It so often happens that you’ll hit a wall. It doesn’t even have to be Jiu-Jitsu. It could be anything else in life. This is especially frustrating if you’re one of those people who do and give all they can to improve. We sometimes call this the plateau, but it doesn’t have to be. Things might work during training, but then you get smashed during a roll. It all depends on what your goals are. There’ll definitely be a difference in approach between people whose aim is competition and those who are looking to just get fit. Whatever the case, we’ve got some ways around this. Have a look.

Cardio Solo Drills

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by itself is very tasking on the core. You’ll be sweating bullets. Just a typical BJJ class is enough to up your cardio. However, if you want to push yourself to a different level, you’ll need something more because remember, everyone else at your gym does this too.

Nowadays there’s a lot of cross-training cardio ideas moving around the web: the jump rope, running, etc. Check these BJJ specific cardio exercises out.


Jump. Post hands on mat. Drop your hip. Stand up. That’s it. An even better way of doing it is on a chair. Grab a chair. Post your elbow instead of your hands. Drop your hip. Stand up. It’ll build great muscle memory for the sprawl.


Another exercise you can do with the chair is the shoulder drop you’d do for the toreando or X passes. Grab a chair. Control the two edges with your hands. Move laterally. Drop your shoulder into the chair. Switch sides.

Even better than the chair, the heavy bag can give you a great work out. Post a shoulder. Roll over the shoulders. Land on heels. It’s a variation of the butterfly pass.

Top control

Grab a knee on belly i.e. knee on heavy-bag. Windshield wipe your way to the other side. Repeat.

Post your elbow into the heavy-bag. Post a heel on one side. Spin to the other side the way you would for a back-take.

Belt exercises

This one is great. Lay down on your bed. Get your belt. Get grips on edges. Get the spider guard. Switch from spider to lasso. Besides being great for the core, this’ll give you great leg coordination.

Strength training

Who says strength doesn’t matter. Strength lets you move things. You’ll also expend less energy if you’re stronger. BJJ is a game of frames, but between getting the frame you’ll need to move your opponent. Get yourself to a gym. Focus on chest and tricep exercises, leg exercises and back exercises.


Drilling is probably one of the best things you can do to get better at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, not all moves are drillable. You need to isolate specific movements that are part of a larger chain of moves. For example if you want to get better at ashi-garami just do entries from inside control. We’ve got a whole article on the topic of drills. Look it up.

Positional rolling

There’s no more direct way of addressing where you’re stuck than this. If you keep getting smashed in side control. Ask your partner to go from there. If you’ve got trouble with people on your back go from there. First work on grip fighting and stopping your partner from controlling you and then move to escapes. There’s an escape and a pass for anything. Don’t wing it. Look for the intelligent way of dealing with the situation.