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Learning Moves & Patterns for Fitness Drumming in PE


Fitness drumming is undoubtably one of the latest fitness trends that has quickly become a classic activity I will use for years to come. It is a great bridge to other dance and rhythm activities, is inclusive, and everyone can feel success no matter their skill level. My students get in a great workout following different patterns and routines to upbeat fitness music while also performing squats, lunges, side lunges, jumping jacks, and locomotor movements such as side shuffle, hopping, quick feet, and grapevine.

Here are some basic moves and patterns to teach students and build your own fitness drumming routines. Teach these moves in 8 counts and 4 counts. I like to print and post these moves in front of me on the SmartDoc Sign Holder for easy viewing. I then mix and match the moves to create my own patterns and routines to various fitness songs.

Basic Drumming Fitness Skills:

  • Singles – Right hand only then left hand only and so on.
  • Alternating Singles – Right, left, right, left, and so on.
  • Doubles – Both hands hit top of ball at same time.
  • Side Clicks – Hit each side of ball at same time.
  • Alternating Side Clicks – Alternate hitting the side of the ball.
  • Bucket Clicks – Hit the side of bucket or stand at the same time.
  • Alternating Bucket Clicks – Alternate hitting the side of the bucket.
  • Floor Taps – Hit the floor out to your side at same time.
  • Alternating Floor Taps – Alternate hitting the floor on your side.
  • Drum it out – Drum as fast as you can!
  • Freestyle – Show me your moves!
  • Stick Clicks:
    • Front – Hit sticks together in front of you.
    • Overhead Clicks – Hit sticks in the air above head.
    • Side Clicks – Hit sticks together on your side.
  • Rainbow Clicks – Start on one side of your body and click sticks together 8 times in an arching pattern, moving up and around the ball like a rainbow. Typically goes 16 counts, so you can go from one side and back (8 counts each direction).
  • Other Cues:
    • Back to Home, Homebase or Home ball – Your ball.
    • To the Left or Left Ball – Ball on your left.
    • To the Right or Right Ball – Ball on your right.

Advanced Drumming Fitness Skills:

  • Circle Pattern or Around the World – Walk or hop around ball, use single or double hits.
  • Windshield Wipers – Hold in squat or 1/4-squat position and then do side crunches from side to side of ball while hitting both sticks on each side of the ball like wipers.
  • Squat & Hit – Squat and use hit of choice as you squat. Or squat hold while hitting.
  • Jumping Jacks – “Click Jacks” are jumping jacks with stick click above head.
  • Click Squats & Lunges – Squat or lunge with clicks in front, overhead, or to the side.
  • Crossovers – Click right over left, then left over right, on top of ball.
  • Grapevine – Grapevine left with a jump and hit on neighbor’s ball on beat 4. Then back 4 counts to home ball. Then repeat to the right.
    • Example: Grapevine to Left ball and hit > grapevine back home and hit > grapevine to right and hit > back to home > repeat.
  • Ball Formations – Rows, small circles, an inner and outer circle, small four square groups.

You can also check out my other fitness drumming blogs, “Getting Started with Fitness Drumming in PE” and “Fitness Drumming Lesson Planning Tips in PE” to complete your toolkit for get started with fitness drumming in your program.

You will find sample routines below and a “Drumming Pattern Card” you can print and have students follow as a reading recognition activity. I hope these resources help you get started with what is a great fitness activity for any physical education program!

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 Easy Setup Using SmartDoc Sign Holder For Teaching Notes
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Drumming Fitness Pattern Card

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Continue the conversation: What are your favorite songs for fitness drumming? What are your favorite moves and patterns? Leave your comments below!


  • Jessica Shawley

    Jessica is a Health & Physical Education Teacher in Lewiston, Idaho. She is a SHAPE America National Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year and a National Board Certified Teacher. Jessica is a part of SHAPE America's Physical Education Council and has also served SHAPE Idaho & the Northwest District in several leadership capacities. Her professional engagement also includes providing professional development workshops, writing blogs and podcasting. Jessica is currently teaching high school health and physical education, leading fitness, dance, yoga and weight training classes.

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