3 Favorite Pull Up Variations for BJJ, Wrestlers and Grapplers

by Corey Beasley

Pull ups are one of the best exercises to develop strength for the upper body.

As you know, jiujitsu and wrestling require a lot of pulling, holding and controlling during a match.

Having the strength and endurance to pull for long periods of time can determine how well you perform.

While traditional pull ups are great, I think there are some better options out there.

Regular pull ups are done by hold a horizontal bar.

This does not prepare the grip for holding a gi or controlling a wrist.

Here are some simple tools that you can use to prepare more efficiently.

1.  Grandfather Clock Grips

These grips almost perfectly mimic grabbing a wrist and will better develop the entire chain of pulling muscles.  This will translate to hand fighting on your feet, and to controlling the wrist when on the ground.

2.  The Gi Grip

Athletes and coaches have been using this idea for years, but it is still one of the best.  Throw a gi over the bar or buy a gi grip and do work.  Holding a gi is completely different than holding a bar and puts a lot more stress on the hand and fingers.  Try holding it like a lapel, sleeve and other jiu jitsu grips that you will experience during a match.

3.  Climbing the Rope

Similar to the clock grip, the climbing rope puts the hands in the same position as grabbing your opponents wrist.  Doing rows, pulls ups, isometric holds or climbing the rope will develop massive strength in your grip, arms and back.  The thicker the rope, the harder it becomes.  I would buy a 1.5" and 2" climbing rope to challenge yourself in different ways.  You might be able to climb a 1.5" without a struggle, but the 2" rope is like grabbing someone forearm.  Much tougher!

There are a lot of other ways to challenge yourself during training, but these three pull up variations are a staple in our gym.  I think that they prepare an athlete better than traditional pull ups and transfer onto the mat perfectly.  Our athletes perform isometric holds, hows, pull ups and climbs using a variety of different grips so that they are prepared for whatever their opponent throws at them.

Give these exercises a try and let us know how it goes.