The drumset is one of the most physically demanding instruments. As with any other high-intensity physical activity, it helps to loosen up your muscles first with some basic exercises. In this article we’re exploring a warm-up routine based on the double-stroke roll played as triplets. To begin, practice doubling each stroke of the 8th-note triplet, as shown below.
In each of the following exercises, we’ll play a measure of 8thnote triplets with different accents, followed by a measure with the same accent patterns but with double strokes (RR or LL) in place of the unaccented notes. Each exercise should be repeated several times before you move on. Start at a tempo that feels comfortable. I typically play these exercises anywhere between 100 and 160 bpm. The practice surface you use is up to you. I like to play the warm-ups on a pad or a closed hi-hat, along with quarter notes on the bass drum.
In Exercise 3, we shift the accent one note to the right, so the pattern starts on the middle note of the first triplet.
In Exercise 4, the accent starts on the third note of the first triplet.
In Exercise 5, the accent pattern starts on beat 2.
Exercises 9 and 10 are based on accenting every other note of the triplets.
Exercises 11–13 consist of two consecutive accents followed by two unaccented notes.
The next few exercises contain random accents.
Once you’ve mastered these exercises, experiment with different ways to apply them to the drumset. For example, you can play the unaccented notes on the snare and the accented notes on toms, or you can play the unaccented notes on the snare and the accented notes on cymbals together with the bass drum.