Mixed martial arts classes are important in preparing the next generation of MMA enthusiasts and fighters for success in the octagon. However, two or three hours a day of intense practice is not enough.
A grappling dummy is the best solution that people them to hone their throwing, submission, and grappling skills while away from the gym.
Due to the widespread popularity of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and mixed martial arts, there are lots of grappling dummies on the market.
However, many people have no idea how to choose a grappling dummy to help them improve their skills.
In our search for top grappling dummy, after researching and reading a lot of customer reviews, we narrowed it down to top 5 dummies that offer true quality.
Our Top 5 Grappling Dummies for 2015
The Best Grappling Dummy For The Money
By far, one of the most realistic grappling dummies available is the Submission Master. Part of what makes it so good is the fact that its arms and legs are stiff enough to be realistic and also to return back to their original position, but also elastic enough to easily bend into the various submissions.
The Submission Master is made from Denier Cordura, a highly tear resistant and waterproof material, and the stitch-work on the dummy is high quality, with all of the seams being reinforced with multiple rows of stitching. It weighs eighty-five pounds, and is roughly the height of a six foot man. Click here to read full Submission Master Review.
What really sets the Submission Master apart, however, is the thought that was put into how its arms and legs were made and positioned. With the legs bent at the knee, and stiff enough to stay that way, the Submission Master allows you to practice many positions and submissions that many other dummies do not allow, including triangle chokes, arm bars, sweeps, and omo platas.
While no dummy can fully replace a training partner, the Submission Master is great for working on various drills and committing them to muscle memory. Submission Master isn’t cheap, but if you can afford it, it’s probably just about the most durable and realistic dummy that you could find.
The Bubba II is engineered and handmade for practicing all types of grappling. It has a patented design that features anatomically correct human features and joints. As one of the best grappling dummies out there it is constructed of a wooden strapping, skeleton and hose for foam and tension padding. It has a one piece design, and its outside is completely wrapped in duct tape and clothed in black sweatshirt and sweat pants.
This grappling dummy is nicely put together. The poseable joints bend to pretty much every position. What many people like about this dummy is that it is a perfect compromise between weight and flexibility. People can perform almost all of the MMA moves that they want. Standing guard poses work very well with this dummy.
People can also make the dummy stand and sit on its own. It is also much harder than it looks. This is because the foam is packed tightly from within. Because of this, doing some ground and pound work on this dummy is great. Judging from the material and stitching of the dummy, it will definitely hold up for a very long time.
Aside from that, people can basically bend the limbs out to mimic another person who is spider-guarding them. Performing side mount and mount moves on this dummy is also fantastic. However, some users claim that practicing submission techniques is hard because it is often difficult to obtain the right pressure from the dummy.
At the same time, sweeps from a guard position are tough. This is because people cannot really get the dummy to sit up on its knees in a proper position without tying its legs together. Practicing escapes from sidemounts and mounts is not the best because people are not obtaining proper pressure from the dummy.
The Ring to Cage Adult MMA is another grappling dummy that is sold on the market today. It is made from very durable polyester that has vinyl coating.
This enables it to provide the same amount of durability as leather. It is also designed for full 360 degree maneuverability around the body for kicks, throws and strikes.
This dummy can easily be used as a second option pound and ground or floor striking bag. It is available in weights of 30, 50, 75, 110 and 140 pounds. It is also available in heights of 3’6”, 5’4”, 5’6”, 5’8 and 5’10”.
The stitching on the dummy is pretty good. There are no popped stitches or occasional long threads. However, some users say that they are concerned with the stitching located in the middle of the torso.
This is because it is not even and wanders a little bit. This is uncharacteristic of the rest of the dummy.
The arms are triple stitched at the elbows and shoulders to make sure that they do not get ripped off from the body. Many users like the dummy because it does not feel like dead weight and closely simulates the people that are on top of them.
They also like its standing clinch work. It is a lot nicer to move and knee around while throwing elbows, knees and punches. The head is also quite soft and people can throw punches without the fear of getting hurt.
However, some people complain that the legs are too solid for leg submissions. Nevertheless, the arms provide a more realistic training for ground and pound and transitioning maneuvers. Except for its stitching, this is one of the best dummies to own.
