Stability balls are, in my opinion, the best tool for developing specific movements for ground fighting skills in jiu-jitsu when you haven’t got a training partner. I’d even go as far as saying that there are movements you can develop on a stability ball, that you can’t with a partner. Stability balls can’t get injured, don’t get tired, don’t complain and they’re always ready to train day or night. You can do what you want to them.
But how do you use them to help your jiu-jitsu?
The list of potential stability ball exercises can be almost endless, but here are my recommendations for using them to best develop your jiu-jitsu with 9 specific solo drills to get you started.
First, make sure your breathing is controlled and mostly through the nose. You can read about the importance of breathing in this article, so I won’t bore you with the details. But, let’s just say its key for good jiu-jitsu. When using a stability ball, it is the perfect opportunity to also focus on your breathing. You’re not worried about being choked, so you can take your time and really focus in on the movements and breathing. So, breath…
Second, focus on control over speed. Many stability ball videos for jiu-jitsu show very fast and very dynamic movements, which are fantastic and impressive. Although, what you need to remember is that it can take a long, long time to get to the level where you can perform movements like that. Also, when we focus on quick, dynamic movements too soon, it can gloss over some of our weaknesses. Slowing down and learning proper control will expose any weaknesses you have and force you to build a solid foundation.
You wouldn’t expect to learn an armbar and then start throwing it on at lightning speeds. No, we take our time to work an armbar slowly, with correct form, working out all the details BEFORE we start applying it quickly.
Third, the next time you get to a jiu-jitsu class early and you’re the only person there, grab a stability ball (if there’s one there!) and practice, practice, practice. I’ve always been amazed at the times I’ll turn up before class and people just sit around, even when there’s more than one person there. When you can only make a few classes a week, and if the classes are only an hour long, those extra 5 to 10 minutes add up very, very quickly.
Now, for the 9 solo drills using a stability ball. They’re broken out over two videos.
This first one focuses on rotational core strength, which is vital for jiu-jitsu, and is going to be a great way to get used to moving on the stability ball and focuses on movements that closely replicate how we move on the mat when on top.
The second video gives you 3 fun games to use on a stability ball, that teach you good balance, control and co-ordination, particularly with hip and shoulder pressure. A good friend and fellow black belt at our school recently used this video to teach someone how to use proper hip pressure when they couldn’t quite get it right. When you don’t get the pressure right with a stability…..it throws you off.
Author: Laurence Griffiths