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How Many Calories Does Drumming Burn? (Pro Drummer’s Take)

There’s no doubt that drums are one of the most physically demanding instruments to play. You use your whole body to play them, and you’ll definitely break a sweat after playing for an extended period. 

Some people claim that drumming is a good alternative to working out. Is that true? We’re going to break that answer down by explaining how many calories are burnt when playing the drums. We’ll also explain how to burn more calories and elaborate on how your body type and age affect those numbers.

Drumming and Calories Burnt


On average, drummers tend to burn anywhere between 200 and 600 calories whenever they play drums for an hour. The number of calories burnt depends on several factors, and that’s why we can’t give a solid number. 

Some drummers burn even fewer calories in the same amount of time, while others may burn up to 1000. 

The things that you need to account for are age, height, skill level, and playing intensity. These affect how a drummer plays, and that leads to more or fewer calories being burnt. 

Drumming arguably burns the most calories out of any instrument where you stay in one place and play. Marching band drummers will burn a lot more as they have to march and play at the same time.

Things That Affect Drumming Calorie Count


Drums are an instrument that people of all ages can play, but you’ll find that younger people benefit a lot more from drumming in terms of getting a workout. The younger you are, the more energy you will expend when doing the same activity as an older person. 

So, children burn a lot more calories when playing drums compared to adults. The numbers start to even out when comparing adult ages, but you’ll still see a slight difference between young adults and middle-aged adults

It becomes harder to burn calories and lose weight as you get older, and even drummers, unfortunately, can’t escape that reality. 


Height is another huge factor that affects how many calories you can burn while playing the drums. Tall people tend to burn more calories than shorter people, as their limbs go through wider ranges of motions when doing things. 

However, a short person will need to lift their arms higher to play the drums, and their legs will have a wider gap between the pedals. So, you get the opposite effect with drumming, leading shorter people to expend more energy

This all depends on the drum setup as well, though. Some drummers like placing their cymbals very high, leading them to expend more energy when they reach to hit them. Other drummers who position their drums and cymbals closer together don’t burn as many calories when playing. 


Skill also plays a very big role in determining how many calories you burn. If you want to start playing drums as you’ve heard it burns a lot of calories, we’ve got some bad news for you. It’s only experienced drummers who burn between 200 and 600 calories an hour, while beginner drummers burn a lot less

When someone is new to playing the drums, they won’t be able to constantly play beats and fills for extended periods. The stopping and starting won’t increase your heart rate, and some drummers won’t even burn more the 100 calories in an hour’s practice session. 

You only burn a lot of calories when you’re constantly playing and moving your limbs around the kit. That’s why skilled drummers burn more than beginner drummers. 

Drumming Style

The final aspect to factor in regarding calorie count is the style of drumming that you have. There are dozens of different ways to play the drums. Some drummers are more reserved in their motions, using wrists and fingers to play quick patterns. Other drummers use more of their arms to play the drums hard. 

Drummers who play harder with more energy will burn a lot more calories than drummers who don’t move their arms around too much. You’ll find that drummers playing heavy rock gigs get a much better workout than drummers playing smooth jazz gigs. 

With all the movement and excitement involved in a live rock gig, your hear trate hits a much higher point, and that leads to more calories being burnt.

How to Burn More Calories When Drumming

If you want to burn more calories when playing the drums, you need to move your body more. The more movementyour body does, the higher your heart rate will get. This may feel a bit weird if you’re used to keeping reserved motions with your arms and legs, but it’s necessary if your goal is to get a good workout. 

You’ll find that most drummers burn more calories when playing live than they do when practicing at home. A good way to make sure that you’re getting the same benefit is to pretend that you’re at a live gig whenever you’re practicing. Try to match the energy that you would bring to a live stage.

What Muscles are Used When Drumming?

Gym Workout for drummers. Hit the active Muscles.

Some people also claim that drumming builds your muscles. While that’s not entirely true, as you need to overload your muscles to build them, drumming does work them and keeps them toned. 

When we play drums, we heavily utilize our core, calves, triceps, forearms, upper back, and quads. You’ll find that if you work these muscles in your own personal workouts, you’ll see direct benefits in your drumming.

Is Drumming a Good Form of Exercise?

Is Drumming A Good Workout? Let's Find Out

Drumming is a decent form of exercise, but only if you keep a raised heart rate long enough to burn several hundred calories. It’s better to think of drumming as a musical and creative activity than it is to think of it as a physical activity. 

We strongly discourage using drumming as your only form of exercise. It’s not reliable enough to give you good results, as the number of calories you burn depends on how you play. 

It’s better to do recognized forms of exercise like running, swimming, or cycling, and then you can just happily accept the slight physical benefits of drumming as well.

Final Thoughts on How Many Calories Drumming Burns

While it’s an interesting fact that drumming can burn up to 1000 calories per hour, only the most energetic drummers will ever achieve that. Most drummers have more reserved playing styles, so burning between 200 and 600 calories is a more realistic expectation

However, we don’t recommend using drumming as your main form of exercise. Think of how many killer drummers there are out there that are still very overweight. They play for hours every day, but drumming doesn’t do as much for them as consistent cardio training will. 

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