One of the best grappling dummies out there is the Combat Sports Legged Grappling Dummy. It has a height of five foot and ten inches.
It also has a weight of 90 pounds and is constructed from heavy duty nylon that gives it unique durability. This makes it perfect for people who want to perfect their throws, submissions, strikes and takedowns.
This dummy is great to practice many MMA maneuvers. People are also able to do throws with it. They can do everything from double legs, single legs and ankle pics all the way to sizor takedowns.
Unfortunately, they are not able to perform a rolling knee because it does not bend at the waist.
However, some users noted that the neck is much too thick to do guillotine chokes, rear naked chokes and triangles. What is worse is that Anaconda chokes are not possible with this dummy though individuals can perform gogplata and omoplata.
The throws are really good with this dummy. People are also able to put this dummy on guard, and this works pretty well. All kinds of drills can be done with this dummy, and the legs are stiff enough to be used in practicing sweeps.
On the bad side, there are some durability concerns with this dummy. Some users claimed that they had only used the dummy for three weeks when they noticed the material started ripping on the inside of the elbow area. Aside from that, many people noted that the problems that this dummy has come from the way it was made.
The material does not allow them to bend the arms enough. At the same time, the legs are so stiff that it is impossible for people to perform ankle or passing locks. The neck is also too thick for people to perform chokes.
The Title Free Style Throwing Dummy is an incredible life-like training dummy that is designed for an intense, professional and realistic workout.
It is made from durable and extra tough triple-ply synthetic leather that is crafted for rigorous grappling and MMA workouts. Aside from that, it has a youth version that is designed to cater to young MMA enthusiasts.
What people like about this grappling dummy is that it is great for practicing takedowns as well as kicking and striking. It is also great for ground and pound and grappling.
What makes this dummy stand out from the competition is that it is able to stand up while people work on head, knee and elbow control. It is also quite durable with no signs of strain after a number of months of beating.
However, it has a number of complaints. Many people found that it was impossible to throw this dummy around even if they have ordered one that has a weight of 70 pounds. What is worse is that it is very uncomfortable to throw.
Aside from that, some users wish that the arms were a lot wider apart so that they could get inside and do underhook or overhook drills more easily. It is also not particularly flexible. Because of this, kimuras, arms and similar submissions are not possible.
The Amber Submission is a hefty and durable dummy that is well suited to providing a realistic training experience as well as standing up to copious amounts of abuse.
Unlike many grappling dummies, the arms and legs of the Amber Submission naturally stay in an upright and outstretched position, allowing for a greater range of submissions to be practiced. At 100 pounds of dead weight, the dummy is a bit on the hefty side.
While this may be an issue for some, it does help provide a more realistic training experience and makes the dummy well-suited for stronger fighters who will have no trouble tossing around the extra bulk.
The Amber Submission dummy can be positioned on its back, allowing you to practice techniques from within its guard, perform ground and pound tactics from a full mount, and transition into submissions such as the arm bar, kimura, and rear naked choke.
On top of this, the dummy can also be made to stay in a sitting position, letting you practice techniques and submissions from your guard position.
All said, the Amber Submission is great dummy to consider for anyone who can handle the extra weight and wants a durable, affordable dummy that can be used to perform a relatively large variety of drills.
One of the most easy to appreciate qualities about this grappling dummy is that you are able to choose from four different weights (70 lbs, 90 lbs, 120 lbs, 140 lbs) depending on your own physical capabilities and, seeing as the price of the dummy decreases as the weight goes down, depending on your budget as well.
This makes the Amber legged grappling dummy a versatile and affordable choice for a wide range of fighters.
Beyond this versatility, the Amber Legged is also a highly durable choice. The outer material is made from synthetic leather, making it extremely resistant to tearing under stress, able to shed water, and also relatively easy to maintain a good grip on.
One drawback to the Amber Legged grappling dummy is that it arms and legs are not positioned in an outright position, somewhat limiting the amount of submissions you can practice on it.
With this being said, the heft and durability does allow for a number of throws and ground and pound tactics to be practiced.
In summary, the Amber Legged grappling dummy is a good choice to consider for anyone who is looking for an affordable, versatile, and durable dummy to use primarily for practicing throws and striking techniques.
