While no form of martial arts is an exclusively solo activity there are instances in which a partner is not available for practice. In the absence of a sparring partner, such as for at-home practice, a quality grappling dummy is essential to develop skills between sessions.
Grappling dummies are particularly useful for Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but also come in handy for judo and mixed martial arts as well. When learning new techniques it is also helpful to begin on a dummy before moving on to a partner in order to avoid the risk of injury.
Types of Grappling Dummies
There are a lot of dummies on the market and several decisions to make before purchasing one. They come in various sizes, weights, and styles, as well as filled and unfilled. The best grappling dummies are both durable and realistic for the type of training you'll be doing. Not every dummy is suited for everyone.
Some dummies are bags with handles that look more like traditional punching bags than dummies, but they are intended for practicing throws exclusively. They give the user a feel for the weight and balance of working with another person.
Other dummies feature four limbs and some even have hands and feet, which are excellent for extremely realistic groundwork and trying various locks and submissions without potentially injuring your partner. There are sitting dummies that are designed specifically with groundwork in mind as well as standing dummies that have varying degrees of versatility but can typically be used prone as well as upright.
1. Celebrita Sitting Position Hands Front
An excellent dummy for groundwork is Celebrita's Sitting dummy.
This dummy is one of the more affordable options that are less expensive without sacrificing quality. It is only available unfilled so you can fill it to meet your weight and firmness requirements. Adult and youth sizes are available in an assortment of different color options as well as either canvas or leather depending upon your material preference.
It can be postured on its knees or its elbows to utilize different techniques and give it some added versatility for practicing BJJ techniques. Again, because this dummy is in a sitting position it is not usable for upright or standing techniques.
2. Roll Hard Sitting Ground and Pound Dummy
The Roll Hard Sitting dummy is another dummy more on the expensive side, but it is highly realistic, much like the Ring to Cage dummy below.
It is only available in adult sizes but can be purchased unfilled for control over the density and weight.
The dummy is specifically for groundwork and features hands as well as feet. It is made of heavy-duty mil-spec Cardura, which is an extremely realistic material and an alternative to the typical leather, canvas, and vinyl dummies. This gives you a practice experience that is more like attempting to grapple with a real partner not just in weight but also texture.
3. Ring to Cage BJJ Dummy
The Sitting with Extremities dummy by Ring to Cage was made specifically with ground grappling in jiu-jitsu and judo in mind, but it does have a target head for some striking as well.
It is very durable, and also one of the most realistic dummies on the market today. The firmness of the dummy allows for accurate submission practice and at the same time, it is flexible enough to practice ground movement drills.
Because this dummy is in a sitting position though, it is not ideal for throws nor upright practice. It is also one of the more costly dummies, but it is available in multiple sizes as well as colors with an unfilled option for customization. It is definitely a great investment if you are focusing heavily on kneeling and prone work such as ground grappling, locks, and submissions.
1. TITLE MMA Standing Dummy
Title makes a fantastic standing dummy that is exceptionally great at replicating human movement - this makes it ideal for practicing rolls and takedowns without worrying about injuring a partner.
The realism features also make it very versatile and it is also definitely usable for both groundwork as well as upright drills.
It is available in only 2 sizes and comes with a removable chain for hoisting and practicing strikes and kicks. This is a great option for someone working across several disciplines or with plans to do so in the future.
2. Combat Sports Grappling Submission Dummy
You'll immediately notice that Combat Sport's dummy is one of the best looking dummies on this list. It is also arguably one of the most durable available also.
It is made of a specialized polyester coated in military-grade vinyl, so it can handle a lot of punishment for years of heavy practice. You can really work this dummy hard, unlike when you're working with a flesh and blood partner.
It is a great investment if you're looking for an all-around dummy for grappling, submissions, throws and striking practice all rolled into one. It is available in multiple sizes and weights, but unfortunately is only available filled putting it on the more expensive side of the spectrum.
3. Ring to Cage Unfilled Throwing Dummy
In addition to an amazing sitting dummy, Ring to Cage makes a fantastic standing grappling dummy variation too.
It is less expensive than it's sitting dummy counterpart and can be purchased in several sizes.
It is good for throws, strikes and prone groundwork but is slightly less versatile than some other standing dummies in regards to groundwork capabilities.
It is mainly intended for traditional wrestling drills and striking, but is an option to consider depending on the type of martial arts that interest you.
4. DAAN MMA Dummy
DAAN's standing dummy is intended for MMA practice, so it is also a viable option for jiu-jitsu and is actually great for groundwork. Not only is it one of the most versatile dummies on the market, but it is also a very affordable dummy.
