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Author: Richard Symister

Breath Work & Drumming Part 3: Building Your Breath Work Chops

MovEvolution Drumming Therapy

Breath Work & Drumming: Maintaining Your Tempo & Improving Control

Part 3: Building Your Breath Work Chops

So far, we’ve discussed:

  • what defines dysfunctional breathing
  • what detriments dysfunctional breathing poses to the drummer 
  • how to screen yourself for proper breath work

Want to correct poor breathing habits and build up your breath work “chops” for improved drumming performance?  Let’s get to our breathing rudiments!
 
Breath work 101
Tempo Breathing
Tempo breathing uses a count to maintain your breathing rhythm, allowing you time to use the oxygen you inhale, as well as enough time to get the carbon dioxide out. 
4-1-4-1 tempo. This is the foundation. I start everyone here.

  1. Take a nasal inhalation that should last 4 seconds
  2. Hold 1 second
  3. Take a  nasal or mouth exhalation that should last 4 seconds. 
  4. Hold 1 second
  5. Continue x 1 minute. 

4/4 Tempo
Once you feel comfortable with 4-1-4-1 tempo, challenge your lungs and diaphragm by expanding your hold time to 4 seconds.

  1. Take a nasal inhalation that should last 4 seconds
  2. Hold 4 seconds 
  3. Take a  nasal or mouth exhalation that should last 4 seconds. 
  4. Hold 4 seconds

Continue x 1 minute. (For all those drummers that read music, this is 8 bars of breath work.)
 
Positional Training
90/90 Breathing
Begin by positioning yourself face up so that your back is on the floor with the feet on a chair. The knees and the hips are bent to 90 degrees.  Your neck and spine should be “neutral” and comfortable. Place one hand on the upper chest and one hand on the lower abdomen. 

  1. Take a nasal inhalation. Your stomach should rise, not your chest.
  2. Take a nasal or mouth exhalation. Your stomach should flatten.
  3. Add in “tempo” breathing, starting with the foundation 4-1-4-1 count.
  4. Continue x 1 minute. 

Alligator/Crocodile Breathing
Begin laying face-down with your forehead resting on your hands and let your chest and hips sink into the floor. 

  1. Inhale nasally.
  2. Focus on lifting your body up in the air with your belly (alligator breath). 
  3. Take a nasal or mouth exhalation. Your stomach should flatten.
  4. Add in “tempo” breathing, starting with the foundation 4-1-4-1 count.
  5. Continue x 1 minute. 

Sitting Breathing
Sit comfortably, with your knees bent and your shoulders, head and neck relaxed. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.

  1. Take a nasal inhalation. Your stomach should rise, not your chest.
  2. Take a nasal or mouth exhalation. Your stomach should flatten.
  3. Add in “tempo” breathing, starting with the foundation 4-1-4-1 count.
  4. Continue x 1 minute. 

 
Functional Playing Position 
Now you tie everything together, sitting or standing at your instrument.  

  1. Make sure you start with practicing proper breath work, starting with the 4-1-4-1 tempo and progressing to 4/4 tempo breathing. 
  2. Play. See if you can maintain your breathing tempo, regardless of your actual drumming tempo or intensity. 

 
Better breath control equates directly to better drum control.The training is easy and will make a big difference in not just your drumming, but your overall wellness.
Hey, your body can’t make up beats if your body is all beat up! Contact Us to play without pain HERE!