How To Train With A Stability Ball For BJJ Balance


It is well established that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu puts our bodies in unnatural positions. Among the many challenges our bodies face, a huge one is a balance. remember how easy it was for everyone to sweep you when you first joined? Well, the key point to help you deal with any sweep in BJJ is to develop dynamic balance. This doesn’t just means being able to stand on one leg. On the contrary, it means being able to move around on one leg while holding a kettlebell in one hand and a chain around your neck. Apart from a few isolated cases, most people need to address balance training specifically in order to improve. For Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purposes, the dynamic balance should be the sole focus of balance training. And there’s hardly a better tool than a stability ball for BJJ balance training.

The stability ball is an extremely useful tool for grapplers. Leave your, “it’s a girly yoga prop”, attitude at home and go grab yourself a stability ball. You’ll not only learn how to become unsweepable but also how to stay heavy. Balance doesn’t only work when you’re standing, Side control, mount and any top position is all about balance. You can’t put pressure on someone unless you have good d balance to support you. Training Jiu-Jitsu is the best way to develop grappling-specific balance. Stability ball drills, however, are going to speed up your progress immensely. It is an easy tool to acquire and you do not need much experience or space to work with it. Below are some of the stability ball for BJJ essentials for improving your grappling balance.

Why You Need Balance For BJJ  

Training BJJ does wonders for your core musculature. All the top layer muscles get a workout in every direction possible, both dynamically and isometrically. However, deeper-lying muscles, like those inside the pelvis are harder to train. What most people don’t understand that these are the stabilizing muscles of the core. While the visible muscles are great for flexion and extension, the deep muscles are the stabilizers. They attach directly to the spine thus directly affecting posture and overall balance. It’ss this inner system of muscles that provide core stabilization to distribute weight, absorb forces, and produce force.

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The ability to do all of the above is crucial for a successful BJJ game. Jiu-Jitsu is all about directional control of an opponent. The best avenues of control are dominant positions. If you look at BJJ, most of the dominant positions are top positions. The reason for this is the ability to make your opponent bar all your weight while working on attacks. However, even the slightest instability greatly compromises your position. Think about side control. How many times have training partners flipped you over until you figured out how to stay put? that’s all because of balance. The same holds true for passing or even the standup game. The better balance you have, the easier it will be to take your opponent down.

Training With A Stability Ball For BJJ

The main point of training with the stability ball for BJJ is maintaining constant and dynamic pressure. What this means is that you’re able to move from position to position without giving up space. In training, it is the training partner you’re looking to control. When working out with the stability ball, it is the ball itself. It is obvious that training with a stability ball for BJJ is no substitute for training with a live person. What you get though is strengthening of the deep stabilizing muscles of the body. You also get proprioceptive benefits, meaning you can apply what you learn in similar circumstances when grappling.

Proprioception is the sense of the relative positioning of different parts of the body during movement. It is your body orientation relative to itself. For example, try walking with your eyes closed. Without the benefit of sight, our bodies estimation of balance is thrown out and all we have left is proprioception. Now imagine how easy balance is once you open your eyes. Training with the stability ball for BJJ is like getting you 20/20 vision for grappling.

  • Ball Size

What you’ll discover once you go looking for a stability ball is that they come in different sizes. In order to train with a stability ball for BJJ, start off small. Get a ball that’s exactly the right fit for you. To make it easy, if your feet touch the ground comfortably when you sit on it, it is the right size. Once you become proficient, you can go for a larger variation.  

  • Proprioception Boost

When you’re training with a stability ball fro BJJ balance, you can use a few tricks to make things even harder. IF you’re good enough, for example, to stand on the ball, you’ll need a new challenge. Try closing your eyes. This is going to change your proprioception significantly, and you’ll need to start learning balance all over again. However, once you get to the mats, you’ll see the benefits of it.

  • Extra Conditioning

You could even use stability ball training to improve your conditioning as well as your balance. When you perform stability ball drills, just add speed and intensity to them. If you’re truly looking for a challenge, close your eyes from time to time. Just be careful not to injure yourself.

  • Flexibility Requirements

Stability ball training doesn’t come with many flexibility or athletic prerequisites. Two things you need to consider are hips and knees. While you can take it easy on the knees by avoiding standing drills, hips are more complicated. Namely, the hips are a huge part of the core, which is the main stabilizer of the body. All balance-oriented drills with a stability ball for BJJ include the hips. Make sure you warm your hips profusely before training, especially if you have tight ones.

Key Principles Of Stability Ball Training

There are some main principles when using the stability ball for BJJ. To begin with, if you are tense, you will lose your balance. The ball will sweep you, much like a training partner or opponent. You need to learn how to relax your body while staying dynamic at the same time. Dynamic balance means making constant small adjustments to keep the main balance point. From a Jiu-Jitsu standpoint, this conserves energy and allows you to roll for longer.

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Next point is about control. The control over the stability ball comes from your hips. You determine which direction it can roll in, as well as when to stop and keep it in place. This translates perfectly for almost any top position in BJJ. Your hips are your main generator of pressure when you roll. They’re also instrumental in creating barriers and pins to stop an opponent from moving.

Holding onto a bad position with tension and strength only is the perfect recipe for getting swept in grappling.  even worse, you might end up o the wrong end of a submission. To avoid this, you need to relax and use counterbalance to get out of a tight spot. Dynamic balance is going to enable you to salvage the position, and stay safe before moving on. Remember to stay loose and flow with movement instead of freaking out. The ball is going to teach you how to follow an opponent around without risking losing position or ending up on the bottom.

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