View Full Version : BJJ drills

Yael Grauer
01-27-2007, 11:10 PM
Quick question for all the grapplers reading this. What exercises or drills that you can do on your own transfer over the best to improve your BJJ game? Shrimping drills, Olympic lifts, etc... anything else?

Yael Grauer
01-28-2007, 07:37 AM
Thinking about grappling - seriously.

You're so cool, you always answer all of my fighting questions. :) Plus now you've given me the best excuse ever to pull out all of the fight videos my friend left on my doorstep before he left town. :D

Robb Wolf
01-28-2007, 09:27 AM
Thinking about grappling - seriously.

For shizzle. Loads of studies on rehersing things mentally having nearly as good benefit as doing them for real.

Learn to relax, try to use as little attributes as possible.

Derek Simonds
01-28-2007, 12:28 PM
Yael, I responded with a whole lot of stuff over on Crossfit in regards to the exercises I have put together.

I definitely have been watching a lot of video and I also have been reading several different books. I am focusing on getting very comfortable with the basics.

The hardest thing still for me is not trying to muscle through the moves. After Josh's response to me last time that has been my main focus on the mat.

I actually convinced my wife to become my drill partner once a week. She doesn't want to attend any classes but she is willing to roll with me at home so I can work on different drills. I think that is really cool and I obviously will make sure not to put her in any position that she is uncomfortable with.

Not to hijack Yaels's thread but does anyone have any particular videos or books that they would reccomend?

Yael Grauer
01-28-2007, 12:48 PM
Hijack away!

One of the guys at SBGi told me he puts the big guys on a special program if they muscle through moves. They slow roll while everyone else goes full speed.

Yael Grauer
01-28-2007, 01:11 PM
I think that is really cool and I obviously will make sure not to put her in any position that she is uncomfortable with.

Heh. That's the opposite of what I do. I ask my training partners to keep trying to put me in the positions I feel most uncomfortable with.

Derek, I'm gonna quote your CF post here just for fun. I've asked this question in a lot of places and I'm going to compile all the responses and see if I can find a way to work it into my program... It'll be the cardio element of my program (throwing in some boxing and Thai kicks too) so I'm going to try to come up with 4 or 5 different circuits to switch between which incorporate the majority of the suggestions. (I still can't do PU's or HSPU's so my jumping pu's are more like skill work with long rests in between, so what I come up with will be a "beginner" version, but maybe I'll post it anyway.)

For now just working shrimping and working circles with my legs/hips to practice getting around in open guard...


I have really been focusing on exactly what you are asking. You might have read my two threads on PM about building strength and not gassing.

Here are the things that I have put together in the last couple of months.

I bought Stephan Kesting's Grappling Drills video. http://www.grapplearts.com/Grappling-Drills-Info.php?sid= Work and Family Safe. There is a lot of really great drills on this video. I travel a lot so I usually am on the mat only 2 or 3 times a week. I bought this video so that I could work some of the solo drills while I am traveling.

I also have put together several exercises that I think have direct carryover to BJJ. Here are the exercises and any thoughts I have about the carryover.

Kipping P/U's. I am working really hard on this and I think that the hip movement has direct carryover to the upa escape.

Weighted P/U's with alternating grips and weighted dips. I do these to build my limit strength. In class last week a guy I was rolling with said that I have the strongest grip in class, not my hands but when I have my arms wrapped around him. He wanted to know what I did for a living to have that tight of a grip and I laughed and told him I sit in front of a computer. I did tell him that I think it is from the P/U's.

I have altered up some of the traditional crossfit workouts. Here are the variations that I am currently working


21-15-9 reps of:
Clean and Press 75 pounds
Ring dips
Adding in the press really changes this exercise for me.


21-15-9 reps of:
185 pound Snatch Grip Deadlift on a 5 inch box (courtesy of the infamous Chico thread)
Handstand push-ups
This works the entire body in ways I wouldn't have imagined. After doing this my entire back and shoulder area is on fire.

"Fight Gone Bad!"

Three rounds of:
Wall-ball, 20 pound ball, 10 ft target (Reps)
Sumo deadlift high-pull, 75 pounds (Reps)
Box Jump, 20" box (Reps)
Push-press, 75 pounds (Reps)
Row (Calories)
Warrior Pushups (Reps)
The idea here is I wanted 6 minute rounds since that is how long we grapple for. You could add in any exercise at the end that you like.

For time:
Row 1000 meters
Body weight Bench press, 30 reps
Row 1000 meters
Body weight Bench squat, 30 reps
Row 1000 meters
Body weight deadlift, 30 reps
I like this one because it takes me right at 4 minutes to row 1000 meters and about 2 - 3 minutes for each of the lifting exercises. I look at each variation as a round and try to get as close to 6 minutes as I can. On the deadlift I can get under 6 minutes but not on the others yet.

Interval rowing. I row 6 minute rounds at the highest intensity I can maintain for 6 minutes at a time with a 1 minute break. My goal each time is at least 1500 meters and I score myself by how many meters over 1500 I get each time.

I have been working several different variations on situps. One I have been doing is I wrap my legs around a muay thai bag so that it is like I have someone in my closed guard and I explode up, twist and plant one of my hands on the ground behind me like I am going to attempt a sweep. I lay back down and repeat to the other side. I really work on doing this explosively.

Sorry for the long reply but I have been thinking about this a lot lately.

