Bass drum leg - HUGE issues

Drumsarefun

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Hi, so I've always had a weak bass drum after around 10 years of playing. I'm trying to address this through exercises, but I feel the issue is more a technique or mechanical one rather than just needing to push through and practice to build stamina.

The reason I think this is because I don't feel the "burn" or tension in the right places and the right muscles when doing bass drum exercises - i.e. I don't feel the burn in the front of my shin due to moving my ankle, but rather further up in my hip.

I play heel up, and I get a huge amount of strain/fatigue/pressure/tension/pain in the hip flexor of my right leg. I've figured out this comes from holding up the weight of my leg once I raise my heel - **the issue disappears when I put my heel back on the pedal**

This happens both when playing straight consistent notes e.g. straight 8ths AND when playing doubles (i.e. bonham triplets)

Things I have tried:

- Raising my stool

- Sitting closer to the pedal to remove some of the weight on my hip flexor

- Adjusting spring tension and beater distance

- Trying to relax the muscle consciously when playing (it always tenses up again)

From searching this online I see that some people have had this issue before, but it's not super common I don't think.

I'm really starting to think I just have some kind of weakness there i.e. limb proportions are weird, I have a weak muscle

Either that or I just have bad technique, but **I can't find anyway to comfortably raise my heel off the pedal without instantly feeling some kind of discomfort and strain in my hip flexor**

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, really struggling with this
 

ThomFloor

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Hard to diagnose, it may help to post a short pic or vid of your leg position on the pedal. It sounds like you are using far too much hip movement and not enough ankle or lower parts of your leg. Also do you bury the beater or use rebound? The latter requires less energy.
 

CSR

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Raise your throne so your femur is slightly slanted toward your knee. Play heel down except for “bombs”. Use a Moeller-type motion where your leg drop (if heel up) moves into your ankle, which whips the ball of your foot and toes into the pedal.

See a physical therapist.
 

Old Dog

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Hard to diagnose, it may help to post a short pic or vid of your leg position on the pedal. It sounds like you are using far too much hip movement and not enough ankle or lower parts of your leg. Also do you bury the beater or use rebound? The latter requires less energy.

I agree. Why not try Lowering your throne and as others have mentioned, go HEEL Down. Just let your leg relax as much as possible and try to change it up and let your foot do the work.
 

Drumsarefun

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I agree. Why not try Lowering your throne and as others have mentioned, go HEEL Down. Just let your leg relax as much as possible and try to change it up and let your foot do the work.
Hmm, I suppose I just thought of heel up as more versatile, and also as I primarily play alternative/rock styles I get more power from that. I definitely can try it, although my heel down is very weak as I've never really played that way

I also guess that doesn't really feel like a solution but rather avoidance of a problem I have that I would like to improve - ideally I'd like to be able to use multiple different technique when it calls for it!

Hard to diagnose, it may help to post a short pic or vid of your leg position on the pedal. It sounds like you are using far too much hip movement and not enough ankle or lower parts of your leg. Also do you bury the beater or use rebound? The latter requires less energy.
I think I use too much hip movement as you say. I try to use more ankle, but I think A) it's not a motion I'm used to so I find it very hard to isolate that muscle and possibly even more of an issue is B) even "hovering"/floating/suspending my ankle off from the pedal and holding it there results in a strain in the hip flexor. So basically I'm not sure how I can allow myself to make use of more of an ankle pivot, since it requires me to lift the pedal off and the moment I do that, my hip flexor is tensed up

Thanks for your replied. I will try get a vid of it if that will help :)
 

Old Dog

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Hmm, I suppose I just thought of heel up as more versatile, and also as I primarily play alternative/rock styles I get more power from that. I definitely can try it, although my heel down is very weak as I've never really played that way

I also guess that doesn't really feel like a solution but rather avoidance of a problem I have that I would like to improve - ideally I'd like to be able to use multiple different technique when it calls for it!



I think I use too much hip movement as you say. I try to use more ankle, but I think A) it's not a motion I'm used to so I find it very hard to isolate that muscle and possibly even more of an issue is B) even "hovering"/floating/suspending my ankle off from the pedal and holding it there results in a strain in the hip flexor. So basically I'm not sure how I can allow myself to make use of more of an ankle pivot, since it requires me to lift the pedal off and the moment I do that, my hip flexor is tensed up

Thanks for your replied. I will try get a vid of it if that will help :)

I feel ya. I have bone spurs in my neck and degenerative disc disease in my lower back. I struggle with thrones and finding comfort in general.
 

nylontip

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I find stretching to be very beneficially before/after playing especially on gig nights. Regular exercise gives additional stamina and helps prevent a lot of sore muscles.

Lowering the seat will help. Some heel-up players tend to have throne too high which causes them to "lean" into the pedal. Players that do this become unbalanced and unconsciously
start tilting their body to compensate. Stress and fatigue are inevitable.
(if you ever drove a truck for a good distance with your seat too high, same thing happens. Lowering the seat is the remedy)

I found this article which supports the stretching idea:

"To prevent hip flexor injuries, keep these tips in mind:
  • Always warm up before engaging in any exercise or physical activity, even if it's just practice.
  • Make sure you do a cool down after activity. Slowly stretch each muscle group and hold the stretch for a few seconds.
  • Keep your muscles in good shape by regularly exercising. Exercises that help stretch and strengthen your hip flexors include pigeon pose, bridges, lunges, seated butterfly stretch, straight leg raises, and squats. Don't push too hard; these shouldn't hurt.


Of course if the pain persists, there may be another underlying issue.
As I get older, I'm finding new underlying issues all the time!!!
 
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fun2drum

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I think you might just have a forward/backward balance issue with your throne seat area. Do you sit back on your throne or do you sit near the front of it? Does your throne have a backrest, and if so, does it allow you to scoot your butt back toward the rear or does it force you to sit forward? I have suffered from similar issues, as well as leg cramps, from supporting the weight of my leg while playing. It's been a curse since I was playing in my school days. I found that sitting more toward the rear of my throne and setting it a little high balances my thighs better and provides extra support. This takes some of the weight off of my leg muscles and makes a noticeable difference. I actually bent the backrest frame on my Roc n Soc throne back so that I could sit back more. I saw in another thread somewhere that somebody was using an office chair as a throne because of the deeper seat area. I've been thinking about trying that, at least for playing at home.
 

Old PIT Guy

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I was going to mention balance as well. An easy way to determine this is to spend a little time working with heel down to get somewhat fluent with it. Then work on some basic independence things heel-up, say .. quarter note foot pulse with the hi-hat and various syncopated figures with the bass drum against the pulse, especially successive 3 note patterns in and around the upbeat of the foot on the hat. If you can execute these heel down but not heel up, balance is an issue, and going back and forth between heel up/down to work those out will help a lot. Good luck!
 

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