Tools For the Grappler

Last updated on 25.01.2022 by

You won’t always have a partner to train with and training on your own in my opinion is mandatory if you want to keep progressing in Jiu-jitsu or get in jitsu shape. There are tools you can use to enhance your training experience, track progress, practice drills, increase strength, and improve conditioning. Some essentials that every grappler should have are a heart rate monitor, resistance bands, Bulgarian bag, grappling dummy, and a sandbag.

Heart rate monitor

Heart monitors work great for tracking recovery during rest periods. You can use them to do aerobic or anaerobic training. It will help you be more precise with your training and take out the guessing game when it comes to recovery. Monitors come with apps that have different heart rate zones. Each zone relates to the type of conditioning you might be doing. For example, aerobic system, longer duration steady pace or anaerobic, short duration fast pace.

Without a heart rate monitor, you will have to rely on time. There are two issues with that. One, everyone recovers at a different pace between bouts of exercise such as interval training. It can take you forty seconds to get back to your base heart rate, and someone else a minute. The other person’s heart rate may still be on its way down, and you are ready to go! If you were using a set time for measurement, both of you would have to begin work at the end of the given rest period regardless. That is not efficient training. Two, it is easier to tell exactly which type of system you are working. That would depend on how many beats per minute (bpm) your heart does. Being able to track your heart rate will allow you the chance to adjust your training accordingly. And since coaches monitor progress, the app will do that for you automatically.

Grappling dummy

Grappling dummies are expensive, but if you can get your hands on one do it. Due to their versatility, you can use them for different drills. Some dummies have artificial arms that you can use for armbar drills. I recommend buying a more massive dummy that you can pick up, carry, slam, and takedown. Another exercise you can do is knee on belly. Focusing on the critical technical points in specific drills will sharpen your transitions. Partner drills, with a live body, work similarly. Your partner takes on the role of the ”dummy” as you execute the technique. Use your imagination.

Bulgarian bag

Bulgarian bag works great for working your grip strength and can be used for conditioning circuits. Top wrestling, grappling, and jiu-jitsu athletes use it for training. The bag is available in different sizes and weight. Because of the various weight ranges, you can target specific workouts for strength or conditioning. For example, a heavier bag will be more suitable for strength training. If your goal is endurance, lighter weight will kick your ass. It has a variety of grips that enhance the difficulty of exercises. Bulgarian bags emphasize grip strength. Your grip will most likely fail before other muscles. I am sure you might know this already every jiu-jitsu practitioner should have an iron grip.

Resistance bands

Having these handy in a variety of difficulty levels makes a difference. You can use them for mobility work, practice entrances to takedowns or throws, and conditioning. Resistance bands are also really reliable and easy to carry. Sometimes you feel like training, or maybe you need to work on specific grappling drills your go-to gear should be the rubber band.  Buy a strap so you can attach the resistance band to your body and start shooting takedowns. Add a partner to the drill and go through the full takedown with them.


Picking up and carrying shit is incredible and it will make you strong. The perfect tool for that is a sandbag. You can either buy the material for it online and fill it up with sand or, make one yourself from scratch. For the latter, you are going to need contractor trash bags from home depot and a canvas bag. Pour the sand into the contractor bags and put them into the canvas bag. Use gorilla tape and a zip tie to seal the top. Be careful, don’t underestimate the weight of it. Sand is heavy, and its weight distribution is not even which is why it is excellent for grapplers. Now, pick up your sandbag and carry it to your jiu-jitsu academy.

The extra time you put in outside the academy counts as much as the training you do in class. Adding these tools to your arsenal will only help you become a better Jiu-jitsu practitioner. They are not the key to everything, but a step in the right direction. Improving your game and getting results is what counts the most. One way to get results is through trial and error. Try not to hold yourself back and experiment. Tools give you more options when it comes to training and also help with reaching your goals. Keep what works and discard what doesn’t.