Drummer Lab is a series that follows Nadia Azar’s kinesiology research on some of your favorite drummers.
I had never been to the Vans Warped Tour until the summer of 2018. Since that was the last year in which the tour would run, I’m very grateful I got to experience it at least once. Especially given that Simple Plan was on the tour, and Chuck Comeau had agreed to participate in my drummer energy expenditure study!
I knew from the start that this was going to be a unique data collection experience. During our first conversation, Chuck mentioned that he does a stage dive/crowd surf at every show. Would that be an issue with the equipment? I thought it would probably be fine, but it almost wasn’t. We had a scary moment during the first show where one of the armbands came loose and slipped off!
Thankfully, Chuck managed to catch and hang onto it until the crowd returned him to the stage (I have video footage of the whole thing!). Lesson learned: we locked them down with multiple layers of athletic tape at the next show to make sure it didn’t happen again.
Chuck wore the armbands and heart rate monitor at shows in Toronto, Ontario and Rochester Hills, Michigan. Simple Plan played the same set list at both shows, except for one extra song at the Toronto show.
Chuck’s total energy expenditure was slightly higher in Toronto than in Rochester Hills (390 vs. 339 Calories). This was to be expected, since that show was slightly longer. The average intensity in Toronto was also slightly higher: ~12 Calories/min vs. ~11 Calories/min.
In terms of energy expenditure, “Jump” and “Welcome to My Life” tied for the most intense songs at the first show (~14 Cal/min), and “Welcome to My Life” was the most intense song at the second show (again ~14 Cal/min). However, in terms of heart rate…in Toronto, Chuck registered his highest average heart rate (169 BPM) and one of his highest peak heart rates (175 BPM) during “Boom”. In Rochester Hills, he registered his highest average and peak heart rates during “Shut Up” (166 BPM and 176 BPM, respectively). Given that heart rate is very closely related to both actual and perceived exertion, the title of ‘most intense song’ goes to “Boom” and “Shut Up”.
Chuck’s average heart rate during the shows was 166 BPM (Toronto) and 160 BPM (Rochester Hills), representing 91% and 88% of his age-predicted maximum heart rate, respectively. To put this in perspective, heart rates at these levels (% of max heart rate) are comparable to those seen in professional soccer players during competitive match play!1
Based on the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) definitions of exercise intensity zones2, across both shows, Chuck spent 77% of his time in the “vigorous intensity” zone, and 17% in the “at or near maximal” zone.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – drummers ARE athletes!
Photos by Joe Orlando
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