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Drummers beat footballers in fitness levels

LARRY Mullen is fitter than Cristiano Ronaldo, according to scientists.

Every time the U2 drummer rocks his way through a 90-minute performance on stage, he burns more calories than a Premier League footballer, research has shown.

Boffins connected musicians, including Blondie's drummer Clem Burke, to equipment measuring their heart rate, oxygen up-take, and the levels of lactic acid in their blood as they played a set.

The stress caused to their body as they played was then compared to top athletes such as Premiership footballers.

It was found that the drummers' heart rates were raised to as high as 190 beats per minute and they could burn off 600 calories in a performance.

The eight-year study on Burke revealed that drumming for an hour-and-a-half raised his heart rate to the same level as footballer Cristiano Ronaldo in a typical league game.

But while footballers only play about 50 games a year, the 46-year-old U2 drummer probably gets sweaty in front of a drum kit more often, particularly when the band do 'Sunday Bloody Sunday'.

Dr Marcus Smith from Chichester University in Britain, who helped to carry out the research, said: "They [footballers] find playing a Champions League game once every two weeks a drain, but musicians are doing it every day when they are on tour. Their fitness levels need to be outstanding."

Scientists discovered that Burke's heart rate raced at between 140 and 150 beats per minute -- but could peak at 190. And he burned on average 400 to 600 calories per hour when beating the skins.

Despite the image of rock stars as unhealthy and unfit, Dr Smith said they needed "extraordinary stamina".

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It is hoped the research, which is backed by the British government, will help develop programmes for overweight children who are not interested in sport.

Dr Smith, who is a Blondie fan, invited Clem Burke to take part in the research. Burke provided the beat for hits such as 'Heart of Glass', 'Atomic' and 'Call Me'.

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