I was recommended to use a grappling dummy to build my conditioning for BJJ (with exercises similar to the ones shown here). However, I want to know what a good level of conditioning would be if I doing this since I need a goal to be able to aim for.

How long, and with what intensity. would a good BJJ practitioner be able to exercise with a grappling dummy. How about an elite one?

I know this is not as straight-forward as "running a 5k in twenty minutes", but I reckon that an answer, albeit much longer one, can be answered.

  • I guess it depends on what you do with it.
    – LulY
    Commented Apr 19 at 9:55
  • @LulY Yeah, I guess the variety of moveset that can be performed on a grappling dummy is too great to compare it to, for instance, running.. However, I am hoping for an answer that will probably need to be much longer than an equivalent one for running or swimming.
    – Avatrin
    Commented Apr 19 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


Generally, there are four different goals you can aim for in dummy drills that are not exclusive:

1. Speed

This is measured in successful sequences per time unit. You can do single sets of 60 or 90 seconds or do a circuit training with 40/20 and 3 to five rounds, adding up total count. The latter will certainly contribute to the other aim as well.

Caution: It may be worth filming yourself and going through the material, maybe with an instructor as well. When aiming for speed you lose proper technique fast, often without noticing it.

2. Conditioning

For this, a circuit like written above may be worth trying. It is less dry than doing a single exercise over and over and the counting is motivation as well.

Alternatively, you could do a transition back and forth or side change over and over again, for example 30, 25, 20 with 60 seconds rest. Here, success can be seen when you can ramp up each set by five because the former numbers don't pose a challenge anymore. Can be coupled with taking the time it takes as well.

3. Muscle memory

When you have a single technique or transition you are fairly proficient in (Important! Never train stuff for yourself that you just learned and may need correction still!), you can go through it over and over, step by step, to memorise it better and stop having to think about every step.

4. Transition flow

Similar to the above but more about position transitions that are done freestyle, back and forth, etc. to get better flow.

What to aim for?

As of goals, I'd aim for all of them, generally. Since you ask what your goal in conditioning should be, that question seems a bit off to me: Your goal should be improvement since there is no time limit in many rules etc, thus you need to aim for better than the other guy in all dimensions including conditioning. Technique makes a lot for you since efficiency in your movements is more important than your cardiovascular capabilities in this sport.

Since unconditioned people usually are out of breath after two minutes and matches are easily 10+ minutes, there is a lot of room for improvement...

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