Reasons why you can’t go to the gym and why you should workout at home with your partner

As Covid-19 continues to disrupt world health, many people are left without the means to endure social distancing. Keeping an active lifestyle is proving difficult for Jiu Jitsu practitioners as most gyms have opted to close. Despite fewer options, many are implementing solo or partner BJJ drills in their own homes.

Other reasons for not being able to go to the gym can be if the gym is being renovated, or maybe there are bad weather conditions and you can’t reach the gym. If you train in a smaller gym, sometimes it can happen that your instructor is away for few days because of a competition and you can’t go to train. That’s why we made a list of 5 BJJ drills you can do at home with your partner.

Here are the best BJJ drills you can do at home with a partner:

Light Roll

Rolling light generally means different things to different people. You and your favorite partner may agree to start at a relaxed pace, but quickly pick it up when the adrenaline rushes. However, unless you’ve convinced your partner to dedicate a room in your home to a mat space, conserving space and energy will be the goal. 

Light rolling will give you and your partner the opportunity to have a greater focus on technique, while also quenching your urge for healthy competition. 

Gameplanning 

One of the first major hits to the BJJ community was the limiting or outright cancellation of many Jiu Jitsu tournaments. As a result, many competitors were unable to display the hard work and strategies they prepared for their next big match. 

While the state of competitive Jiu Jitsu remains uncertain, one of the best solo or partner drills you can do in the meantime is going back to the drawing board. Take inventory of what Jiu Jitsu systems you use. What are your go to submissions, which passes need work, and how can you improve everything?

Step outside of your comfort zone when drilling with your partner. Plan new pathways of attack and defense in your Jiu Jitsu game and practice those new paths in a slow and focused fashion. 

Closed Guard Sit Ups/Squats 

While you may not have a full weight set on hand, nothing is more suited to Jiu Jitsu than utilizing body weight. One simple Jiu Jitsu exercise is closed guard sit ups and squats.

  • Guard Sit Ups

Like a regular sit up, a guard sit up will engage your core. Additionally, you will also be strengthening your closed guard application. Have your partner enter your closed guard and stand.

Your guard should be closed tightly as they take a braced stance, with some bend in their knees. When your partner is comfortable with their stance and your legs are anchored around their back, begin to lift your head to their chest. Fortunately, your partner will also benefit by increasing balance and leg strength. 

  • Guard Squats

The closed guard squat will incorporate the same setup as the previous drill. However, the focus will now be the person in the guard. Once you are on your knees in your partner’s guard you can implement one of two variations.

First, the more relaxed variation will have you stand in the guard by posting one foot up at a time. Once both feet are planted, return to your knees one at a time. Repeat and alternate the starting sides at your discretion. 

The second variation will take the form of a more traditional squat motion. Stand in your partner’s closed guard and have them sit up until they are flush against you. Once you are both comfortable with your positioning, begin to squat with your partner’s body weight. 

For added support, place your hands on your partner’s back so they do not just fall backward and pull you with them. You can also try this squat with your partner on your back.

Big Three Drill 

As Jiu Jitsu has become increasingly mainstream, it has entered its own age of innovation. From Worm Guard to countless ways to tear off a heel, Jiu Jitsu players have never had more techniques to practice. But, sometimes revisiting the classics is what’s needed to understand the wider world of Jiu Jitsu. 

The perfect Jiu Jitsu warm up and overall technique booster is the “Big Three” drill. Those three are the arm bar, triangle, and omoplata. Sure, you went over these techniques in your first week of training. 

But, when was the last time you actually implemented an omoplata? Have you noticed how interconnected the three techniques are? Can you flow seamlessly between them in any order? Whatever your answers might be, now is a good time to strengthen your technique. 

Have your partner start in your closed guard. Once settled, apply a basic arm bar. For the sake of the drill, have your partner pull their endangered arm out from between your legs to avoid the submission. Next, swing your top leg over their head to enter into the triangle. 

Your partner will then react by placing their trapped arm behind your hips, as if reaching into your pocket. You are now set up to apply the omoplata. Swing your bottom leg over your partner’s shoulder and complete the omoplata. Increase the speed of the drill as you reach a comfortable rhythm. 

It is important to note that this entire sequence can be done in any order, but will require slight variations in technique depending on the transitions. However, the omoplata is a good technique to finish on, since it is generally the least popular of the three. 

Guard Retention 

Now that your closed guard has been adequately strengthened, it’s time to open things up. Admittedly, guard retention is something of an umbrella term. It can mean implementing specific guards against an advancing partner, or simply a movement drill designed to keep you mobile and fluid.

Both are valuable schools of thought. However, if you are confined to your home, the version that promotes movement is generally preferable. To train and maintain your open guard, have your partner stand in front of you. You will be in either a seated position, for a more aggressive, proactive game, or on your back for a more reactive style. 

Your partner will attempt to pass your guard and establish a position. The intensity of this partner drill is entirely up to you. It can be as simple as your partner walking around you at a determined pace as you turn your hips to stay aligned in guard, or more complex as your partner begins to incorporate grips that you now have to contend with. 

As you feel comfortable with the parameters of your drill, think about what your stopping point will be. Will you simply reset positions after an initial pass, or will you fight to avoid the established position and work to get back to guard?

Summary

Currently average citizens are scrambling for toilet paper and hand sanitizer, while trying to avoid crowds, while Jiu Jitsu practitioners are doing everything to keep rolling. With quarantine protocols limiting large gatherings, many Jiu Jitsu gyms are closing their doors, until further notice. However, the Jiu Jitsu community is getting creative to maintain their training. If you’re stuck at home unable to train, all you need is an able-bodied and willing partner to help you continue your regimen. Whether they are your significant other, sibling, or roommate, there are plenty of BJJ drills to keep you busy at home.