Training wrestling is an excellent activity that can improve your overall fitness and mentality. Wrestling techniques complement other grappling styles well, especially martial arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. There is a huge misconception that you must be athletic to train in wrestling. It is not always the case, as wrestling can be trained safely regardless of athletic ability, similar to how BJJ is trained – relying on technique rather than brute strength and athleticism. This article will give you six wrestling drills to help improve your BJJ.
Recommended Wrestling Drills For BJJ
The standup is a part of grappling that BJJ practitioners often neglect. Although wrestling training helps BJJ players in a big way, it is still advised to modify the moves slightly as the rules between the 2 sports are different. That said, below are the six wrestling drills that will help improve your technique and fitness for BJJ.
1) Double Leg And High Crotch Drill
This drill is performed by going between your training partner’s legs as if you are shooting for the takedown. What is essential in this drill is how you finish as you pass through your training partner’s legs. As you get through, remember to finish strong with your outside leg (back leg) up, and your shooting leg (front leg) will be the one trailing behind, kneeling while keeping an upright posture with your head up. Finish the drill by moving to the side as if you are finishing the opponent with the takedown.
Without shooting between your training partner’s legs, the high crotch drill is performed with the same principle but just with a high crotch (catching one leg).
Remember that the high crotch is like the double leg, but you are aiming for one leg instead of two. When getting the high crotch and double leg, make sure that you are using force to off-balance the opponent and imagine that you are shooting through them. Perform the drill before your training sessions as consistently as you can. As Henry Cejudo said, the high crotch and the double leg are the two most dominant shots wrestling offers.
2) Sprawling And Circle
Utilising your hips is essential in BJJ, especially when creating space, escaping bad positions, and stopping takedowns. Drilling the sprawl helps you build heavy hips, and is helpful when stuffing takedowns or pinning the opponents in side control or front headlock position. This drill can be performed even when you don’t have a training partner.
Stopping a takedown with the sprawl is good, but it is better if you use it to transition and take the opponent’s back by circling, which this drill is all about. If you have ever done shadow wrestling, this drill is something you can incorporate immediately. Always take note that sprawling correctly means having your hips down with both your head and chest up.
Perform the drill by sprawling, and when down, keep your hips low as you circle back up. When circling, it is vital to be disciplined and keep your hips in as you reverse corkscrew your way up to your feet. You want to avoid bringing your glutes up first and then circling to your feet. This drill helps build the habit of sprawling and circling up correctly while keeping as much pressure on the opponent as possible.
3) Partner Conditioning Drills
Wrestlers are known for their “mat strength .” Partner conditioning drills are excellent for BJJ to help strengthen your whole body and sharpen your techniques. It also enables you to build practical strength on and off the mats.
4) Stance And Motion For Standup
This drill will help improve your stance and motion around the mat, especially in the standing position or when wrestling up. BJJ practitioners can also do this drill to stay in shape while sharpening their techniques and building muscle memory for their standup. The drill requires you to move around in a squared and staggered stance, circling while setting up shots, sprawls, and down blocks. Remember that spinning after sprawling is a good tactic in BJJ, especially when you have successfully stuffed the opponent’s takedown, as you can use it to get behind their back and choke them swiftly.
Becoming efficient with takedowns comes with the ability to secure a dominant position immediately. While getting a takedown is good, it comes with a risk of getting trapped inside the opponent’s guard, where you are at their mercy. Opponents can use the guard to set up different sweeps and submissions, so it is best to avoid getting inside the guard if you can.
Make the most out of your takedowns in BJJ by going directly to the mount or side control. In this drill, practice the double leg entry from the collar tie or double inside tie. Quickly pull your training partner from the tie to force them to take a small step forward. Right after pulling, change your level, drive underneath the opponent, finish the double leg, and use the aforementioned principles.
After taking the opponent down, you can take the mount by stepping over their feet via triangling your legs or immediately jump to side control and finish the position. Drill this technique before or after your training sessions to get used to finishing the opponents with your takedown and ending up in a dominant position.
6) Arm Drag Drill
The arm drag is one of the best wrestling standup techniques you can incorporate in BJJ training. The arm drag allows quick access to the opponent’s back, which is the most dominant position in the sport. Though the arm drag is easy to perform, be mindful of using proper technique as a re-drag is always a possibility.
The world of combat sports is quickly evolving. A strong wrestling game will make you a dangerous grappler in today’s grappling landscape, regardless of the ruleset. We recommend that you drill these techniques every day so that you can efficiently perform the techniques under pressure.
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