Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Basics – 7 Solo Jiu Jitsu Drills You Should Be Doing Everyday

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Basics – 7 Solo Jiu Jitsu Drills You Should Be Doing Everyday

In BJJ, there are solo Jiu Jitsu drills that you first learn when starting out in your training. They are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu basics that help you learn how to move within the martial arts. Below are a list of seven solo Jiu Jitsu drills that you should be doing everyday. Each one has a detailed description of how to do the drills, common errors people make with instructional videos.

1. Shrimping/Elbow Escape

This move is one of the most important techniques you will learn in BJJ. Shrimping/elbow escape is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu basic move that you learn how to move out of bad positions. It can be done with a partner or alone in a solo drill.

How to Shrimp/Elbow Escape

  1. Lay flat on your back with your feet out straight, your hands up, and elbows tucked in. 
  2. Move to your side, roll slightly on your side, and bring both feet to your butt.
  3. Lift your hips off the ground and moved them towards your head, then straighten your body and repeat the movements.

Common Mistakes:

  • Staying Flat: If you stay flat and don’t lift your hips, then you’re movement will be limited.
  • Small Movements: Along with staying flat making small hip movements. You need to learn to move your hips out or you’re not making enough space to escape.

In this video, Stephan Kesting details everything you'd ever need to know about shrimping! Check it out!

2. Forward and Back Rolls

Performing forward and back rolls are great and basic solo Jiu Jitsu drills to practice. These Brazilian Jiu Jitsu basics are generally learned during your first few classes. It's a great exercise to learn to master early on in your training as it teaches you how to fall on the mats properly without injuring yourself. 

How to Forward Roll

Beginners should first learn by starting on your knees. All you have to do is tuck your head and put an arm between your legs. Use that forward momentum to roll on your shoulder to complete the roll. As long as you follow these steps and commit to the roll it is a rather easy drill.

How to Back Roll

Again, beginners should start on their butt for this drill and then they can work their way up to standing. Simply choose a shoulder to roll over, tuck your chin, and use your momentum when you throw your legs over. Very easy, but watch out rolling too fast or you’ll get dizzy.

Forward and Back Rolling Common Mistakes

  • Rolling On Your Head: You can seriously hurt your neck if you don’t roll over a shoulder.
  • Rolling Sideways: You need to roll your body forward or it will look like you’re doing a barrel roll.
  • Landing Flat: You need to break fall to finish the roll rather than slamming your back flat on the mat.
  • Going Too Fast: Some may make up for bad technique by doing the drill as fast as possible.

Stephan Kesting nicely breaks down how to properly do these solo Jiu Jitsu drills down below. 

3. Bridging

Bridging is an important movement that grapplers need to practice everyday. Without a good bridge, you won’t be able to escape off your back.

How to Properly Bridge

  1. Bring your feet close to your butt
  2. Point your toes out and come up on the balls of your feet
  3. Push off your feet and shoot your hips up to bridge over a shoulder ​
  4. When you re bridging, you should look to the side you are bridging

Common Bridging Mistakes:

  • Far Away Feet: If your feet are too far away from your hips it limits your range of motion to bridge.
  • Bridging On Your Head/Neck: Bridging on your head and neck will definitely lead to future health problems 
  • Looking Straight Up: Looking straight up while instead of to the bridging side also limits your range of motion.

4. Breakfalls

Learning to breakfall is something beginners in BJJ should definitely learn to avoid injuries from being taken down. This is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu basic that you should frequently be doing in your solo Jiu Jitsu drills.

How to Breakfall:

  1. As you fall back for the breakfall keep your chin tucked to avoid whiplash. 
  2. Your butt first makes contact with the ground, then your back, and end the move by slapping the mat with your hands.
  3. Also make sure your legs are up when finishing the move.

Breakfall Mistakes

  • Not Tucking Your Chin: Your head will whiplash  back if your chin is not tucked.
  • Falling Flat: If you forget to break during the fall, you may knock the wind out of yourself and get seriously hurt.
  • Stopping The Fall Short: If you try to base out with your arm mid fall this could lead to broken bones.

5. Technical Stand Up

A technical stand up is the proper way of how to stand up safely. Another Brazilian Jiu Jitsu basic beginners must learn and is good for basic self defense.

How to do a Technical Stand Up

  1. From a seated position on the mat, post one hand behind you on the mat and have the other in front of you protecting your face. 
  2. The leg on the posted hand side is straight and you lift it off the mat and kick it behind you.
  3. You finish the move on your feet in a defensive stance.

Common Mistakes in Doing a Technical Stand Up

  • Standing Straight Up Or Forward: It isn’t a technical stand up if you don’t move backwards to make space.
  • Lifting The Wrong Leg: You’ll know you lifted the wrong leg, because you won’t be able to stand up.

Here’s Ritchie Yip explaining the basics of the move. Check it out below!

6. Shooting Takedowns

Shooting takedowns across the mat is a great solo Jiu Jitsu drill to keep your takedowns sharp. Takedowns are absolutely necessary especially in No Gi. 

How to Properly Shoot for a Takedown

  1. Get in your stance with one foot forward 
  2. Change levels by bringing your chest down to your front knee.
  3. Drop your front knee down to the ground and shoot yourself forward
  4. Step your back leg forward, planting your feet on the mat and end up back on your feet.

Common Mistakes Beginners Make on Takedowns

  • Not Changing Levels: Your shot is more of a dive if you don’t first change levels.
  • Dropping The Wrong Knee: People may confuse a shot with a lunge and drop their back knee instead of their front knee.
  • Slamming Your Knee Down: Beginners may slam their knee instead of dropping it, which can lead to injuries.

Amateur wrestling champion Nick Ugoalah breaking down the basic shot below.

7. Sprawls

Doing sprawls in your solo Jiu Jitsu drills is great to practice defending takedowns. It is another one of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu basics you first learn when you start training. You might be real familiar with this one as its pretty much a squat thrust or a burpee!

How to Properly Execute a Sprawl

  1. Drop your hands to the mat
  2. Kick both your legs back behind you 
  3. Drop your front hip to the mat.
  4. Your chest is off the mat, back leg is based out, and the front foot is flat on the mat.

Common Mistakes While Sprawling

  • Not Dropping Hips: If your front hip is off the ground, the opponent still has space to drive in to finish their takedown.
  • Front Foot Not Flat: Your front food needs to be laces down on the mat. You can’t stop their momentum being on your toes.


Surely you've heard the saying that goes, drillers make killers. And that goes for any sport you're practicing. BJJ is one of those sports where drilling is an absolute must if you want your moves sharp and efficient.

These are 7 essential solo Jiu Jitsu drills that should be doing everyday and how to perform them. They are Brazillian Jiu Jitsu basics, but are drills you need to practice everyday to make your BJJ game better.

Even the highest level BJJ athletes still train basic movements in solo BJJ drills like the ones above. So, be sure to do basic Jiu Jitsu drills like these 7 everyday to be in your best grappling shape! You'll feel the difference on the mats in no time!