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Travis Barker’s Favorite Warm-Up (Hint: It’s Rudiments)

Travis Barker  /  Jun 16, 2023

Travis Barker has been playing rudiments his entire life. Well, almost.

As a kid, when Animal’s drumming on The Muppets blew his mind, his parents supported his venture in the school band. Around the age of 5, his teacher taught him basic rudiments and how to read music.

The blink-182 drummer drifted away from his rudimental drumming in his early teens as he was more interested in playing along to bands like Agnostic Front, Metallica and Beastie Boys (undoubtedly a better soundtrack for his skater lifestyle).

Unfortunately, he lost his mother a few days before high school started and was looking for something to take his mind off the tragedy. He kept hearing, “Everyone’s auditioning for drumline,” and he knew he needed to join. He tried out and got in, and drumline became a deep dive into rudiments and marching style.

Needless to say, he’s been hooked ever since, and those drumline chops have forever become ingrained in Travis’ drumming vocabulary. It’s one reason he’s such a unique punk rock drummer, and now you get to steal his actual routine to add some spice to your practice time.

Travis Barker’s favorite rudiments

If you’ve been paying attention to his body of work, you won’t be surprised when we tell you how often Travis Barker infuses rudiments into his drum parts.

From a flam six after the intro of “Dysentery Gary” to hi-hat double strokes in “After Midnight” and a six stroke roll in the build before the final chorus of “All The Small Things”, Travis says rudiments are “really hidden everywhere.”

Here are his four favorite rudiments:


An essential rudiment every drummer should know, the flam often appears in Travis’ drumming. One of his favorite warm-ups is to first alternate single strokes, then alternate flams.

how to play a flam (drum notation)
The flam

Six stroke rolls

Travis loves his six stroke rolls (RLLRRL), especially when he’s moving it around the kit. He says he sometimes adds a double stroke on the bass drum at the end.

how to play a six stroke roll (drum notation)
The six stroke roll


The paradiddle (RLRR LRLL) is a classic, so it’s no surprise it’s one of Travis’ faves. Try accenting the first note of each grouping:

how to play a paradiddle (drum notation)
The single paradiddle

Inverted paradiddles

The inverted paradiddle (RLLR LRRL) moves the double stroke to the middle of the pattern – so instead of RLRR, it’s RLLR.

how to play an inverted paradiddle (drum notation)
The inverted paradiddle

Travis Barker’s favorite warmup

On top of playing rudiments like these to warm up his hands and arms, Travis also gets the blood flowing in his bass drum foot with alternating hand-foot exercises.

Check out the video at the top of this page to see him demo it:

  • Play triplets on your hands, accenting every three notes
  • Next, add your bass drum in between the hands (alternate RH, RF, LH, RF, etc.)
  • Slowly speed up in increments of 5 BPM

Once he’s gone through this warm-up (and then some), Travis is ready to crush a long, energetic set. What do you think? Try it for yourself!

Travis Barker is best known as the drummer for blink-182, but over the years he's also played with the Suicide Machines, the Aquabats, Transplants, +44, Box Car Racer, Goldfinger, and more. He's collaborated across genres with artists like XXXTentacion, Lil Nas X, P!nk, Avril Lavigne and Steve Aoki. In 2011, Barker issued his solo debut, Give the Drummer Some, which featured over two dozen guests and peaked in the Top Ten of the Billboard 200.

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