top of page
  • Writer's pictureJess D

6 Ways to Keep Improving When You Can't Train Jiu-Jitsu

Updated: Jun 17

There will be times when you can’t train jiu-jitsu. here are some ways you can train without physically getting onto the mats

jiu-jitsu injury cast and crutches on leg

There is a progression that many people experience when they start doing jiu-jitsu: it goes from curiosity to excitement, to obsession where you train every day, twice a day, and you just can’t stop. But like with life, there will be times when you can’t train or shouldn’t train. Instead of risking reinjuring yourself, here are some ways to keep improving your jiu-jitsu without physically getting on the mats.

6 Ways to Train BJJ When You Can’t Train

1. Watch Instructional Videos (BJJ Fanatics)

Sometimes, being able to watch something and take time to write notes is the best way to improve your jiu-jitsu. You can set aside some time and pull out a notebook to watch a jiu-jitsu instructional on BJJ Fanatics or any other jiu-jitsu instructional site you know. I prefer BJJ Fanatics because they have a large variety of instructionals by many different BJJ world champions.

You can save on BJJ instructionals at BJJ Fanatics by clicking this link:

You can take the time to learn more about a position you want to work on or want to get better in and go through the instructional step by step. By the time you’re ready to get back onto the mats, you’ll have the mental knowledge to do the technique and will just need the physical practice.

2. Stretches for Jiu-Jitsu

streching for bjj

I can’t stress how important stretching is for overall quality of life. You need flexibility and mobility for jiu-jitsu, and stretching helps with that. If you’re injured or can’t train, taking the time to work on stretching can help you get back to the mats tenfold. There are a variety of stretches that are great for jiu-jitsu, but if you take some time to do yoga, it also helps.

3. Solo BJJ Drills

Just because you can’t work with a person physically doesn’t mean you can’t do some stuff on your own. You can simulate body positioning and movement by yourself or with equipment. There is a great YouTube channel and Instagram called Jiu-Jitsu Flo, which gives a lot of solo drills and exercises you can do by yourself and shows how it relates back to when you do it with a person. I highly recommend checking it out.

4. Go to Your BJJ Class, Observe, and Take Notes

If you don’t want to fall behind on what your coach or professor has been teaching, then going to class to observe and take notes is always an option. Some coaches have their own lesson series where the curriculum from each week connects to the previous one. By going to class and taking notes, you’re keeping up with what is happening at your gym and you don’t fall behind. There’s nothing worse than not showing up for weeks at your gym and finding your training partners have new tricks that you didn’t learn. This also gives you time to study what the technique should look like and ask your coach questions right away instead of waiting until you recover. In addition, you can still have your social time with your teammates instead of disappearing until you’re better.

5. Strength and Conditioning for Jiu-Jitsu

kettlebell workout for bjj

Preparing yourself for jiu-jitsu doesn’t always have to be jiu-jitsu related. You can always hit the gym and do different lifting exercises and cardio to get yourself prepared. Of course, don’t do these exercises at the risk of injuring yourself further. You can always mix in something you wouldn’t normally do for exercise to confuse your body and keep you in shape. I do swimming and Zumba as other forms of supplemental exercise that are great for strength and conditioning.

6. BJJ Visualization Exercises

puzzled mind, visualization

The mind is so powerful when it comes to doing your best. It has been said that there are studies that show when athletes do their sport or run the race in their mind, the same muscles activate that would activate if they were actually running the race. That being said, visualizing your jiu-jitsu training may help with keeping you jiu-jitsu ready as you recover from injuries. Taking a few minutes to imagine how you would escape side control or mount, doing specific passes, or running through submissions might be the edge you need to help you when you get back on the mats.

Keeping up with Your BJJ Training as You Recover

When you’re unable to physically get back onto the mats, it’s important to do what you can to keep your physical and mental state intact as you recover. There’s no reason to reinjure yourself or put yourself at risk for worse injuries when you can keep training outside. These ways are just a few methods that can help you stay on track for whatever jiu-jitsu goals you have in the future.

Question: How do you train jiu-jitsu when you can't train? Tell me in the comments or on Instagram @blackgirlwhitegi_bjj.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page