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Biomechanics, Crash, Drummer, EMG, Ergonomics, Muscle activity







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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Drumming is a physically demanding activity, and skilled drummers share many physical and cognitive attributes with elite athletes. The “double pulse” muscle activation (DPMA) pattern is a motor control strategy that has been observed in athletes of sports involving ballistic movements, such as baseball, golf, and elite Mixed Martial Arts fighters. The two pulses are believed to function to increase striking velocity and effective mass, thus increasing force transfer onto the target. The purpose of this study was to examine the muscle activation patterns of highly skilled drummers for evidence of a DPMA during high-velocity cymbal crashes. Three highly skilled drummers were instrumented with EMG electrodes on the right latissimus dorsi, triceps brachii, erector spinae, rectus abdominis, deltoideus posterior (DP), teres major (TM), flexor carpi ulnaris, and extensor carpi radialis muscles. Six trials of data were collected, including a resting baseline, three maximum voluntary exertions (MVE) consisting of maximal effort cymbal crashes, a drumming pattern that included multiple crashes, and a free play trial. The DPMA waveform was observed in all trials, but the MVE trials were the only trials where DPMAs were confirmed to coincide with the crashing movement via video analysis. The DP and TM muscles exhibited the DPMA the most frequently, with both muscles functioning to extend the shoulder joint to crash the stick onto the cymbal. The extent to which drummers use the DPMA motor control strategy to produce high velocity cymbal crashes safely and efficiently in authentic playing conditions is inconclusive and needs further examination. Future study of the DPMA phenomenon in drummers would benefit from the addition of 3-dimensional motion capture systems (e.g., the Xsens Awinda™) to further understand the purpose of the muscle contractions of the DPMA.

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