Cardio Drumming – Exercise and Improve Your Stamina in the Process

Obesity is a real issue in America. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), more than one-third of American adults considered obese, and much more (over two-thirds of adults) are overweight or leading toward obesity.

Americans attempt to combat the problem with exercise programs, yet remain the most obese nation on the globe. A 2012 study shows that gym memberships grew since 2008, but also more than 80% of members quit the gym within five months. And many people have multiple memberships that go unused, even though we know exercise is crucial for health.

Enter fun, new exercises. No matter where you prefer to exercise, you can participate in programs that combine high-intensity cardio and fun – like the latest craze: cardio drumming. Let’s explore how to get started with cardio drumming, so you can stay healthy and drop extra weight in time for summer.

What is Cardio Drumming?

Let’s be clear on one thing. Cardio drumming requires little to no skill of drumming. It’s first and foremost an exercise routine. You need to use a drumstick, yes, but it doesn’t mean you need to be any good at it or require any knowledge of the drum kit.

That said, if you are a drummer, you’ll get a kick out of the exercise, and it can help to build arm strength and endurance for long performances.

So what does it entail? Well, you hit a fully inflated rubber exercise ball (the sort you find in any gym) with drumsticks for around 20 minutes to an hour. Place the ball in front of you on a base or trash can to keep it in place. The ball should be around waist-high. As you play the “drum” to the song, you’ll bend over the ball slightly. Keep your back straight to engage the core and achieve a full-body workout.

There are no real rules. Sometimes you’ll whack your own yoga ball; other times, you may use your neighbor’s ball. It’s all about going with the flow of the music and just enjoying yourself. Workout routines vary greatly, and so will the movements. You can always incorporate the moves you prefer too.

The goal here is to drum along with the music and have fun, only using an exercise ball instead of an instrument. The faster and harder you strike the ball, the more intense of a workout you’ll get. More intensity, quick-paced songs, and getting into the moment can all help you burn more calories and build physical endurance.

Afterward, you can expect to feel out of breath, have sore arms, and feel like you completed hundreds of sit-ups!

Guy with Exercise Ball

What are the Benefits?

Cardio drumming raises your heart rate to help you burn hundreds of calories in as little as 20 minutes. The exercise can improve your coordination and ability to focus while strengthening muscle groups like your arms and core. Plus, the activity makes working out fun rather than work.

Through physical movement, you work many parts of your body. Expect to jump, raise your arms wide overhead, squat, and dance. This cardio exercise works the:

  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Core

According to Livestrong, traditional drum playing burns an average of 252 calories per hour. However, the exact amount of calories you burn depends on the intensity of the song.

With a fast-paced and aerobic playlist, you can lose up to 900 calories per workout. Slower songs burn around 175-250 calories/hr. Faster rock (or especially heavy metal) drumming, on the other hand, can help you burn upwards of 600 calories/hr with nonstop action.

It’s not all about exercise either. Cardio drumming helps drummers learn to keep time with a song and other skills that translate to the instrument (listening to music generally puts us in a better mood too).

Drumming also helps you become:

  • Smarter – Drumming requires you to use the entire brain, as you keep time to the music and synchronize your left and right brain hemispheres.
  • Happier – Participation in cardio drumming classes release happy endorphins and Alpha brain waves associated with euphoria.
  • Self-aware – Awareness comes from listening to drum sounds and responding with your intuition, which leads to neuronal connections in the brain and a stronger guidance system within yourself.
  • Insightful – Drumming synchronizes the areas of the brain that are responsible for non-verbal cues with language and reasoning.
  • Confident – Feelings of certainty come from your brain’s response to the exercise as well as from the natural “high” you experience.
  • Relaxed – In a study, blood samples from participants prove you have lower stress hormones after an hour of drumming. Expect less negative feelings.

As we’ve already mentioned, you don’t have to be a drummer to give it a try. This exercise is perfect for the elderly and people who suffer from issues like arthritis or previous injuries. People with chronic pain can use drumming as a pain distraction, as the endorphins released during the exercise take on a painkiller-like state.

Drumming can also be a therapeutic tool for people with brain damage or impairment, such as:

  • Stroke
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Neurological diseases like Parkinson’s

Studies also show drumming circles can boost a human’s immune system. The research shows that drumming in a group setting increases your body’s natural T-cells, which can help you combat cancer and severe viruses like AIDS.

Whether you use cardio drumming for a workout or drumming, the routine builds optimal health through:

  • Power
  • Focus
  • Endurance

Finally, medical research shows that the exercise routine is effective in weight loss among people of all ages. Some people have lost as much as 70 pounds in only six months.

