Double Bass Warm-Ups

Bass Drum Boot Camp

The drum set is a very physical instrument. That’s why it’s so important that you warm up thoroughly before a gig or a practice session. This will help you avoid injuries and make your playing that much more relaxed, fast, and controlled.

In this free drum lesson, Dave Atkinson teaches you how to play five cool warm-ups especially designed for your feet. Even if you don’t have a double bass pedal or two bass drums, you can still use these exercises with your hi-hat pedal and single pedal combo.

The exercises can also be used to improve your coordination, speed, and endurance. To work on coordination, combine the feet patterns from the warm-ups with the hand patterns from any beat or fill on DrumLessons.com. For speed and endurance, practice these exercises for long periods of time without stopping.

Check the free drum lesson on Double Bass Control if you want more tips on how to improve speed and endurance.


Warm-up #1 is a great exercise for isolating the feet. Working on each foot individually will give you a better understanding of how each foot behaves regarding control, timing, and independence. If you’re not used to using your weaker foot as much as your stronger foot, you may find yourself struggling with this warm-up. Work on playing consistent sounding and evenly spaced strokes.

Warm-up #2 is designed to work on both feet at the same time through a 16th note single stroke roll. Play this exercise at a speed you feel comfortable with. The idea here is to warm up your feet, not to push yourself. Warm-ups are used as a means to prepare your body to execute demanding physical efforts without the danger of getting injured. Pushing yourself too far while warming up will do you more harm than good.

Warm-up #3 is similar to the previous one. Both feet are warmed up at the same time – only this time, the single stroke roll is performed as 16th note triplets. Slow down the metronome if you feel any discomfort while playing the warm-up.

Warm-up #4 works on your ability to transition between 8th notes and 8th note triplets with your feet. The foot leading the roll on the second measure alternates every other count. Because of it, you’ll have to play unison strokes with the weaker foot and the leading hand. This can give rise to some coordination issues, since the area of the brain that controls the right side of the human body is distinct from the area that controls the left side.

It’s important that you line up everything perfectly. Strive for uniformity and control instead of speed. As your brain gets used to playing unison figures between opposite sides of your body, you’ll acquire the control needed to play things cleaner and faster. This is a hard exercise so be patient with it.

Warm-up #5 preps your feet for playing really fast bursts of 32nd notes. You won’t be able to use your whole legs to play each stroke at faster tempos. Most of the movement will naturally come from the ankles since high rates of strokes require smaller motions.

Now that you know how to warm up your feet properly, you can start learning some double bass patterns. We encourage you to check the free drum lessons “Double Bass Foot Assignment” and “The Double Bass Drum Pyramid” next.