Buying the very best grappling dummy for BJJ & MMA is not as simple as you might initially think. Contrary to what many believe, there are some options that are better than others for specific situations. This practically means that the best BJJ dummy for you is not necessarily the best one for someone else.
When you choose a grappling dummy, you need to learn as much as you can about it and take into account your goals. For instance, if you want to improve your suplexes, you need to choose a dummy that is heavier so you get used to the weight of a real person. For more delicate techniques, like armbars, you need limbs and a setup similar to that of the human body.
Whether you are a professional or an amateur, choosing the best dummy is all about information. Here is what you need to know.
What Are Grappling Dummies?
Grappling dummies are training devices. Their shape and size are similar to a human. Amateur and professional martial artists use them to hone their skills and practice techniques when a training partner is not available. It also allows making mistakes without hurting someone else.
Numerous different types of grappling dummies are available right now. They are designed for specific wrestling drills, like takedowns and suplexes, or Jiu Jitsu practice. Also, you can find a dummy that is designed for something more specific, like the punching bag and grappling MMA dummy combo example recommended below.
Because of the different types available on the market at the moment, choosing the best one is almost always problematic if you are a beginner martial artist. This is why you need to take into account everything mentioned in this guide. We will go through how to choose the right grappling dummy for you, the different types present, and even give you our favorite recommendations.
Different Types Of Grappling Dummies
One of the most important things to consider is what grappling discipline you train. Various grappling dummy versions are available, together with variations and copycats. Usually, the main types to consider are:
Pliable Grappling Dummies
This BJJ training dummy can be filled or unfilled. Usually, it has a canvas or fabric exterior and tends to be much lighter. You use it for drilling sessions that involve ground fighting. The dummy is not that great for throws or takedowns.
If you are interested in training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, this is a practice dummy to consider. In fact, you should never choose a grappling dummy that is not pliable when you want to train BJJ techniques. The problem is that it is not suitable for wrestling and judo because throws and takedowns are much more important in these fighting styles.
Pliable grappling dummies can include a fitted Gi. Also, you can usually add one with ease if you want to.
Most firm grappling dummies are made out of leather, vinyl, heavy canvas, or another durable material. Usually, the same material used in punching bags is used in them. The material, together with the filling leads to a weight of 40 to 70 lbs, but more is possible.
These stiffer dummies are built with striking and throws in mind. However, they can still be used in open guard Jiu Jitsu training. You use them for both MMA and BJJ drills. The only problem is that if you want to train BJJ techniques, the weight needs to be suitable for suplexes, hip tosses, and other possible takedowns based on your fitness level.
This is the best grappling dummy to consider when your practice focuses on takedowns. It is not as useful for Jiu Jitsu training. The grappling dummy is usually very sturdy in the central part but limbs tend to be light, although there are some models that are not like that.
There is almost always a weighted base present together with extended legs. Arms might or might not be included but the dummy normally features legs because of the focus put on takedown training. You use this type of grappling dummy to train MMA because you can practice drills involving striking combinations into takedowns. Then, you can even follow up with some ground and pound.
Pros And Cons Of Using Grappling Dummies
Just as with any training equipment you use, even if you buy the best BJJ grappling dummy or the best MMA dummy, there are advantages and limitations to be aware of. Only choose a grappling dummy after you educate yourself about these:
Availability is one of the obvious advantages of using MMA training dummies. Regardless of what you want to train, the dummy does not get bored and you can train the same routine over and over again until you master the necessary technique to perform it safely and effectively. Dummies are often used for beginners to explain and practice grappling without the risk of hurting a real person.
The best grappling dummy is very useful when you consider it an addition to your regular routine. For instance, after class, movements and techniques can be reviewed with the use of the dummy. Even a cheap grappling dummy can help you to practice technique and master movements before applying what you learn in training against a real opponent.
In the event that you use the dummies to learn techniques you see in videos, it is a certainty that your skills will not be correct. The dummy cannot interact with the user. This means your training session is not at all realistic. It is practically impossible to compare a grappling dummy with a real training partner. As an example for fighters, you cannot train escapes or cage grappling techniques. You can opt for a special ring to cage grappling dummy for that but it would be restricted just to such fighting practice.
Another thing that has to be mentioned is that your intuitive sense can be negatively affected because you cannot work on anticipating an opponent. Basically, you cannot get used to predicting moves and it is impossible to understand applied pressure whenever someone tries to counteract the technique you practice.
How To Choose The Right Grappling Dummy
Because you need to choose a grappling dummy that is suitable for you, always take into account the following 4 factors to choose something truly appropriate. Also, make sure that you learn how to use a grappling dummy before you train.
You need a dummy that has a similar height to yours.
The heavier grappling dummy is more suitable for ground and pound and striking techniques. The lighter dummies should be considered for practicing throws.
We cannot even start to review the best grappling dummies if we do not discuss durability, regardless of cost. Martial arts involve a lot of strikes, throws, and other techniques that employ hands and feet. Due to this, you need to choose the dummy that is made out of the highest quality materials possible. Be particularly attentive to how the grappling dummy is made. Does it feature reliable stitching? This is the type of question you need to ask yourself.
This is particularly important when you are looking for the best Jiu Jitsu dummy because when you buy one with stiff limbs, you cannot apply proper pressure to learn submissions. At the same time, when the dummy is too flexible, not enough resistance is offered. Any dummy comes with a specific flexibility level. Opt for one that is just as flexible as you need it to be.
Filled Vs Unfilled?
Some grappling dummies are pre-filled while others are not. If you opt for the second option, you need to learn how to fill a grappling dummy with sand or similar materials.
