Best Grappling Dummies

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

12 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
72 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best grappling dummies

Last Updated October 2019

Martial artists, especially those who practice grappling, take pride in refining their techniques. They invest hours in targeted training sessions to master holds and moves, especially if they’re training for mixed martial arts, jujitsu, or wrestling competitions. If you’re a martial artist training to get a leg up on your competition, buying a grappling dummy is a smart investment.

Grappling dummies serve as lightweight yet lifelike training partners. Some come filled and others require filling, but they’re all soft and flexible enough for you to experiment with different moves and holds. And they’re not just for adults: there are also some designed for young martial artists. Overall, there are many sizes and fillers available so that all ages and levels can train with a grappling dummy.

Amateurs and professional competitors alike can benefit from incorporating a grappling dummy into their training regimen. If you’re ready to tag a training partner, we have a buying guide on grappling dummies to help you choose the right one, and a few recommendations to get you started.

With a grappling dummy, you can bring your studio or dojo practice home and work on the new techniques you learned. You won’t have to wait to work with a partner in class, and you’ll be able to refine your moves at your own pace.

Key considerations

Filling

  • Filled: You’ll find grappling dummies that come already filled at the high end of the price range. These are geared toward studio use and for serious martial arts competitors. Their design and overall shape are more anatomically accurate to provide a realistic training experience. The filling can be sand, pellets, or a combination of both with weights. They’re filled in a way that provides a greater level of resistance to mimic an opponent fighting back.

  • Unfilled: The majority of grappling dummies available for home use come unfilled. It keeps the price down, and it lets you have control over the type and weight of the filling. Thanks to their versatility, these are ideal for martial artists of all levels, including professionals. They provide lightweight training, especially when filled with cotton, so these grappling dummies offer less resistance than filled models.

Size

  • Height: Grappling dummies are available in at least three heights (or lengths) in most models. To select the right size, simply choose the one closest to your height. Some companies establish a height range that includes models suited for youth competitors, but for the most part, youth models are in a separate category.

  • Weight: Some companies have a size range based on weight instead of height. For fillable models, this means you choose a dummy based on your own weight. When it comes to filled models, you’ll need to determine whether the weight of the grappling dummy is correct for your training needs.

Flexibility

One thing all grappling dummies have in common is flexibility. The goal of the dummy is to mimic the resistance and natural range of motion of an opponent. They generally have a firm torso and flexion in all major joints, including hips, knees, arms, and elbows. Certain models have flexible wrist and ankle joints as well.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Keep a grappling dummy away from pets that could confuse it with a toy. Sharp teeth could puncture the material, leaving you with a room full of stuffing.

Grappling dummy features

Colors

The vast majority of grappling dummies come in black, though there are some available in other colors. Some dummies have pops of color to distinguish target areas, such as the face or major muscle groups. Color accents are also utilized to designate front from back, especially since many grappling dummies are virtually the same on both sides.

Exterior

Grappling dummies are typically made of materials with good tensile strength, such as canvas, synthetic blends, or leather.

  • Canvas models have a rougher surface, and since they’re not smooth like other materials, you can get a firm grip on one without sliding around the dummy.

  • Synthetic blends, which include nylon and vinyl, are the most popular. They’re usually made of one thick layer or a couple reinforced layers to hold up against pulling and tension. These surfaces can get slick or sticky if you sweat while using the dummy.

  • Leather grappling dummies are the highest quality, and their feel and overall pliability are the most realistic.

Filling

  • Filled: For filled grappling dummies, heavier materials like sand, pellets, or weights are most common. These dummies can also feature a combination of materials to provide maximum flexibility.

  • Unfilled: When it comes to unfilled models, the filling is entirely up to you, but it’s important to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations for maximum weight and fill type. Cotton and polyester stuffing are ideal if you want a lightweight grappling dummy. If you want a heavier one, aim for an unfilled model that’s designed to accommodate sand or pellets. Above all, when you’re filling a grappling dummy, avoid any sharp materials that could puncture the surface.

Accessories

  • Mat: If you have the space, pick up a large fitness mat for your grappling practice. It serves as a cushion over a hardwood floor and helps prevent chafing from carpet.

