Build Your Left Hand Chops

One of the MOST common questions I’m sure everyone has is “How can I build my left hand chops?”

And for good reason,

1. You obviously noticed that you have a weaker hand and
2. You’re taking action by doing something about it.

Whether you right handed, or left handed, the opposing side is commonly the weaker hand. Especially for Snare players using Traditional Grip, it can feel like a steep hill battle to get that Traditional hand built up to sound like your right hand.

Whatever the case may be, it’s something we all encounter and something we all need to overcome.

If you’re serious about building your chops and not just coasting and “pecking” along, then the information is FOR YOU.

My advice, print this sheet out and put it next to you whenever you’re looking to build your chops.

Build Your Left Hand Chops NOW

Add Resistance: Just like every muscle in your body, you gotta add resistance if you want to see any gain in your chops.  My advice?  If possible, spend more time on your drum.  Think of building chops as a straight line path, fromyou to your drum.  That’s the most direct way to build up those muscles and condition them to grow.  Now that’s if it’spossible.  If not, then grab yourself a hard sided marching practice pad.  These are becoming to feel more like drum heads that ever so take a look around.

Develop Control : This is the most uncoventional way to build your left hand chops, or any chops for that matter, and it probably one of or THE most powerful out of all of these ways.  Learning to develop control over your sticksforces your hands to really grip the sticks and use your muscle energy efficiently.  I talk more about this in my other posts that you can check out here: build chops FAST – but really take the time learning how to play at the slow tempos.  Once you develop that control, you’ll be surprised how much easier you can play faster and faster.

Enhance Endurance : With all that being said, ONCE YOU’VE DEVELOPED CONTROL, take it up several notches.  If you want to play faster and louder, you have to EXPERIENCE what fast and loud are like.  Take the tempos up to about 90% of how fast you can play.  I’d never say go %100 of how fast you can really play because you don’t want to tear or strain any of those muscles in your forearms.  With playing higher, really try to up the heights – within reason- on your exercises.  Be smart about it, don’t try to play vertical rolls at 250bpm.  C’mon.  But use that control and gravity to up the heights and increase the sound.  :)

Stop Practicing : Just like working out the rest of your body, your muscles need time to relax.  Only spend a portion of your practice time trying to build chops or you’ll “chop out”, thus over work your muscles and could really hurt yourself.  Go hard one day and then take it a little easier the next.  I’m not saying take a full day off, but don’t make building chops your main priority each time your practice.  One day hard, and then one day worth of light drumming and light stretching.  Maybe a “control” day.  Trust me, after a day off, you’re hands will feel so refreshed and ready to go.

Be More Comfortable : This is another one of those unconventional ways to build your chops that I learned from the La Quinta quad guys and it’s such a powerful way to build up your comfort “behind the scenes” without drumming.  During your day, learn to be more comfortable with your weak hand.  With whatever you do.  Try using your left handwith pouring milk, eating food with a spoon, drinking out of a glass, opening a door, picking up your backpack, (you fill in the blank here).  Try it with whatever you’re doing and you’ll quickly see how uncomfortable these situations will feel to you.  At first your grip will feel overly strong and uneasy but the more your utilize this day to day, you’ll become more comfortable with it.  From there it’s a breeze to practice more.


Anthony here again,

Hope all that helps you build up insane chops and handle.  Gotta head out, but come by soon:

Tomorrow another EXCLUSIVE interview for all of you International readers out there.

Build chops today, but practice smart,

Anthony Huerta

Incoming search terms:

  • pour milk
  • how to build chops on a snare
  • how to build snare drum chops
  • how to be a better snare drummer
  • traditional grip left hand exercises