’s hovering, and tap your toe on the ground while keeping your heel up. It’s harder to do with two feet because it requires extra balance, so try doing it with one foot at a time.

4. Toe stretch
With your feet on the ground and legs at a 90 degree angle, pull your toes up as high as you can without lifting your heels off the floor. Hold for about 7 seconds and feel the stretch in your shins. Now move your feet back 1-2 inches and do the same stretch. After that, move your feet back another 1-2 inches. You should now have about a 70 degree angle behind your knees. Do the stretch again – you won’t be able to lift your toes as far, but you’ll feel it.

5. Ankle pivot
Plant your toes on the ground, then use your heel to swivel your foot around (keeping the toes planted). Do it with one foot, then the other.

If you’re behind the kit:

6. 8th note rock groove
Keep 8th notes going on the bass drum while you play a basic rock groove with your hands (8th notes on the hi-hat and snare on two and four). You can also remove the bass drum on the two and four.

7. Triplet gallop
This groove has a half-time feel and is great for working on your heel toe or slide technique. Put 8th note hi-hats over a snare on the four, and have the bass drum fill in the rest of the triplets (check out the video for a demo).

8. 16th note doubles
This exercise has you playing a two-stroke pattern at different points on the grid. Again it has a half-time feel with the snare on the four.

You should spend at least 5-10 minutes warming up before you play. These exercises don’t build strength or speed or control, but they’re great for getting your limbs moving and blood flowing. Remember, don’t push too hard…you’re just here to warm up!

Dave Atkinson is passionate about inspiring positive change through music. With over 24 years of playing and studying music as a multi-instrumentalist, Dave has helped thousands of musicians reach their goals through developing Musora’s core curriculum and engaging content for the modern musician.

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