  • Athletic tape: Approach each practice session as if it’s a competition and use athletic tape during training the same as you would in a fight or tournament. You’ll have the support you need to avoid unnecessary training injuries.

Grappling dummy prices

Grappling dummies cost between $30 and $350.

Inexpensive: At the low end of the range, between $30 and $100, you’ll find unfilled models that are usually made of canvas. They’re on the smaller side and usually used for youth or petite individuals.

Mid-range: Grappling dummies priced between $100 and $200 are for use by adults and are made with quality synthetic materials. Some come filled, while unfilled models can be filled to weigh more than less expensive dummies. Given their material, they’re also the easiest to clean and maintain.

Expensive: High-end grappling dummies, the kind used in professional studios and competitive training situations, cost between $200 and $350. These are made with leather or exceedingly high-quality vinyl. They come filled and are available in weights that are comparable to the average human.

EXPERT TIP

If you want to practice striking the head or want a focal point during training, opt for a grappling dummy with a facial target.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Store your grappling dummy where it won’t be ripped or torn. Instead of shoving it in a closet or behind furniture, you can place it on top of a tall dresser, behind a door, or in a corner of a room.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Practice barefoot. Use your grappling dummy when you’re barefoot or wearing socks, because regular footwear could tear the material. 

  • Give a grappling dummy to a martial artist. If you’re looking for a unique gift for a martial artist, a grappling dummy is an affordable item they’ll use often.

  • Purchase dummies for a training studio. If you’re a studio owner, invest in a set of grappling dummies for practicing more advanced techniques that must be refined before being safely practiced with a partner.

  • Change the filling. Cotton or poly filling can get matted after prolonged use, so if you notice slack in some parts of the dummy, change the stuffing.

Other products we considered

We like the unique design of the Jayefo Daredevil MMA BJJ Training Dummy. This vegan leather model comes unfilled for you to add filling to the weight of your choice, up to 90 or 120 pounds, depending on the size dummy you buy. It has lifelike joints at the wrists and ankles. The zippers are completely covered, so you don’t need to worry about getting injured while you practice. Best of all, Jayefo has 24/7 customer service, and users report excellent, responsive assistance from the company. If your children are into martial arts, the Jayefo Tomie 6.1 Kids MMA Grappling Dummy is essential. This budget-friendly investment comes in five colors and can be filled up to 80 pounds. The movable arms and legs are easy to manipulate and, when filled properly, provide ideal resistance for training. The dummy is made of canvas, so it’s easy to get a grip without slippery fabric pulling you out of position. This dummy is also popular with young wrestling fans who like to role-play as their favorite competitors.

A grappling dummy is ideal for a martial artist who is rehabilitating from an injury. They can fill it with soft, lightweight stuffing and practice at their own pace.

FAQ

Q. Can I get an adult grappling dummy instead of a youth one for my child?

A. It depends on your child’s size. If the grappling dummy is too tall, it could compromise technique because your child won’t be able to execute holds with an opponent of their size or weight class. On the other hand, if you want to integrate an adult dummy into training for a challenge, it’s a great addition for real-life applications and to see how the same hold translates to individuals of different sizes.

Q. How do I clean my grappling dummy?

A. Vinyl and leather grappling dummies can be wiped down after training sessions. Canvas models require a bit more maintenance. You can do basic spot cleaning on canvas, though if you want a deeper clean, you might have to hand-wash and air-dry it. Avoid washing the dummy in hot water to prevent shrinking. Keep in mind that if you wash canvas, especially if it’s a darker color, some detergents could cause the color to fade.

Q. Why is the grappling dummy only a fraction of the weight of me or my opponent?

A. Grappling dummies are for light individual practice. They let you train and experiment with new techniques instead of weighing you down with another obstacle. They’re also anatomically exaggerated to accommodate people of all shapes, so more than anything, the size and weight of the dummy are intended to be average. If you’d like a heavier dummy for more realistic practice, defer to the manufacturer for the maximum weight and recommended fill.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Sian
    Sian
    Writer

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