The best part about cardio drumming, however, is that it’s fun! Studies show that when people find fun workouts they enjoy, they’re more likely to stick with their routine, and according to an article in Time, switching up your workout routine once in a while can help you reap more mental health benefits.

What You’ll Need

Ready to give it a try? Good stuff, here are the essential items you’ll need:

  • A pair of drumsticks – Any pair of regular drumsticks will do.
  • A rubber exercise ball – Commonly called yoga balls, this bouncy exercise ball becomes the drum for your exercise. More challenging workouts may include multiple balls.
  • A base to hold the ball in place – A sturdy base keeps the ball in place while you exercise. Consider it the drum stand. You can use an empty bucket, trash can, or traditional fitness ball stand.
  • A fast-paced music playlist – Upbeat songs like “Uptown Funk,” “We Will Rock You,” “Party Rock,” “Footloose,” and so many more will get you moving.

Cardio Drumming Routines

Finding a cardio drumming routine you can follow isn’t difficult. There are plenty of options available online through sites like YouTube you can follow in the privacy of your home, or you can join a workout class and use these routines to practice.

If you do plan to try these videos at home, we recommend inviting a friend. Cardio drumming is much more fun as a group setting, and research shows that exercising with other people can even release more feel-good endorphins.

Use these top YouTube videos for inspiration or watch all five of them back to back for an excellent home cardio workout. If you don’t like the songs, don’t worry. You can always search for songs you enjoy or create a personal playlist of your favorite drum tracks.

I Got a Feeling Cardio Drumming Routine

Warm-up your muscles and jump in with The Black Eyed Peas’ song “I Got a Feeling.” It’s a fun cardio drumming exercise with a dance-worthy beat. You’ll burn plenty of calories with this song, especially where the tempo picks up speed during the bridge.


Poker Face Cardio Drumming Routine

This YouTube video follows a free cardio drumming class from Cage Nutrition, and the song “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga is perfect. It kicks off with a step-like beat you march in place to, moving into more of a marching band routine. The routine also incorporates using multiple balls, so it’s great for a group setting.


Rolling In The Deep Cardio Drumming Routine

Beginners enjoy this one! Use this routine when you’re alone at home. It’s an excellent start to a workout, or as a cool-down after your full-body exercise. The harder you hit the ball with your drumsticks, the more intense you can make this routine.


Gangnam Style Cardio Drumming Routine

What song could be more ideal for a cardio drumming routine than Psy’s “Gangnam Style?!” It’s common in group settings because it’s fast-paced and includes using multiple exercise balls. You’ll jump around, squat, and whack all the balls in your near vicinity.

Shake It Off Cardio Drumming Routine

Taylor Swift has tons of songs that make an ideal cardio drumming routine for girl’s night. Ladies love this much faster-paced routine that includes jumping, squats, and tons of movement for an exciting full-body workout.

Where Can I Do It?

You can do cardio drumming anywhere you like to work out! Like any other cardio routine, the workout must be enjoyable for you. Practice where you feel most comfortable, try cardio drumming alone for the first time, or join a group at your local gym to reap more benefits by exercising with other people.

Cardio drumming is easy at home because you can customize the workout to suit you. Follow a YouTube routine, create your own playlist, or ask a friend to join you.

If you’re not sure how to begin, taking a class can help. Drums Alive, one of the first organizations to pair music and exercise, is an excellent place to start. They’re the official spokesperson for today’s cardio drumming, which began in Germany in 2001.

You can also find cardio drumming exercise groups at a fitness center near you. There are multiple workout classes taking on the routine across the nation. Their workout sessions typically consist of a warm-up followed by a tailored routine full of cardio and a slower drumming cool down at the end of the session.

Versatile Workouts as a Fun Drumming Exercise: Who Would Have Guessed?

Because cardio drumming is fun and doesn’t make as much noise as traditional drums, you can use the exercise to help build your muscles and endurance anywhere, at any time of day.

Plus, fun and easy exercises like this aren’t just great for musicians. They burn calories and help people continue regular workouts, keeping Americans healthy and fit.

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About Ged Richardson

Ged Richardson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of He has been featured in Entrepreneur, PremierGuitar, Hallmark, Wanderlust, CreativeLive, and other major publications. As an avid music fan, he spends his time researching and writing about new and old music, as well as testing and reviewing music-related products. He's played guitar in various bands, from rock to gypsy jazz. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel, where he geeks out about his favorite bands.

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