You could understand the mechanic and know the names and variations of each and every technique of BJJ, but if the body doesn’t move the way it needs to it will never work. While it’s quite the mental challenge to figure out why something works, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is ultimately a combat sport. Your body needs to be ready to act almost on its own. When you’re fighting as hard as you can you don’t have time to think.
So how do you make technique automatic? The answer is simple: The single most important thing that builds muscle memory and movement intelligence is drilling. Today let’s learn how to drill to kill. Here are the 10 best BJJ drills to hone your muscle memory and get you ready to win!
Basic BJJ Drills
Linear warm-ups are done before every training session for a reason. We use them all the time. We call them movements, but you could perhaps go as far as calling them techniques. In fact, these are the building blocks of technique.
- Hip Escape
Often associated with the mount escape, the hip escape is a powerful motion that uses the hips to move both your opponent and yourself. At the gym, you’ll even see little girls able to do a 100 kilo pelvic lift. It’s an integral part of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and connects to a massive number of techniques.
- Butt scoot
The butt scoot is another vital piece of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Do many, many of these. Experiment with stiff arming a collar to retain guard. But beware the flying armbar!
- Shoulder Roll / Granby Roll
The shoulder roll will protect your neck. It turns you into a human ball. Stacking you will be next to impossible. It connects with armbars, triangles and many sweeps.
Wrestling Drills for BJJ
- Hip Heist / Sit-out
The wrestler’s hip heist/sit-out is a fantastic motion that every Jiujitero needs to know. It gets you out of sprawls and sometimes sets up takedowns as well: armdrags, superducks, etc.
- Wrestling Shots
The wrestling shot will turn your legs into tree trunks. It’ll also add valuable weapons to your takedown arsenal and give you a fantastic base when you’re on one knee.
Advanced Guard Specific Drills
- Solo Spider Guard Drill
This one is a really good drill because you can do it on your own. Whenever you play open guard, you’ve got two options. Attack the legs, or attack the arms. Spider drills using the belt will give you the dexterity needed to play spider guard. Don’t overextend. Feel the belt out. See if you can stretch it with your legs almost fully extended.
- Single X Guard
Grab heel. Shoot leg inside on same side. Use heel grip and thigh to pull heel in. Raise hips. Put heel on hip and hook opponent’s other leg thigh or butt. Switch sides. Repeat 20, 40, or 60 times until your core feels like its burning. Watch this video all the way through for 3 additional partner guard drills.
In a similar entry as the previous drill, grab heel. Shoot leg inside. Use heel grip and thigh to pull same-side leg in close. Hook the same leg from the inside, or the far hip in a traditional X-Guard. Latch on a butterfly hook on the far-side leg. Switch sides. This builds hip mobility and leg dexterity. Repeat until core feels on fire.
Underhook leg with your inside arm. Hook their leg from the inside with your underhook-side leg. Use underhook to spin under. Instead of stopping at their back, spin all the way through until you’ve returned to your original position. Repeat!
- De La Riva Guard Entry
Starting from open guard with double sleeve grips, this easy entry drill will teach you how to cut the angle and get your DLR guard set up before your opponent can react. A slick De La Riva Guard entry will keep you ahead of your opponent and ensure you’re ready to sweep before they even know they’re in danger.
Does your training include BJJ drills?
Evan is nomadic brown belt, currently living in Germany. He enjoys pressure passes and tacos.