In the BJJ world, it is often taught that technique trumps strength. True, technique is the most important aspect of your BJJ performance. But what happens when you combine your technical skills with newfound strength? I can tell you right now. You turn into an absolute monster dominating the mats.
So, it’s time to kit out your garage or shed with essential BJJ workout equipment that will compliment your BJJ training on the mats. I'm going to split this list into the absolute essential pieces of workout equipment you need to become a BJJ phenom and a "must-have" list for when your budget allows you to get an even greater transfer to the mats.
This list could be expanded to include many other pieces of equipment but I want to give you the bare minimum to make drastic gains to save you money and hyper-focus your efforts to get strong and conditioned.
BJJ Workout Equipment Essentials
This is where the bulk of your money will be spent. It is of utmost importance that you pick the highest quality equipment in this category as you will never need to replace it putting money back into your pocket.
Barbell: Rogue Ohio Bar 2.0
Buying a barbell for your BJJ workout equipment collection can be confusing. With so many barbells on the market, some are better suited than others for different activities. The rule to follow is, “buy nice, don’t buy twice.”
There is nothing worse than buying a cheap barbell. You will regret it instantly and it will hold your development back. So, this is the barbell I recommend. The Rogue Ohio Bar 2.0. So why this bar and not any of the other models?
The Rogue Ohio 2.0 is a hybrid barbell that will give you the ability to perform heavy Powerlifts and dabble in Olympic Weightlifting if you decide to. Other bars can pigeonhole you into only being able to perform the power lifts.
The difference being Weightlifting bars are slightly skinnier and have more whip (or bend). Powerlifting bars are stiff, slightly thicker, and the sleeves don’t rotate which can wreck your wrists if you’re doing any Olympic Weightlifting.
The Rogue Ohio 2.0 is in-between. It has some whip and is skinnier than a Powerlifting bar but thicker than a Weightlifting bar. The sleeves are bushing and not bearing which means rotation will be limited but if you get more serious into the Olympic lifts, you’ll need to purchase a proper Weightlifting bar anyway.
Since you are a BJJ practitioner, you won't need to worry about that. It also has a lifetime warranty against bending so when you become a beast from running my Dominate The Mats program for BJJ, you're covered.
Rogue Ohio Bar 2.0
Squat Stand With Pull-Up Bar: SML-2 Rogue Monster Lite Squat Stands
Home gyms can be limited by space. That is why I recommend squat stands over a power rack. But to make your purchase more versatile, the SML-2 Rogue Monster Lite Squat Stands come with a pull-up bar.
I would recommend selecting the fat pull-up bar as it comes with both a skinny and fat option. The fat option will smoke your grip and make your wrist control unbreakable. When it comes to squat stands and racks, you need to buy quality. Flimsy stands from Walmart will not only limit the loads you can lift but are potentially dangerous.
This Rogue Monster Lite Squat Stand will last you a lifetime. It literally takes less than an hour to set up with a couple of wrenches and is capable of holding 1000+ lbs. Just make sure your roof is high enough as this is 92” high.
If you have the budget, I would highly recommend adding the Safety Spotter Arms as this will allow you to perform my favorite strength exercises which are squats and presses off the pins for raw strength development.
SML-2 Rogue Monster Lite Squat Stands
Bumper Plates: Rogue Echo V2
Why bumper plates over metal plates? Firstly, bumper plates give you the versatility to perform the Olympic lifts if you want to whereas metal plates don’t. Secondly, it is generally not worth buying metal plates brand new. It is better to search online marketplaces for cheap second-hand metal plates.
These Rogue Echo V2 bumper plates are a good balance between quality and price. Because you’re not a competitive lifter, you don’t need IWF certified and calibrated bumper plates which are four times the price.
But you also don’t want to buy other versions that are very thick. You don’t want thick bumper plates as you’ll struggle to load much more than 365 lbs. This is a good compromise. All you need is one pair of 45 lbs, 35 lbs, and 25 lbs. The rest of the weight can be made up of change plates where you can get a 37.5 lb set.
If you are a stronger individual, two pairs of 45 lbs are a good option, or finding cheap metal plates for extra weight.
Rogue Echo V2 Bumper Plates
That is the three pieces of your essential jiu-jitsu workout equipment. If you have these, you don’t need anything else to get your supplemental BJJ training at home. If you have the budget, I've got some extra "must-haves" that can level up your BJJ workout equipment stack.
BJJ Workout Equipment “Must Haves”
These pieces of BJJ workout equipment are not essential. But having these will provide you with more variety in your workouts and allow you to get greater transfer to the mats.
BJJ Mat: BalanceFrom Puzzle Mat
These are epic! I’ve rolled and trained on puzzle mats just like these and they do the trick. I recommend the one-inch-thick mats as anything thinner won’t provide the same protection. Being puzzle mats, you can easily take them apart and store them in a small space.
Just pull the car out of the garage and place the mats down. They are made from high-density foam and will last you a very long time. The reason I’ve included mats isn’t to start rolling at home (although that is also an option), but it is to be able to perform your specific BJJ conditioning.