While its short and straight limbs make practicing some submissions something of a challenge, the Amber Legged is capable of being put into a wide variety of submissions, making it overall a good dummy to consider for many fighters.
The Submission Man is relatively light, (heavier considering it is dead weight) realistically positioned, a well durable grappling dummy suited for training for a wide variety of techniques and submissions.
Unlike many grappling dummies in its price range, the Submission Man’s arms and legs are prepositioned to remain in place and face outward until force is applied to them.
This is a big advantage over the more common stiff and straight limbed dummies and allows you to practice many more submissions such as arm bars, kamuras, and to work from your guard or within the dummy’s guard. At eighty pounds, the Submission Man is equally well suited for practicing a variety of throws.
Also, while some have also taken issue with this, the stiffness of the limbs do actually provide a more realistic training experience by simulating the resistance a real opponent would have.
To enhance its durability, the Submission Man is made from high durability nylon, making it able to handle striking, throws, and the stresses of being twisted into different submissions.
Although some people have found the Submission Man to be too stiff to comfortably use, its price, durability, and the fact that it does have prepositioned, outward-facing limbs make it a good grappling dummy to consider for some fighters.
Benefits of Grappling Dummies
While nothing can completely prepare you for a real-life combat situation, intense amounts of training, dedication, and hard work will get you very close. In order to perfect your skill, you’ll need to train in a productive and realistic manner.
Most of the time this involves working with a training partner, and while doing so is a great way to get hands-on training, there are a few drawbacks to relying solely on working with a partner.
One of the most obvious and common drawbacks is they may not always be available, especially if you live in an area where martial arts schools are not so common. Even if there is a school relatively close to you they may not meet nearly as often as you would like to train, meaning that relying only on a training partner often limits the amount of reps you can get in.
Second, training partners usually are equally interested in practicing and improving themselves. While this entirely understandable, it means that you are going to have to split what training time you do have to aid them in their practicing, limiting the amount of time you have to improve your own skill even further.
Lastly, training partners aren’t invincible, and the techniques you will be practicing are almost always meant to hurt and are sometimes even meant to cause some severe damage. This means that in order to practice them, you will have to tone down the speed and strength in which you employ them way back in order to keep from killing your poor training buddy.
Unfortunately, decreasing the speed and strength of your moves also decreases how realistic and beneficial your training is. This is where grappling dummies come in. In short, their primary purpose is to provide an alternative to training partners without any of the above drawbacks.
All of them are plenty portable enough to be stored in a closet or garage and can be taken out and used anytime you please in the comfort of your home, allowing you to practice on your own terms. Of course, grappling dummies have no interest in doing drills of their own either, meaning that all of your training time can be dedicated to perfecting your own techniques.
Lastly, so long as you buy a dummy that is durable enough to take the abuse, you can practice as full force as you like without any fear of injuring a partner. Throws and slams can be done with speed and aggression, submissions can be performed with bone-snapping force, and ground and pound tactics can be done in a powerful and realistic manner.
Raining elbows into the face of a training partner isn’t recommended, but a grappling dummy won’t complain at all. All of this allows you to practice your techniques in manner that replicates how you would employ them in an actual combat situation, (or during a competition) helping you to become a better prepared fighter.
Getting in plenty of reps for the various tactics and techniques you are practicing is crucial to perfecting your art. Likewise, performing these techniques in a realistic manner is equally crucial. If you’re serious about becoming a better fighter, then a good grappling dummy may be the perfect thing to add to your training regimen.
Factors To Consider When Buying
The best grappling dummies on the market today are very flexible, yet are still rigid enough to remain in their position until a force is placed upon them.
Too flexible and the dummy will not provide enough resistance to accurately replicate the real scenario, yet too stiff and you won’t be able to put them into a submission at all.
This is an important factor that you should bear in mind when you are choosing a grappling dummy. In order to get a dummy that will allow you to fluently practice the widest range of techniques and submissions you will want to find one that is flexible enough to maneuver yet stiff enough to remain in position.
On top of this, the position the dummy remains in is equally important. The best grappling dummies have outward facing arms and are able to kneel up inside you guard so that you can practice arm bars, triangle chokes, sweeps, arm triangles, omo platas, and many more submissions that grappling dummies with straight arms that run parallel to the body do not allow.
