What Is a Grappling Dummy?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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A grappling dummy is a tool that people use to practice various wrestling techniques from martial arts and sports. These are usually made to be heavy enough to feel somewhat realistic, and most of them have movable joints or at least bendable limbs. In theory, a grappling dummy will allow a wrestler to work on his technique and conditioning without having to rely on a training partner, which means the person might be able to work out more often. Experts say they can be especially helpful in providing a way to train in the home, which can be a problem for grappling-based martial arts since it’s often very hard to do any basic training without the help of a partner.

It is possible to buy a grappling dummy from most major martial arts supply companies, and they come in many different styles. Some have very realistic joints that even provide resistance with springs or bands, while others are more basic, only offering a roughly human shape and wire-like bendable joints. Generally speaking, these dummies are designed for durability so that they can withstand a fairly significant workout without being easily broken.


It’s not unusual for a grappling dummy to be somewhat expensive, and some people would rather make their own than pay for one. There are many popular design patterns available on the Internet that show exactly how to build a grappling dummy out of items a person could buy at a hardware store. Plastic piping, duct tape, and foam padding are common items used in these constructions, and supposedly, the dummies aren’t all that difficult to build.

When people purchase a grappling dummy, weight is often considered a significant issue. In most cases, the dummies aren’t made to be quite as heavy as a person of equivalent size, and there are a lot of reasons for this. One of the biggest issues is the fact that a grappling dummy is essentially a dead weight, which makes it harder to maneuver. Lessening the weight to about half or one-third the weight of an equivalently-sized person can make the experience a little closer to reality. Even so, some grappling dummies are designed to be much closer to the weight of a person, and certain practitioners prefer this.

Experts suggest that using a grappling dummy can be very helpful in many aspects of training. People are able to train their techniques to a higher level of precision because they have as much time as they need to work on things in their home. Working out with grappling dummies is also generally considered a good form of exercise, particularly when it comes to building physical attributes for grappling competitions.


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