I want to know the muscle groups which are used in performing heel-up technique and how they are used. This is to know if I am doing it correct. While striking shall I use my hip muscles to lift my leg up and then use my ankle (which will use shin and calf muscles) to strike. Or shall I just rest my weight of legs on the pedal and just use calf muscles to bounce my leg in the air which will ultimately come down performing 1 strike.

2 Answers 2


It's up to your own preference, but I have never seen a drummer solely use his ankle to strike the kick drum. This seems rather exhausting to me.

I mainly use the muscles of my upper leg to lift the leg. Then I use a combination of my ankle muscles + upper leg muscles to hit the kick drum. Between strokes I rest my legs on the pedals.

YourMusicMuse has a good video of this technique.


There is no "right" answer. You can use both techniques you mentioned, depending on the end goal. Playing with a whole leg vs foot-only can create a huge difference in dynamics, i.e. accents. Also, playing successive fast notes usually requires a combination of both types of strokes.

I've collected a few tips on my bass drum page, including useful videos from a former death metal drummer Marthyn Jovanovic. I find them quite useful even though I'm mostly interested in playing jazz.

The combination of strokes is best described in Jojo Mayer's foot technique. One interpretation you can see here. It is good to practice exaggerating the moves, just so that the movement sinks in.

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