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Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Neil Peart workout: Preparing for a concert tour

In Issue 10 of DW Edge Magazine, Neil Peart outlines his personal workout and drum rehearsal routine to prepare for the Clockwork Angels tour. I thought it might be interesting for others to see this broken down into a list with some excerpts from the article. If you've ever wondered what it takes to perform at Peart's level (at age 60, no less), this is a good place to start.

Read the full article (PDF).  

Phase 1: "Off season" workout: February - June 2012 (3x week)

1: Bike ride to the gym (20 minutes)

"A twenty-minute bicycle ride across town, with my workout gear stuffed into a backpack, is a decent warm-up. Changing at the lockers, I trade the helmet for a bandana, to keep the sweat out of my eyes (the same purpose as the hats I wear while drumming)."

2. Cross-training machine (30 minutes)

3. Yoga and calisthenics (20 minutes)

  • Neck and shoulder rolls
  • Standing poses of the Sun Salutations
  • Warrior poses
  • Triangle
  • Lunges
  • Downward dog
  • Plank
  • Upward dog
  • Sitting stretches

3. Sit-ups (25)

4. Weights (20 reps each, 50, 70, 90 pounds depending on muscle group)

  • Leg presses
  • bicep curls
  • Tricep presses
  • Leg curls
  • Chest presses
  • Leg lifts
  • High-lat pulldowns
  • Chest flys (15 pound dumbbells on an inclined bench)

5. Swimming (cool down)

  • 14 laps of front crawl
  • 2 laps of breast stroke

6. Bike home (20-30 minutes, slightly uphill)

7. Dinner

"... another important aspect of fitness is diet, of course. Being the meal-planner, grocery shopper, and cook in our house (Chef Bubba is a working homemaker), our meals always offer a healthy assortment of nutrients. Lots of fish and chicken, steamed vegetables in multiple colors, and a comforting carbohydrate. I also believe in a daily multivitamin as a supplement (and single malt whisky, when the day's work is done)."

Phase 2: "Sport Specific" workout: Drum rehearsals at Drum Channel Studio: June 25 - July 18 (Daily for 3-1/2 weeks)

"After such a long period of conditioning, I came in physically strong, but the only real training for drumming is drumming. See, it's all that hitting. Irresistible force strikes immovable object and that ... a few thousand times.

"In professional athletics this approach is called sport-specific training. Cyclists have to cycle and runners have to run. However, it remains true that all of the advance fitness work I did gave me the foundation to build on."

  1. Drive to Drum Channel (50 miles)
  2. Work on songs
  3. Smooth out technological problems
  4. Work on solo
  5. Drive home (50 miles)
  6. Dinner
  7. Sleep in own bed

"Gump and I would have three-and-a-half weeks to work on the songs, smooth out any technological problems, and dream up some new solo ideas. This is my favorite part of the touring process because I begin the day at home with my family, then have a challenging and satisfying hard day's work, and end up at home cooking the family dinner and sleeping in my own bed. And it includes one of the world's best commutes, fifty miles up the Pacific Coast Highway and back every day. You really cannot beat that.

Weight loss: 10 pounds

Phase 3: After July 18 - September 6: Production Rehearsals with Rush

"Right off the bat I will be away from home for more than two months straight, with band and production rehearsals in Toronto, and the first leg of the tour. The family will visit from time to time, but still -- that is a long exile from one's everyday life. Nearly forty years of such a nomadic existence has adapted me to being separated from my loved ones, and taught me not to dwell on the sad fact of it, but those at home do not share that "partitioning." Carrie now becomes a single parent for the next five months. Three-year-old Olivia has had most of a year with Daddy being around, and now she finds his absence unsettling -- and upsetting. As I have remarked before, I can endure missing Olivia, but I can't stand her missing me.

Phase 4: 35 shows across North America


posted by AndyO @ 4:23 PM   1 comments