Photo by Ken Martinson/Marching.com
The Colts Drum and Bugle Corps recently received a grant from the Medical Associates Clinic Foundation of Dubuque in order to fund a three-year medical research project. This project will study the effects that performances and rehearsals have on drum corps members. The project will be led in part by Dr. Steven Rock, a volunteer team physician and medical advisor with the corps.
This project will begin by monitoring the activity of each member to measure the distance they march, the amount of calories they burn and the changes in their heart rates.
Using this data, Rock says that the corps can create a recommended pre-season workout as well as find a “sweet spot in terms of rehearsal time and rehearsal quality to optimize and enhance performance overall.”
Rock says that the findings of this project are crucial to creating a proper pre-season workout. “Basically, if we determine that corps march 10 miles per day, for example, and we determine that 80% of the activity is aerobic and 20% is anaerobic, we can design workouts which will gradually build up to the demands required during the season,” he says. “The workout schedule could include activities to enhance aerobic and anaerobic performance and also allow the body to adapt to the physical stresses of drum corps.”
Rock believes that developing an exercise program based on this project’s findings and implementing it between winter camps and the May move-in will result in much fewer injuries throughout the season. “Without a gradual buildup to these workloads, there is a higher rate of injury,” he says.
While some drum corps already have a pre-season workout in place, this project could expand to other corps to “make it a more universal thing where all the corps have a pre-season workout they can tap into,” says Rock, who is also co-coordinator of medical research for the Drum Corps Medical Project.
“Basically, we can send out an exercise program week by week from January on,” he says. “With this information, [other corps] can look at it and see how they base their workouts. That way, we can make it more competitive.”
Ideally, Rock hopes that this project is not just about drum corps. “Hopefully we can use this information beyond drum corps to the high school level,” he says. “Some of the kids from marching bands have very similar problems to drum corps. [We hope this project has] a trickle-down effect.”
As of now, Rock is very excited to work with the Colts. “They’re right here and very eager to get this information,” he says.