Aside from that, the dummy should have the capability to keep its legs up on its own. This enables you to practice passing leglocks from an inside guard position. At the same time, it is important for a grappling dummy’s arms and legs to return to their original position.
This allows you to practice submissions without having to fold and lift the limbs into place, enabling you to get in more reps in lesser amounts of time.
Another important factor in finding the best grappling dummy is durability. In short, it should be made from high quality materials that can take a major beating during intense practice sessions. At the same time, you should always take a close look at the quality of the craftsmanship and stitching.
Anywhere stitching is required is also quite often the portions of the dummy that are stressed the most by submissions, seeing as submissions usually focus on joints and, on a grappling dummy, the joints are quite often stitched into place. Look for dummies that advertise multiple rows of stitching to ensure maximum strength.
Carefully analyzing how durable a dummy is helps determine whether the grappling dummy can last for a long time, and therefore, whether or not it is a worthy investment.
While this may sound like an issue with how realistic the dummy is, it is important to decrease the weight of the dummy in order to account for “dead weight”— a factor that makes the dummy feel much heavier than it really is when compared against a moving, fluid training partner. Despite this reduction, a dummy that weighs too much will be too hard to maneuver to really be beneficial.
On the other hand, a grappling dummy that is too light, though much easier to maneuver, does not provide an accurate simulation of the weight of a competitor in your weight class. Because of this, it is important to choose a grappling dummy that has the right weight. Determine your own size and capabilities and then go from there.
Ability to Fit in a Gi
When purchasing a grappling dummy, it is also important to consider if it can be dressed in a bjj gi. This increases the realism of your training session.
Aside from that, it helps increase the amount of techniques that an individual can perform, as many submissions and techniques, particularly in Brazilian jiu jitsu, require you to grip certain portions of the gi as part of the technique. It also keeps the grappling dummy fresh as you can wash the clothes that you have placed on it when needed.
The best way to tell if a grappling dummy can be fit into a gi is to check its positioning and flexibility. If it is realistically positioned, correctly sized, and has the proper amount of flexibility, it should be relatively easy to fit into a gi.
The grappling dummy’s height is another important factor that you should take a close look at. If a fighter does not have a grappling dummy that is the right height, they might have a hard time practicing their drills.
Working on submissions from within your guard can be quite difficult when using a dummy that is either too tall or too short, and most all techniques are made harder and less realistic if the dummy is not properly sized.
Always remember that a dummy with adequately long legs and arms is important in order to make performing some submissions much easier and more realistic.
Due to their weight, height, flexibility, and other factors, some dummies are only suited for certain areas of training. In example, overly heavy, highly durable dummies can be positioned on the ground for striking and ground-and-pound tactics, while lighter, more limp dummies are better suited for practicing throws.
In order to find the grappling dummy that will allow you to practice the widest range of techniques, it’s important to find one that falls somewhere in the middle of all these specifications.
Likewise, the positioning of some dummies can drastically limit the amount of submissions and techniques that can be practiced. Dummies with straight arms and legs are incapable of being put into a guard position or posting up into your guard position and are also much harder to perform various submissions on.
This makes them much more suited for throws and striking, but in order to get a dummy that will be versatile enough to practice the widest range of drills you’ll want to look for one with the appropriate flexibility and bends in the knees and arms.
In summary, the more versatile a grappling dummy is, the more bang for your buck you will be getting.
Purchasing a grappling dummy to aid you in your training is excellent option to consider for fighters who are wanting to take their skill to the next level. While the realism of a training partner is hard to beat, the availability and ability to go full-force that a grappling dummy provides is unparalleled.
While there are several great grappling dummies out there, considering the six factors discussed above, our recommendation for the dummy that most fighters (especially Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners) should most strongly consider is the Submission Master.
The flexibility of this dummy is just the right balance of stiff enough to stay in place yet flexible enough to maneuver, and the positioning allows for the widest possible range of submissions to be practiced.
Likewise, the durability, height, weight, and ability to fit into a gi were all taken into consideration with this dummy, and great attention was given to each of these aspects. Given this, the Submission Master has earned the place of the dummy we would most strongly recommend.