Improve foot strength and stamina with these 'workout' based practice ideas.
After I published the article on Using Heavier Sticks When Practicing I was asked the very good question:
Can this concept be applied to the feet?. The answer is very much yes but a slightly more technical approach is needed. To the best of my knowledge there are three ways to do this and I will talk through these below.
Increase Spring Tension
The best way I've found to increase the 'weight' on the bass drum pedal is to increase the tension of the springs. This won't actually increase the weight in the same way that using a pair of heavier sticks does but it will increase the resistance of the pedal, giving the same effect. On most pedals the springs are on the side and if you have a double kick pedal you will usually see a spring on either side. Underneath the actual spring will be something you can turn to tighten the spring, this is very easy to do and there will usually be a guide with specific details in the manual you received with the pedal. Be aware, when the spring is tighter the beater will 'bounce' a lot more.
Add Weights To The Beaters
You can purchase counter weights that you can position on the beater of the pedal. Iron Cobra Pedals come with a small metal ring on the beater that can either be used as a memory lock or a counter weight. Pearl also sell a similar product. The higher up the beater you position these, the heavier the beater will feel.
Strap Weights To Your Feet
If you google 'Ankle Weights' you will find some items that you strap to parts of your bardy when working out. Strapping a set of these to your feet will work quite nicely for this idea. If you play with heel down technique strapping them to the top part of your foot would be more affective and if you play heel up around your ankle would be preferable.
Remember that the aim of this idea is to increase weight while practicing so when you come to play your standard kit your pedals will feel lighter. If you prefer a heavier feel on your pedals then these tips can be applied to your general playing but it is intended as a practice tip.