Corona virus and Jiu Jitsu were not made for each other. Lockdown has meant the closure of almost every BJJ gym in the world. Although we will be returning to training soon, there is still time to get some solo training in. Even when things are back to normal, it will still be valuable to be able to train alone. Below are some examples of solo training and for items you can use as a ‘sparring dummy’.
One of the most fundamental movements in BJJ is the shrimp. It is used primarily from escaping bottom position. Shrimping is also an excellent movement for developing movement in the hips and core. The floor provides natural resistance to the movement which is great for strength and endurance. Although it may seem like a straightforward drill, shrimping elevates the heart rate and develops on-the-ground conditioning. I think the most beneficial aspect is its contribution towards hip mobility. The hips are an under-appreciated part of the human body but are crucial to a strong BJJ game. Getting shrimp reps in is an effective way of developing this area whilst training solo.
Using Your Head
Using your head as a ‘5th limb’ is a very strong means of passing guard. Whilst your arms are pinning and holding, your legs are moving your body, your head is too often under utilized (Check out Hiago George passing guard). Using your head to pin down your opponents chest or shoulder is an effective way of neutralizing that threat. Your neck muscles are surprisingly strong and you can add pressure by driving your weight through your head. Practice by pinning your head and walking your body around the pinned item. This is great to drill alone as all you need is a thick pillow or duvet.
The next best thing to a sparring partner is a sparing dummy. You will find several examples of this online. Some people use yoga balls, some use actual dummies, others use heavy bags to replicate the weight of a real person. For most of us, duck tape and cushions will do the trick. Essentially, you are looking for a object which you can practice tactical movements on. Think guard passing, advancing position, holding position etc. The key areas to consider are weight, length and solidness (sparring against a few wooden planks doesn’t work out well).
Chair = Legs
One of the most innovative tools in solo BJJ training is in your kitchen. The chair has legs with which you can practice your open guard positions and sweeps. The chair legs act as rigid human legs which isn’t perfect but it’s certainly better than nothing. Guards that spring to mind are the X, Butterfly and De La Riva. With a chair, you can get into these positions and feel them out from different angles.
Chair = Legs It seems like a cop out but isometric core strength is essential in all facets of BJJ. Whenever we find ourselves in a bottom position, attacking or defending, our core is activated in order to advance our position. If you have ever trained you will understand the importance of this one so here’s 5 exercises instead. Deadbugs, Knee to Elbows, Plank Holds, Plank Crunches and V-Holds. Vary your intensity, reps and tempo with all of these and you will feel a difference on the mats.