Here’s How Training With Wrestlers Can Benefit Your BJJ Game

Cross-training with other grappling martial arts has recently become the norm in BJJ. Nowadays, many BJJ practitioners cross-train in Judo, Sambo, and wrestling, looking to improve aspects of their game that need enhancement. This approach helps build their overall skills, making them a menace on the mats. If you are considering adding wrestling to supplement your BJJ, here’s how training with wrestlers can benefit your game.


BJJ And Wrestling

BJJ and wrestling can both benefit from each other. This works well, especially if you’re a BJJ practitioner looking to improve certain aspects of your game, as cross-training in wrestling is an integral part of becoming a better grappler. While wrestlers may learn more about the technicality of techniques from BJJ players, below are some examples of how training with wrestlers can benefit your BJJ game.


Relentless Pressure

Wrestlers are known for their relentless pressure both on and off their feet. They can maintain a pace like no other from the start of a round, which is especially beneficial if your goal is to work on your scrambles during high-intensity exchanges. Wrestling is dynamic; therefore, wrestlers are taught to move around the mats, circling their opponents to create angles for a shot or hand fights to enter tie-ups and set up takedowns.

These tie-ups are subtly exhausting as you will be fighting for overhooks and underhooks, as well as applying heavy collar ties. While the setup is everything, a tough wrestler does not give points easily as they will battle not to have their backs pinned on the mat. This means they will perform heavy sprawls and look for reversals. What builds the relentless pressure is that it does not stop when you shoot for a takedown as the opponent will expectedly defend. Wrestlers do not stop and will push through until they can finish by scoring a takedown and pinning their opponents to the mat.

Adopting this approach when competing in BJJ will make you a terror on the mats, as some BJJ practitioners are not adept with takedowns. Setting up your takedowns and swiftly executing them will leave them startled, allowing you to advance to dominant positions and pin them quickly from there.


Better Conditioning

Wrestlers are known to be among the most athletic and formidable athletes across all sports. Wrestling training usually consists of warm-ups, rolling, and some strength and conditioning using bodyweight or your training partners, with little to no breaks in between. This is like putting your body under extreme stress, as most movements are done explosively.

Sparring rounds are usually 2-5 minutes of moderate to high intensity per person, and unlike flow rolling in BJJ, its equivalent of “free rolling” in wrestling can still be tiring, especially if you’re new to wrestling as you will be constantly exchanging and finishing takedowns from your feet to the mat with your training partner. Regularly going through this will drastically improve your cardio and mat strength.


Wrestler’s Mentality

The wrestling mentality is what differentiates wrestlers from other grapplers. Wrestlers are known for their grit, so they don’t succumb to pressure. As Dan Gable said, everything else in life is easy once you’ve wrestled. Training with wrestlers will push you beyond your limits and make you do things you didn’t think your body could handle. This applies especially in the rounds where you feel like sitting it out to rest, but instead, you push yourself, moving around and defending or emptying your gas tank to secure that takedown and score.

About the point above, having this mentality is helpful even when getting through your wrestling sessions. Enjoy every second so you can become comfortable with being uncomfortable.


Better Takedowns

Training with partners who are difficult to take down will eventually make you better at takedowns. While taking your opponent down and pinning them is the main goal in wrestling, knowing how to take them down efficiently is essential, especially when transitioning to BJJ.

Rather than pulling guard, training with wrestlers will give you the skill to take matters into your own hands to bring the match to the ground.


Improved Guard Passing

Getting good at takedowns will help you become a better guard passer. The same is true in wrestling; the goal in BJJ is to control the opponent. This comes with the idea of position before submission. After taking the opponent down, you must swiftly pass the opponent’s guard if you don’t land right in side control.

In wrestling, you learn that after taking the opponent down, you have to finish and secure the position by either pinning their shoulder to the mat or getting behind them if they turtle so you can apply your maneuvers and roll them around the mat for extra points.


Stronger Base

Training in wrestling will help you better understand weight distribution and aid in your balance. Starting from the wrestling stance, you will learn how to move your weight from your lead leg to your back leg, keeping you active and ready to attack or defend at any time. This translates well in BJJ, especially when defending from sweeps or passing the guard.

A more sturdy base will reward you with heavy pressure from the top position, which is the primary goal in BJJ — to be the grappler on top.


Become More Technical

As mentioned earlier, wrestlers are known for being tough. Techniques done half-heartedly and with brute strength will unlikely work, as wrestlers are also physically strong. Doing so will likely wear you out during the training session unless you’re already conditioned like a wrestler; using your wit and relying on techniques will save the day when training with one.

However, don’t disregard the physical conditioning wrestling offers to improve yourself and become tougher.



Training in wrestling is one of the best decisions you can make to become a better grappler. It is an investment for your mental and physical development, not just your journey to improve BJJ. Next time you have a wrestler in your class, roll with them, as most wrestlers are disciplined and humble enough to try new things.


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