If you train in BJJ or other grappling arts, chances are you’ve probably heard of grappling dummies. But are grappling dummies necessary and are they really worth it for you?
Grappling dummies are definitely worth it if your goal is to practice and drill techniques in repetition, especially as a beginner. Grappling dummies also come in very handy when you’re sick or injured but still want to train.
Let’s expand on this further.
What Are Grappling Dummies?
Simply put, grappling dummies are basically training dummies that come in various different shapes, sizes, weights, and positions like sitting, kneeling and standing etc. These dummies are generally made with either synthetic leather, vinyl, or canvas and you can get them either filled or unfilled.
Do I Need a Grappling Dummy?
I’m gonna go against the majority of articles on the internet and say, no, you don’t need a grappling dummy to improve your grappling skills.
There are many other ways you can improve your skills, even simply training for your conditioning and strength when you can’t train with live training partners will improve your overall grappling game.
However, if you understand grappling dummies’ limitations, and have a bit of extra cash to spend, grappling dummies can definitely aid in your training in many ways.
Like mentioned in the beginning of the article, if for some reason you are not able to train with a live training partner, the grappling dummies do come in very handy. They are great to drill techniques in repetition. For example throws, take downs, submissions etc.
Types of Grappling Dummies
There are many different types of grappling dummies depending on how you look at them. The obvious ones would be whether they are filled or unfilled, stiff or pliable, their size and weight etc.
Of course there are also different shaped grappling dummies like oval shaped, cylinder shaped and human shaped, but we are only talking about human shaped grappling dummies in this article.
The main thing you should look at is really the positions of the dummies.
If your goal is to practice throws, take downs, ground and pound, then the standing grappling dummies are the ones you should consider. They are usually firm, stiff and durable, made to take some serious beating.
These standing grappling dummies come either filled or unfilled, but I suggest you get the filled ones. They also come in different weights to suit your needs like 70, 90, 120 and 140 lbs, hence you also get a great workout training with standing dummies whilst improving conditioning and posterior strength.
The grappling dummies in these positions are usually more pliable, which makes them great for drilling submissions. Especially if you want to practice submissions while you are in someone’s full guard.
And once you flip the dummy and put it on all fours, it goes into what’s also called a turtle position, which allows you to practice various attacks against someone in turtle position.
You can practice guard pass, arm bar, kumura, head and arm choke, heel hook, ankle lock, and knee bar just to name a few.
If you want to focus on your grappling game while you are on your back, then the sitting/keeling dummy is definitely the one for you. Due to the dummy’s position, it’s great for drilling submissions off your back in full guard or half guard.
In fact, it’s one of the best grappling dummies for drilling escapes, triangle choke, transition to arm bar, and kimura etc.
When Is Grappling Dummy a Bad Idea?
It’s a bad idea when someone thinks grappling dummies are this magic tool that can help improve your grappling skills immensely. As mentioned above, grappling dummies are a useful tool if you use them for the right reasons. It’s important to note, nothing beats training against a fully resisting live partner.
Best Grappling Dummies to Try:
Best Standing Grappling Dummy
For the best grappling dummy in a standing position, nothing beats the Combat Sports Grappling Dummy. Made with high quality synthetic leather, these dummies are very durable and built to last.
The Combat Sports Grappling Dummies come in various sizes and weights. If you want to practice mainly takedowns, throws and even some ground and pound, the 90lb, 5′ 6″ tall dummy is the best size for most people.
Of course you can size down to the 70lb one if you are of a lighter and smaller build, which already gives a great workout. Or size up to the 120lb, 5′ 10″ tall one if you are a big dude, but do think very carefully, picking up 120lb dead weight from the floor is no fun.
Best Sitting/Kneeling Grappling Dummy
If you’re looking for the best sitting/kneeling grappling dummy to drill your submissions, the Jendila Grappling Dummy is a great budget option. Made with high quality durable Canvas, and reinforced stitching throughout, it’s bound to last you for a long time to come.
What’s also great about this grappling dummy is that the limbs can be repositioned, either straightened or bent, however you need them. It’s important to note that the Jendila Grappling Dummy comes unfilled, but for the price I think it’s well worth the trouble to fill it yourself.
For a more premium sitting/kneeling grappling dummy, look no further than the Fairtex Maddox Grappling Dummy. Made with quality synthetic leather, not only is it very durable, but also very easy to wipe clean compared to the dummies made with canvas material.
In fact, it’s one of the best grappling dummies on the market, quality is top notch inline with other Fairtex products. The Fairtex BGV9 boxing gloves are still one of my favorite bag gloves after all these years.
It’s worth pointing out that the Fairtex maddox grappling dummy also comes unfilled, if you’re looking for a filled premium grappling dummy, the Ring to Cage Deluxe Grappling Dummy should definitely be on top of your list.
As mentioned in the article, grappling dummies are not an absolute necessity to improve your grappling game. But they do aid your training in certain situations like when you are sick or injured, or you can’t train with a live partner for whatever reason, and when you want to practice throws and submissions in repetition to improve fundamental technique and acquire muscle memory.
As long as you are aware of its capabilities and limitations, grappling dummies are definitely worth it!