This will consist of various BJJ techniques and solo drills instead of sitting on a bike. You can even use these for yoga if you participate. For this, you only need 6 tiles which is the 24 square feet option.
If you are planning to have your buddies around for a roll, then get the 72 square feet option as it is more than enough space to roll. 4 x 4 tiles are what I’ve used and it was plenty. These mats are all you need to level up your fitness.
Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0
You may have wondered why I didn’t add a bench to my essential jiu-jitsu workout equipment list. Because you can get all the important training done with overhead presses and various push-up variations. And if you want to do some horizontal barbell pressing, you can use the floor press.
As you have the budget, the Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0 is your best bang for your buck. Don’t go with a flat bench. An adjustable bench is far more versatile allowing you to incline press and chest supported row which you can’t do with a flat bench.
Rogue benches are damn sturdy. I’ve used many different benches and these are some of the best I have used. This thing weighs 125 lbs so you won’t have any problems with the bench rocking either side while you are lifting or feeling unstable.
If you get this Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0, don’t sleep on the fat bench press off the pins!
Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0
Iron Neck Pro
I love my Iron Neck. As a grappler, your neck can take more punishment than the average person. The thing I hate the most? Rolling with someone that squeezes your neck from a position they can’t even get a submission and you hear your neck click.
The following day you can barely turn your head left or right. Yea. BJJ and neck pain go hand in hand.
I’ve tried neck devices like the Neck Hammock but nothing has given my neck instant relief than the Iron Neck. It is the only neck training device that allows you to train your neck in all 360° angles.
The Iron Neck Pro is the most versatile out of all of the models as you don’t only have band tension, but you can vary the friction dial to create rotational tension so while you hold an isometric neck contraction from the band, you can challenge the strength of your neck to turn left or right.
I’ve done a full model breakdown which can help you with identifying the differences between models.
Use code "JDLACEY10" for 10% OFF any Iron Neck order
There are two essential exercises that I use religiously to build neck strength and maintain a healthy neck. And that is the 360° spin and the Left & Right.
Both of these make my neck feel amazing. If you’re ready to level up your neck training, the Iron Neck is a "must-have" on your BJJ workout equipment list.
Iron Neck Pro
Instead of purchasing another barbell that is thick, you can spend $30 and turn your regular barbell into a fat bar. This is what I’ve done for a decade and I use Fat Gripz in almost every training session. Fat Gripz curls, deadlifts, power cleans, presses, you name it.
I want a grip that can crush bones! These things last forever. I've been using mine for a decade. They've traveled around the world with me from job to job and they show no signs of wear and tear.
This is one of the best investments you’ll make when working out for jiu-jitsu. We know how important grip strength is. You’ve experienced it yourself on the mat. That guy you dread to roll with because you can’t break his grips.
That can be you. Fat Gripz comes in three sizes. I've done a very detailed breakdown of which Fat Gripz you should buy based on your hand size. The original blue Fat Gripz are usually best for most people.
BJJ Gi Top
Because you have your pull-up bar attached to your squat stands, you can get some specific grip work by performing Gi pull-ups. I recommend not using your normal training Gi. The last thing you want to do is shorten the life of your Gi. Especially if it is an expensive one.
So, a cheap BJJ Gi is your best option. Elite Sports does the cheapest I’ve found. I own one and the quality is pretty good for the price. If you are going to wear it, the problem is the top runs a little small. I’m usually an A3 but the top fits too small where I can’t even bring my arms across my body.
But the idea is that you’re not buying this to wear. Just to grip to perform pull-ups and even curls by wrapping it around other weighted implements.
Elite Sports Essential Ultra Light Gi
IronMind Tough As Nails Sandbag
I’m a huge fan of heavy sandbag training for BJJ. I used to own this exact sandbag when I was living overseas and it is the highest quality sandbag I’ve ever used. There’s a reason they are used in the World’s Strongest Man competition.
I had mine filled only about 1/6th full of sand and it weighed approximately 90 kg. It was damn heavy to carry. This sandbag will last you a lifetime and can be loaded to weights you’ll probably never need. This is what makes it such a great purchase.
You don’t have to use sand either. You can use any other filling you like and the rest of the space can be filled with cloth so it’s like one big bag.
Rogue Loadable Dumbbells
You've got all of your bases covered with the barbell. But having dumbbells is a nice addition as you can perform single-arm exercises. Before trying to figure out which size dumbbells to get, I have a better solution.
That is the Rogue Loadable Dumbbell Handles. These are all you need and are huge space savers. Find more change plates on an online marketplace and you’re ready to go. Get the 15 lb handles with the 6.75” sleeve as you’ll be able to fit more plates.
These are super high quality and even have a lifetime warranty. Just be aware that they are sold separately and not in pairs so you will need to buy two handles.
Rogue Loadable Dumbbells
Some of this BJJ workout equipment can be expensive. But if you stick to the essentials you'll only need to buy once in your entire life which puts money back into your pocket in the long run. One trick is to search through the Rogue Fitness Bone Yard. The boneyard is equipment that doesn't meet their perfect standards.
The barbell could literally have a tiny scratch on the knurling and you'll get it at a fraction of the price in the boneyard so always look for deals there first before purchasing.