Brad Hirakawa
01-28-2007, 01:16 PM
"Not to hijack Yaels's thread but does anyone have any particular videos or books that they would reccomend?"

...what skill level are you looking for, regarding the material on the videos?

Derek Simonds
01-28-2007, 02:08 PM
Brad beginner to intermediate. I don't want to get in the technique of the month phase I see some guys doing.

I am trying to figure out what my game is and I am working on having my 3 go to's for throws, sweeps, guard passes and submissions. I am a big fan of repetition and when I learn something I know that I have it down.

Yael, I probably should have said painful instead of uncomfortable.

I can't wait to see the compilation you are going to put together, I am assuming another article.

Brad Hirakawa
01-28-2007, 03:07 PM
For beginner may I suggest Roy Harris BJJ 101 Volumes 1-2 (escapes, hold downs). Not many submissions, if any at all, but plenty of good information.

For intermediate, Roy Harris BJJ 101 Volume-3, Arm Locks Volume 1 and 2 (leg locks, straight arm locks, bent arm locks).

If you like, send me and e-mail and I will let you borrow my copies. If you like them you can buy some of your own.


Daniel Christensen
01-29-2007, 05:03 AM
Yael, my $0.02... (with apologies to people with more open-ended learning styles)

Practice what you need to practice. For me that means picking 1-2 things I need to work on and mixing them into some kind of shadow play, and trying to use them every time I roll. I'll stick to a few things for a month or 2.

If your club has a syllabus, make sure you can at least take a decent shot at the techniques expected of you under a bit of pressure (not that you'll necessarily be submitting the purple belts or whoever, but hopefully the technique won't fall to bits). If you don't have a clear syallabus and you don't honestly know what you need to improve you could ask your training mates or instructor.

Some people can pick up techniques just by watching fights, or by downloading heaps of techniques off net, or buying heaps of DVDs or whatever, but unless they are natural athletes they can leave basics behind... "fortuanately" for me I am such a slow learner I have to force myself to pick 1 or 2 things at a time.

I'd be curious what you decide to incorporate and how it works out for you.

Yael Grauer
01-29-2007, 08:08 AM
Thanks! I train with the greatest guys in the world and I definitely get suggestions on one or two drills to work on my own. I guess specifically I want to tailor my metcon to things that will improve my game. It's good motivation. I'm still compiling my list but I promise to post it once I figure it all out.

Cassidy Drake
01-29-2007, 01:27 PM
SBG has some good videos as well. I also bought "tools of the trade" from green whale productions, and Marcelo, Camacho and others are on it. I must admit though I would love to get irvins sets. his transition approaches are as good as it gets IMO

Yael Grauer
01-29-2007, 01:34 PM
My web guy sent me this link... This video features Swiss balls as well as one of the SBGi affiliate studs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cNvpIamQOE

Josh Whiting
01-30-2007, 04:16 AM
Cool stuff, very interesting.

Chuck Kechter
01-30-2007, 09:35 AM
Excellent video!

Derek Simonds
01-30-2007, 10:08 AM
I have to agree that was an excellent video. I am going to add that to my drills for sure. I saw a website that had one of the Shamrocks doing the same kind of drilling but I can't find the bookmark. After a short search here is a link with a picture of him working on the stability ball. http://www.jumpusa.com/mixedmartial.htm

Yael another hijack alert, Josh in another post you had mentioned focusing on relaxing and not muscling through the moves. I am working very hard on achieving this goal with some level of success. Do you have any specific drills or coaching cues that you use to help you flow?

BTW I love this thread,

Derek Simonds
01-30-2007, 12:58 PM
Josh thanks for the detailed feedback. I have a partner I am going to try that drill with tonight. Tonight is no-gi for me.

First tip for rolling in pajama's watch for sneaky gi chokes.

Last night I was rolling with a blue belt and I was really working my flow. I was trying to play a defensive game and move with him. He was in my half guard and was working to get out and I was paying too much attention to working his hips and my legs. He reached up and kind of posted with his left hand by my neck and grabbed his own sleeve with his right hand and put a major choke on. I was amazed at the power this generated. The best description I have is that his sleeve became the pivot point and his right knuckles became the lever that crushed my throat. The other point is you will be amazed how much easier it is to hold on to someone with a gi on.

Thanks again.

Brad Hirakawa
01-31-2007, 07:21 AM
Those chokes can really sneak up on you.. I don't wear the gi much, and I'm reminded sometimes that I really should.

Yael Grauer
01-31-2007, 10:10 AM
Cool articles here: http://www.grapplearts.com/Articles-And-Interviews.htm

Roy Dean
02-05-2007, 08:50 AM
Hey there,

I put up a blog illustrating one of my favorite BJJ drills. You can see it here:


I would also recommend low angle pushup, where you really work that range with your chest a few inches off of the floor. Not only will it strengthen your shoulders, but it will also prepare you to maintain a low elevation and have your partner carry your weight. I go over some subtle mechanics of this in the last PMenu. The pressure game is really about isometric strength, so anytime you can suspend yourself, whether that's holding a position on a pull up bar or hovering a few inches off the ground, you're prepping your body for grappling applications.

Hope this helps!

Roy Dean

Robb Wolf
02-05-2007, 12:20 PM
Thank you again for granting the interview. That is my favorite, even above the Devany interview that started all this off.

Please subscribe to Roy's EJJ:
and his blog:

Awesome material.

Brad Hirakawa
02-07-2007, 07:04 AM
Welcome Roy Dean, my old friend!