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July 22, 2008updated 19 Aug 2016 10:07am

Who’s fitter: drummers or footballers? Phil Collins vs. Ronaldo!

New research says rock drummers may be even fitter than footballers.


That bastion of UK journalism, Metro, ran a story this morning headlined, “Drummers fitter than footballers.”

“Footballers might moan about putting in 90 minutes’ work a week but rock drummers are subjecting themselves to the same workout every night on tour,” said the paper.

So, are drummers really fitter than footballers? Check out CBR’s innovative drummers vs. footballer picture challenge and decide for yourself. But be warned, there is nudity below…

According to the Metro, Blondie drummer Clem Burke, who was hooked up to a heart-rate monitor, saw a heart rate while performing averaging between 140 and 150 beats per minute, but it occasionally reached as high as 190 beats per minute. He burned between 400 and 600 calories an hour.

“Footballers can normally expect to play 40 to 50 games a year,” noted Dr Marcus Smith, of the University of Chichester, who helped carry out the research. “They find playing a Champions League game once every two weeks a drain but musicians are doing it every day when they are on tour.” I guess he is referring to drumming when he says “doing it every day”.

The big flaw in the analysis of these results, however, is that footballers don’t only exercise for 90 minutes once every two weeks: they train intensively four days a week, on top of their match performances.

I’m not being too ‘narky’ though: the research is being used to encourage more youngsters to take up drumming, or even join the Clem Burke Drumming Project, which is working with the government to develop programmes to help overweight youngsters. That sounds like a genuinely good cause. I’ve had a lot of – aherm – satisfaction, from playing guitar in a band, so I would be in favour of getting more youngsters into playing music whether it helped with their fitness or not.

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But I couldn’t resist the temptation of putting a couple of pics up to see whether the claims ring true: are drummers really fitter than footballers?



Phil Collins: No Jacket Required.



Christiano Ronaldo: half-naked, for a change.


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