It can be bought in several sizes and in filled and unfilled varieties. The most notable and unique feature of this dummy is its semi-realistic shoulder joints - this is something that most dummies lack. From kicks and strikes to throws and submissions, this is also a very good all-around dummy.
5. Celebrita Standing Grappling Dummy
The Celebrita dummy, like the sitting version, is inexpensive without sacrificing quality or durability.
If you're interested in working on takedowns, throws, and standing work in addition to prone floor grappling at an affordable price then this is the dummy for you. It is ideal for someone practicing multiple martial arts disciplines.
This version comes with straps so you can fasten the dummy to your ceiling easily for striking and other upright drills. There are two height options and it comes unfilled for personally tailored weight and density and to keep it affordable.
6. Century Grappling Dummy
Century unfortunately only makes two different sized standing dummies - 70 lbs at 62" and 120 lbs at 72" - and they are only available filled, so they cannot be customized.
One of these dummies is a great investment though as they are extremely durable and guaranteed to last for years. It is also one of the best dummies for simulating a variety of grappling matches because the arms are completely posable and will stay locked into position. This is a feature unique to this particular dummy and may be of interest to you.
7. Jink Standing & Fighting Dummy
Jink is a newer company known originally for its high-quality and affordable umbrellas. Umbrellas and grappling dummies are definitely an odd combination, but their dummies should not be overlooked.
Available in several unfilled sizes and colors, they can be used across multiple disciplines and will stand on their own with firmly filled legs rather than being restricted to ceiling straps.
Which Dummy is Right for You
The size and weight of the dummy should be based on the size and weight of the student. A student needs to be able to safely lift the dummy when practicing throws and needs to be realistically weighted and dense for submission practice. Many of the top rated submission dummies are available in both youth and adult sizes so that students of any age can utilize them to practice.
Choosing a dummy with an unfilled option is also something to consider - it not only cuts down on shipping costs but also allows for some additional customization of the dummy to tailor it to meet your needs. Some people like to make slight adjustments to the weight and density of their dummy according to their needs. An unfilled dummy is the best option for people that want that sort of control over their experience.
Take a look at some of our favorite options below, which are ideal for Brazilian jiu-jitsu as well as other disciplines that incorporate grappling styles and techniques.
Considerations When Choosing The Best Grappling Dummy
Without a doubt, there is a grappling dummy right for you on this list. Whether you're focused on a single martial arts style or you're practicing MMA, you should not shy away from working with a dummy. It is important to practice at home between training sessions, and it is always a good idea to try out new techniques on a dummy while you refine your form, especially as you work on more advanced and dangerous techniques. Here are some of the considerations you should keep in mind when narrowing down your selection:
Filled vs. Unfilled
Some companies only offer either filled or unfilled versions of their submission dummies. Both options have their pros and cons. Filled dummies tend to be more expensive and have higher shipping costs, but they are ready to use immediately without purchasing filling or having to take the time to fill a dummy to your necessary specifications.
Filled dummies are also guaranteed to be stuffed uniformly for optimum weight and density, but some like the customization that comes with getting an unfilled dummy. Buying filling is an additional investment, but there are a lot of filling options from polyester to paper and other materials so that you can find the one right for you at a cost that works with your budget.
Height and Weight
Almost all throwing dummies are available in multiple sizes, including sizes that are suitable for children and smaller martial artists.
Unfilled dummies can be stuffed to any weight, but you should also consider the dummy's height because heigh affects the center of gravity and balance during throws as well as the realism when working on any groundwork. Height should be comparable to the height of the student.
The list above features both sitting and standing dummies. All of these dummies are useful for developing work in prone positions, while others can be used both on the ground as well as standing upright. A few - the sitting dummies - are specialized mainly for groundwork or kneeling techniques.
Think about what you'll mainly be practicing and what you may be interested in practicing in the future. If you want to work on a wider variety of techniques like kicks, strikes, pins, and upright takedowns, you will need one of the more versatile dummies. If you'll be focusing exclusively on submissions, locks, and floor drills then you can go with a more specialized dummy.
Grappling dummies today vary a great deal in design. Some are simply bags with handles intended for practicing throws only. Other dummies, like those on our list, have arms and legs because they are intended for practicing pins and blocks.
Some of the dummies on our list also feature hands and feet in addition to limbs. These more detailed dummies are for someone that will be doing wrist and ankle locks and want the most realism possible.
Again, what is it you plan to work on with your grappling dummy? If you'll be working on specific moves be sure the dummy you choose can accommodate those moves.
This is a no-brainer. How much do you want to spend on a grappling dummy? The top dummies will definitely last for years, but you want one that will accommodate all of the techniques you hope to practice.
You don't want to end up with a dummy that is no longer useful. Be sure to think of your dummy as an investment. It will help you hone your jiu-jitsu and other martial arts skills long into the future.