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You live to roll, but what about when you are at home? On the days you don’t have class, you can still train solo. Solo BJJ drills will allow you to embed certain movements into your muscle memory, increase your range of motion, and reaction time. So that next time you have an actual partner to roll with, you are even more prepared. Instead of just doing drills in the air, why not make it more realistic, with something to actually manipulate? Enter the chair. Everyone has one, heck, you probably have more than one in your house! So, get a simple chair with four legs, and let’s get start training!
Lay the chair down on its back. Place your hands on the two legs that are up in the air. Work on low movement from side to side, allowing the legs to give you some balance and stability. This is like holding your opponent’s legs, while practicing a guard pass. This is practicing guard passing from standing. Do this for 1 minute.
This time, aim to place one hand directly on the ground in between the legs which are touching the floor, while keeping the other hand on the high leg. Go from side to side. You have one hand on the opponent’s leg (controlling), and the other hand allows you to pass. By pinning the leg, you can pass the guard. Work for 1 minute.
To do the kick back, step your one leg to the outside of the chair, then kick the other leg back and to that same side. This is to practice passing, while your opponent is trying to pull an X guard or other type of position to keep you. The kick back releases the leg and keeps your movement toward your goal. Keep pressure on the legs of the chair the whole time, as you would your opponent’s legs. Keep up a good pace, going side to side, for 1 minute.
Step off to the side, the cross over (jumping over back to the other side) in front of the seat of the chair. Sometimes your opponent could drop their hands to block and this will really mix it up, and create something unexpected. The motion has to be fast. Work a crossover to one side. Then do it going back the other way, for 1 minute.
Step your left leg to the right side (cross-step), outside of the chair, then immediately shuffle your right leg even further to the right. Then do the same three step movement on the other side of the chair. Some call this bullfighter pass, where we are controlling the legs, cross stepping, and then imagine that you are dropping down into knee on belly. Practice that going on each side for 1 minute.
In this exercise, we are strengthening our core by bringing both knees in, and then pushing them out to one side of the chair, bringing them back in, and pushing them out to the other side. Do this for 1 minute!
Now you are working kimura sit ups. Keep the chair in your guard, as you sit up and simulate placing a kimura submission on one side, then back, then on the other side. Work for 1 minute.
In this drill, we are simulating the setup of the omoplata, of course the chair will not be moving forward as your opponent would, but you can still get the core and leg work range of motion. Notice how I grab the side of the chair and top of chair for stability, as I think remove and kick my legs off to the side, going up then down. Work this on both sides. Do this for 1 minute.
Nothing fancy here, just grab the legs of your chair, with your forehead nearly under the chair, keep your legs fairly straight. Lift your legs and then extend your hips upward and off the ground at the end of the motion. Bring your legs back down, without touching the ground, and repeat the process. Do this for 1 minute.
This is a static hold, where you hold guard, half way in, so that you have a tight core. This will definitely burn the muscles out, while building up the endurance you need for holding guard in a championship match. Hold for 1 minute.
A nice upper body exercise, get a very sturdy chair and put your feet in the chair, hold a decline push up position. Touch your shoulder, then the other shoulder, going back and forth. Do this for 1 minute.
This is a great exercise for your quadriceps and glutes. Simply step up completely, do a small knee strike in the air, then step back down. Next, step up with the opposite leg and back down. Work this for 1 minute. If you need this to be more challenging, you can hold light dumbbells in each hand.
You probably never realized that you were sitting on a pull up bar all your life! Get under a sturdy chair with armrests, pull yourself up. You can then go back down hovering (never touching the ground), or set down completely. An excellent upper back workout. Do this for 1 minute.
This will give you a gauge as to where you should be aiming at, how to to get, sweeping the knee onto the ground, getting low, etc. We are not actually picking up the chair and taking it down to the ground. If you want to be that hardcore, just make sure you don’t put a hole into your wall. WOrk this for 1 minute.
Place and balance the chair on your legs, to add some extra weight to a straight leg hold. Keep your legs about 6 inches off the ground, don’t give up! Do this for 1 minute.
There you have it, 15 different Solo BJJ drills and exercises. Who said you need a partner to practice on your days off? If you want even more, check out two of my BJJ Solo complete workouts on youtube:
I also have a complete BJJ Solo Workout program, which includes 8 full workouts, from Beginner to Advanced. This will become a secret weapon to supercharge your home training!
Keep rolling! -Dustin Koppel