There’s a chance you’ve been asked to bear crawl at some point in your life. Whether on the mat or in a school gymnasium, you’ve performed this movement. It can be a killer workout for your whole body, and a new way to move since most of us stop crawling as we grow.
Animal movements are a style of calisthenics that require no equipment and can be practiced almost anywhere . These movements can be done to supplement your BJJ training and teach you to move fluidly.
Shrimpin’ ain’t easy
The shrimp is a fundamental move that you will need for the rest of your grappling career. The emphasis is on moving your hips out from underneath your opponent and then recovering guard or attempting to get back to your knees. This movement is a great for a warm-up, or to add into a circuit. If you ask some people it’s a work out in itself.
If it walks like a duck…
If you’ve ever been in a wrestling room, you may already be familiar with the duck walk. A word of warning: this movement takes time to work towards but the benefits are worth the effort. Get into a low squat position with your toes slightly turned out and your heels flat. Keep your eyes and chest up and allow your back to have a natural curve, but do try to avoid slouching. Walk up and down the length of the mat and keep your feet flat as you move.
This move is great for building endurance and mobility. Duck walks also help develop a sense of balance needed when using a squatting posture to pass guard or regain position.
With primates being as agile as they are there is plenty to borrow. Great apes use quadrupedal movement to get around, so the first step is learning how to chimp walk (see gif above). Get into a low stance with your heels planted flat. From the squat place your hands to one side and plant them into the mat. Kick off the ground and move sideways towards your hands. As you progress try getting your legs higher and controlling your landing.
Develop your shots by using the the sneaking ape drill. This funny looking move is great to help you learn to get comfortable, and control dropping your knee when shooting for a take-down. Use this to help improve hip mobility and balance.
Putting it All Together
There are numerous animal movements to incorporate into your training routine. For each movement you find there are bound to be applications for jiu jitsu. If nothing else learning to move differently will help develop strength, flexibility, and coordination.
Interested in seeing more on the benefits of movement training? Check out BJJ athlete Rikako Yuasa’s Single Movement video for inspiration.