How To Practice BJJ Alone Without A Partner

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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a diverse martial art in technical skill development to enable you to overcome an opponent by outsmarting them.

The problem with BJJ is that it is fundamentally a martial art that requires a partner to roll with and develop your technique. But can you practice BJJ alone?

You can practice BJJ alone by working on solo drills that will help you level up your overall Jiu-Jitsu abilities, such as hip escapes, bridging, and rolling over. A grappling dummy can also be a great way to practice techniques because of the weight and fake limbs.

For more focused advice on all your options of how to practice BJJ alone, keep reading this article!

Is It Possible To Practice BJJ Alone?

Martial artist preparing to practice BJJ alone

It is possible to practice BJJ alone with conditioning drills or use a grappling dummy. Many of the solo drills you can do involve the hips and bridges, which transitions into many benefits for BJJ sparring with a partner.

It’s worth saying that there isn’t any proper replacement for practicing technique and sparring with a partner.

On top of that, learning from an experienced Jiu-Jitsu professor is the very best way to ensure you are learning skills and techniques while not picking up any bad movement habits.

But you can take what you’ve been learning in class and drill a lot of the movements alone to help you improve your physical conditioning and endurance, which will help you bring it to the mats when you return to class.

In the rest of this article, I’ll focus on some of those essential solo drills you can do while alone and what you can do with a grappling dummy if you have one.

Do Solo Drills Help In BJJ?

BJJ practitioner putting on his Gi alone

Solo drills are an excellent way to help your BJJ technique and physical endurance. Most practitioners only train during class but drilling in your own time every day can help you advance much faster and overcome any endurance issues.

Solo drills in BJJ will help you with:

  • Improving coordination
  • Strengthening weak muscles
  • Building endurance
  • Highlighting any weak movements or techniques
  • Developing an overall greater awareness and ability for sparring

If you are committed to improving your BJJ, then solo drills in your own time are a great way to improve your weak points.

It’s beneficial to remind yourself of a pass or technique your opponent may have used on you in the last session and then drill the best movements for escaping it or countering their move.

By performing drills outside of class, your BJJ can only benefit. There are additional benefits as well, where BJJ is an excellent tool for fitness and strength in your upper body and hips.

You can use your solo BJJ drills as another excuse to fit in a workout targeted toward your BJJ improvement, along with the best fitness tracker for BJJ to log how much cardio, fat burn, and peak performance you are getting out of your workout.

How To Drill In BJJ Alone

You can drill in BJJ alone by focusing on fundamental movements such as hip escapes, bridging, forward and backward rolling over each shoulder, and the Gracie stand up. Doing these alone will build up more strength for the movements and give you an edge when you return to partner sparring.

Let’s break down these five fundamental movements further, as you can do them almost anytime and any place to keep adding reps even when away from the mats.

Hip Escapes / Shrimping

You’d typically be doing hip escapes up and down the mat of your dojo, but hip escapes can be done solo with a space on the floor as ample as to your height. You don’t need an entire room to hip escape in a direction.

Instead, you can perform the hip escape pushing away and backward and then try to reverse the movement back to the starting position.

Performing the hip escape in this way would allow you to perform and train up your ability for this movement in a small space on the floor.

Bridging Onto The Shoulder

The humble bridge is one of the vital movement components in BJJ and is something you should practice whenever you get the chance.

Luckily, the bridge can be performed just about anywhere and on your own without a partner.

Focus on bringing your feet closest to your butt before bridging up to get the most efficient use of leverage and power while leaning over each shoulder one at a time, and then repeat this for a few sets.

It can be helpful to point your arm over your opposite shoulder as you bridge to give you extra leverage and momentum through the movement. The arm coming overhead in this way is often used in BJJ to push your opponent off your body while moving your arm in between you to create space.

So, if you are bridging while leaning over your right shoulder, then your left arm will come over and point in the direction you are bridging towards.

Forward Shoulder Rolls

Having great neck, spine, and shoulder mobility will allow you to perform shoulder rolls more easily. This is an excellent tool for escaping your opponents or repositioning your legs into better control for defense (full guard).

This one can be really tricky at first for many beginners because it involves a certain level of coordination that comes only with time and practice.

You might not get enough of these forward rolls in during your class warmup, so breaking them down and performing them slowly when you’re alone is a great idea to overcome a lot of the niggling issues with this.

Backward Shoulder Roll

Rolling backward can be incredibly frustrating at first, so drilling this out alone and safely is a great way to get better.

This can be uncomfortable for some peoples’ shoulders, so getting the movement correct is essential.

As you progress in BJJ, backward rolls will become used more for evading your opponent, or you may even be forced into them if your sparring partner pushes you over from your legs.

Gracie Stand Up

The Gracie stand-up is an excellent fundamental tool for holding your opponent at a safe distance while you get back up to your feet.

This technique is commonly used in MMA, where the fighter on the ground needs to push their opponent away to avoid any strikes and stand up while facing them the whole time to keep focused on them. With this stand-up, your eyes never move from your opponent.

As this technique pivots at the beltline, it puts pressure on one arm and the opposite leg, requiring a bit more strength than some may have in their arms or upper body.

Drilling this move out will help you improve that strength and perform this move in actual sparring if you ever need to push the opponent away and want to return to your feet to attack for top control.

BJJ Drills Alone With A Grappling Dummy

Grappling dummy for BJJ solo drills

Suppose you want to improve on specific areas of your BJJ game that would usually involve a partner. In that case, a grappling dummy can be a potential alternative for drilling particular techniques and movements.

Investing in a grappling dummy could be a great way to practice much more complicated movements whenever you want. Decent grappling dummies have arms and legs and are of enough weight that it feels like moving around another body.

Obviously, the key difference is that you won’t get as much feedback. But a grappling dummy can allow you to drill a movement or technique over and over until it takes hold for you as a habit.

When you return to class and try out techniques you’ve drilled on the dummy, you’ll likely find that it’s much improved than it would have been otherwise. With the dummy, you can keep drilling as much as you need to and in your own time, whereas in a class, there’s usually a limitation of how many times you will drill a movement in one class.

Some drills you can do with a grappling dummy:

  • Practice using weight to control
  • Practice keeping knees off the ground and on your opponent
  • Spinning transitions around a turtled opponent
  • Kimura attacks
  • Knee on belly drilling
  • Side control transitions
  • Taking the back

If buying a grappling dummy isn’t an option for you, then you could even make your own grappling dummy with inexpensive materials. It might not be the same, but it might be good enough for simple drills.

Now you should know how to practice BJJ alone with some fundamental solo drills you can perform and some you can also do with a grappling dummy which gives additional possibilities. Practicing BJJ alone could help you advance much faster, so it’s definitely a good idea if you want to get ahead.

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