training for choking (squeezing) strength?


Brown Belt
Apr 13, 2004
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i was thinking about ways to train for squeezing strength, because it seems like an extremely useful thing to a bjj practicioner, which i am. it couldnt hurt to have more crushing/squeezing power in your arms and upperbody when trying to slap on a guillotine, 1/2 guillotine, various arm triangles, etc. so what are some of your ideas on how to train for this? i was thinking any type of bearhug sandbag holds would be good - squatting it, walking with it, etc. also, maybe just squeezing it as hard as you can with good choking technique for timed intervals. any more ideas?
Try a Bachar Ladder; we used to train on one every session when I was rock climbing. It will help build arm and core strength and will help you keep your chokes "locked" and harder for the other person to escape.

A Bachar Ladder is made of static rope with wood (pvc, metal, etc) rungs. The ladder is attached at the top and bottom with a single anchor in each location. It makes the whole thing a little unstable and helps with core muscle strength as well as your arms and back.


You have to be careful and controlled or you can damage your elbows and shoulders. You start off by gripping the rungs of the ladder and pressing with your low hand and pulling up with the top hand. Once your bicep is flexed you "lock it off" and reach your bottom hand up to the next highest rung. You continue up to the top of the ladder and then work your way back down. To lower yourself you hang straight-armed from the top rung and reach your other hand to the next lower rung, pull yourself into it so that your bicep is flexed, "lock it off" and let go with your top hand. Then slowly lower your body in a controlled manner until your arm is straight...rinse and repeat. It's tough to get started and there will be some time spent just getting comfortable with the movements but you should start to see huge gains in other areas as a result of doing laps on the ladder.
I use a leather medicine ball and practice choking that. It gives way more resistance than any person ever will...
fuck that ladder shit, go climb a thick rope.
:icon_lol: Try it some time, work it in along with your rope work. Hell, we used to do our laps on the ladder along with our interval pull ups before, during and after our climbing sessions.
Urban said:
fuck that ladder shit, go climb a thick rope.

Where did you get your thick rope? I can only find 3/4" thick ones at Home Depot.
Bwa-haha, gotta love Urban's classic responses...they never get old! :icon_surp
I was taught by Mark Lamion to use your knee. Sit on the floor with one knee up into your chest. Wrap your arm so the inside of the elbow is tight into the front of your knee. Apply the rear naked choke to your knee and squeeze as hard as you can for 10-15 secs. Do this 3 times. It's quite hard work and will improve you're choking ability! Works for me and I'm guess at lot of the MMA guys that go to Mark for training.
The knee works also, just work out your biceps, that's where most of your choking power comes from.
thanks everyone. i never heard of squeezing your knee, ill try it now and see how many wierd looks i get from my co-workers.
Will it also work if instead of using a knee, to use your spouse?
just make sure you release your grip and revive her every 30 seconds or so.
got my rope at OSH (orchard garden and harware). It's only 1.5" thick, but it works. I was looking for a 2" rope, but it would appear those are only available via the internet and some marine stores.
Urban said:
fuck that ladder shit, go climb a thick rope.

that ladder looks pretty badass to me, seems like it would be harder than a rope.
The rope is pretty fucking hard.....

I need to warm up quite a lot before I can even start climbing.
I asked my teacher how to train for chokes. He told me a neat little technique using your gi.

Take the and fold it in half down the middle then fold it from top to bottom like you would a letter. You'll have a balled up gi now. Then take your belt and fold it in half and lay it on the ground. Now put the balled up gi right in the middle. Finally cross the belt on top of the gi (fold the left side of your belt across the top of the gi to the right and fold the right side of the belt to the left).

Now you can grap the belt behind the balled up gi and practice chokes.

Sorry if I did a bad job explaining that, it's hard to explain without a picture.