There are days that I just don’t feel like rolling. I wake up sore, don’t feel great, and am simply not interested in putting in work. When I am preparing for a competition, I find that it is important to push myself even on days when rolling isn’t something I am interested in doing, and on those days I need to change how I roll in order to benefit from it.
For starters, there are positional rolls. I start in a specific position and situation in order to better myself from there. If one part of me is sore, I may chose a position or situation that doesn’t put strain on that part of me. By doing this, I can develop a particular aspect of my game that may otherwise get neglected.
Flow rolls are a great way to get some training in when I don’t feel like exerting myself. A good flow roll won’t even make me break much of a sweat or get out of breath. This is heavily reliant upon having a training partner that understands how to flow. I personally like flow rolling with people of similar build and skill level to me as we are able to understand each other’s movements and allow each other to execute movements fluidly.
There are days my reason for not really wanting to train is mental, and on those days I occasionally find that hard rolls are exactly what the doctor ordered. When I want to roll hard I find someone who likes to roll hard or someone substantially bigger and stronger than me. Not everyone likes a hard roll, so be courteous and make sure that your training partner is ready to go nuts with you. These sorts of rolls can be cathartic but they can also be risky.
Like flow rolls, slow rolls are a good method to really explore jiu jitsu. The key difference is that you can be heavy and stop the other person; however your movements should be extremely slow and deliberate. This gives people time to think their way out of bad situations. This can be a good method if you have stiff or strained muscles on a given day.
There are other methods like S Training which was outlined in this article S-Training: The Safe and Technical Way to Roll with Larger and Smaller Training Partners and jiu jitsu “chess” which is a turn based methodology. There are probably dozens of other methods out there.
What are some creative rolling methods that you have come up with to break up the monotony or to allow you to roll regardless of your mental or physical state?