Choosing between the two usually revolves around budget and your willingness to be involved in DIY projects. Unfilled dummies are cheaper. However, you need to fill them properly. Usually, the pre-filled ones are better since the material used is already appropriate and you can be sure that they will not break. Even so, there is nothing wrong with choosing unfilled dummies.
Simply put, the debate over choosing a filled or unfilled grappling dummy is personal and you can have your own preference about it.
If the martial arts you train requires the use of a Gi or you want to train techniques that involve using the Gi, the dummy obviously needs one. You can buy dummies that already come with a Gi or you can improvise and dress them yourself.
The good news is that you can actually buy Gis online that are designed to easily be used with dummies. Also, the dummies that come with a Gi are more expensive and can influence the buying process.
How To Use A Grappling Dummy
When you use such equipment, you are interested in the best grappling experience possible while not involving a partner. Remember that the grappling dummy is usually used for combat sports training so the trick to using it properly is to simulate a real-world scenario, as much as it is possible.
Unfortunately, in order to properly explain how to use grappling dummies, we need to take every single dummy type into account. To put it as simple as possible, when you buy a dummy, you already know the techniques that are appropriate to use and those that are not recommended.
For instance, you do not use the grappling dummies for training kicks. Also, both youth and adult martial arts practitioners need to understand that training with a grappling dummy can still lead to injuries when the equipment is not properly used. Just do not use specific MMA techniques when the grappling dummy is not designed for them.
The 6 Best Grappling Dummies
The third version of the Ring To Cage grappling dummy is available in both youth and adult sizes and stands out because of the fact that you may use it to train techniques from various combat sports, thus giving access to high versatility. Use it to train ground and pound, wrestling, grappling, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques.
The Ring To Cage Deluxe MMA 3.0 is made out of heavy-duty polyester coated with vinyl. It is tightly filled and flexible enough to allow you to practice techniques for all the mentioned sports. Also, it has a sturdy base that allows better mat positioning and gripping. Although it is costlier than other models, it offers a good quality given how the dummy is made.
Basically, you can practice many more techniques with this dummy than with others on the market. The only exception is the takedown dummy because you cannot properly train takedowns with the Deluxe MMA 3.0. If you want to train kimuras, foot locks, wrist locks, leg triangles, position wrenches and similar techniques, this is the best option.
This dummy is unfilled but you can easily fill it up to a rated maximum adult size weight of 100 pounds. You can choose out of various sizes ranging between 40 inches and 70 inches so it is suitable for both youth and adult practitioners.
A big advantage of the Celebrita MMA Grappling Dummy is that you can put it on its elbows or knees. This allows you to easily practice sprawl positions, turtle positions, and quarter positions. Also, the legs of the dummy stay curved at a 90 degrees angle. This simulates how most opponents stay when defending in real life. When compared with the straight-legged dummy, it is easy to practice more realistic techniques.
On the whole, this grappling dummy is well received by the community because it offers a more realistic submission training environment than others and its price-to-quality ratio is good. This is a cheap dummy made out of durable materials.
This is a heavy-duty dummy that features hands and feet and is designed for wrestling and judo throwing. At the same time, it can be used for some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques.
Suples is a respected brand even among some title MMA fighters and you can easily figure out why when you see how sturdy this one is. It will surely last a long time, with durability being the main reason to choose it.
With the Suples Wrestling Dummy, you do not worry about filling since it is pre-filled and you can choose out of multiple weights and sizes. However, the BJJ practice you get is limited, just as its name implies.
Do not let the name fool you. This is a freestanding grappling bag with a unique, patented design. We have to mention it on the list of the best grappling dummies because it is high-tech and extremely modern.
At first glance, the design is a weird one. There is no humanoid shape, as with most other models on the market. Basically, it is a combination of punching bags that are arranged in a specific way to help training.
After you set up the bag, it stands upright and it is stable enough to practice very strong striking techniques. Most importantly, you can link the strikes with a takedown, like an arm drag or a Russian tie.
Many fighters that used the Combat Sports Grappling Dummy say that this is the best-looking item of its type on the market. We cannot argue with that but you do not necessarily buy a grappling dummy because of looks. Also, you are interested in what the dummy offers in terms of quality.
The first thing that stands out (besides appearance) is durability. This dummy is designed to provide a long experience as it is made out of durable polyester or foam and is covered in vinyl. You can be sure that a lot of punishment can be inflicted and you can go full out when you train throws, takedowns, strikes, and submissions.
Basically, this is a good grappling dummy for those looking for an overall MMA practice tool. Choose the height and weight you want and start punching.
Everyone that was involved in a cage grappling encounter understands that it is really important to be able to quickly maneuver weights when using grappling techniques. This is why this dummy is one that has to be mentioned.
Basically, this is a heavy bag that includes heavy-duty handles sewn on the sides. It can be used as a heavy bag and to practice various techniques.
The great thing about it is that it is very affordable. The dummy comes filled and is great for beginners. Obviously, it is not one of the most complex dummies available and a title MMA fighter would never use it. Even so, because it is really durable and seams never come off, you can get used to pressure in a fighting environment when you start, before you are ready to spar or you use more standard dummies available. Also, when you "outgrow" it in terms of technique and strength, it can still be used as a punching and kicking bag.
To sum up, the overall best grappling dummy for BJJ & MMA is the Ring To Cage Deluxe MMA 3.0. This is because it features one of the more realistic setups for proper hands and feet training while you practice most grappling techniques used in modern martial arts. Also, as a cage grappling dummy, it is designed to be really sturdy. You will not find better dummies on the market if you are looking for an overall best tool to use during complex MMA and BJJ training sessions without a partner.
However, as already mentioned, the very best grappling dummy for you might be another one. Make sure that you consider every single dummy presented above so you can choose one that is perfect for you, and ideal for the exact practice routine you will use the dummy for.