Drumming As Fitness?

Recent research at the University of Gloucester, U.K., concluded that almost 400 kilocalories (kcals) are burned per hour during drumming at 110 – 190 bpm. Not surprisingly, “live” performance drumming was also confirmed to be an activity that heavily relies on the interplay between aerobic and anaerobic energy systems (Smith et al. 2008).


The Drum Beat-Chemintz Drumming Project by Peter Wright, Peter Ehnold, Riginna Roschmann, and Isabel Wolf at Chemnitz University of Technology (Germany)  identified “ Drums Alive® as a physiologically effective type of exercise.   All objective parameters, namely heart rate and blood lactate as well as subjective parameters such as the RPE scores, increased significantly during intervention which qualifies Drums Alive® for the use in fitness sports and in health orientated areas as an exercise alternative. However, the relatively high blood lactate values in the age group of 30-65 years (3.99 ± 1.93 [mmol/L]) is at the borderline of the anaerobic threshold. The mean heart rate of 153 ±17 [min-1] is in accordance with the blood lactate levels. Hence, this Drums Alive® intervention needs to be considered as a relatively high intensity workout from a recreational/health perspective for this age group (48 years).

Dr. Marcus Smith, from Chichester University, recently concluded that an hour of vigorous drumming could burn between 400 and 600 calories. Research for the Australian International Academic Centre reviewed the metabolic demands of heavy metal drumming and found that it met the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for the development of health-related fitness.