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In the Hole Training

At times you have to push yourself far beyond your limits to make truly impressive gains. That is why I put myself through an In-the-Hole session before competition.

This style of training requires several partners and a few simple instructions. While I did this specifically for BJJ, it can be used for many other sports with minor adjustments

The format for BJJ specifically is:

  • Four by five minute rounds of high intensity grappling by one athlete
  • Strictly no more than 1 minute rest between rounds
  • A fresh partner every minute during rounds (need at least three partners), or after a submission
  • Partners push the pace as hard as they can but are not aiming to pin down and trap
  • Incoming partners choose the dominant position to start in as they approach
  • The athlete in the hole must always be active, no stalling

This relies on the training partners being alert. If it takes more than a few seconds to switch out partners then the athlete in the hole gets too much of a rest. This is training hell but it will test your ability and stamina to breaking, which is where we must rely on technique over everything else. The idea is to be physically drained to the point that strength fails us. To be emotionally drained so much we want to give up. Fighting through both of these limits will improve you as an athlete and as a person.

You should not do this more than once a month, but twice a year is a good goal. Partners can be of any skill level but should be a good mix. I had a few partners below my skill level, some at my level and some beyond my level.

My coach was always beside me shouting advice, keeping me motivated and encouraging me between rounds. Having this support is crucial to pushing far beyond your limits.

Before attempting this speak with your coach and ensure you are as injury free as you will be at competition. Never do this within a few weeks of comp, the absolute latest you should do this is four weeks prior to the competition. Any sooner and you may risk your performance. This also limits any impact of potential injuries from the in-the-hole session.

Below are videos of one of my sessions to get a feel of what should be done. Hit the comments with any questions.

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© AJ Watson