Last month’s Fenomenal Woman winner Kristine Felts did such a great job of responding to our interview questions we asked her to be a guest writer on our blog. In this post, Kristine shares some helpful tips on how to supplement your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training in a way that would make Martha Stewart proud. 

Take it away Kristine…!

I do some funny things to help work out since I can’t train as much as I want, (my spouse would get seriously cranky if I stole his mat time.) Since I am a stay at home mom here are some of the little things I do to help out on the mat.


Shooting with Toddlers (It doesn’t involve any guns though)

What you need:

  • a toddler under 35lbs
  • an area where you can take at least 8 big steps in a straight line without running into anything

I let the toddler sit on my shoulders like I would do at a pool for water wrestling. Now with my toddler secured to my shoulders I am going to start the basic shooting drill. Get down on my knees, bring up my strongest leg to start with. My strong leg’s foot should be flat on the ground and I am in a kneeling position.  I take that strong leg and move it forward about an inch or two (as you get better at this drill you can extend your reach even farther)

Now I am going to move forward, keeping my hands up and holding onto my child’s legs. This will not be a slow motion movement, but it doesn’t have to be super fast to start. If you are losing your balance in the middle of doing this sequence you are either going too slow or the child on your neck has decided to bail out on you.Using my back base leg and foot, I am going push from the floor and with  my stretched out strong leg pull my weight forward.  Strong leg’s knee is going to go forward without moving the foot til the knee touches the ground in front of you. You will be dragging the other leg behind you, please be careful. If you are lazy and literally drag your foot across the carpet, you will get carpet burn. Your foot should be above the carpet or mat by a few centimeters. Your hips should be above your knee and the other leg is going to take the kneeling position of your strong leg had at the beginning. Now I repeat the above steps but with the other leg in front. Don’t switch legs or interrupt the sequence.

Repeat this sequence until you reach the other side of your area. Some of you may ask, “Why am I doing this with a toddler on my shoulder’s?” Well for one thing it will keep your back straight. This will build core muscles and help you keep your balance, (nothing beats a 30lbs wiggle worm.) Now when you go to class and do shooting drills, it will seem like a cake walk. I would do this drill up and down about three times.

Toddler Kettle Bells

What you need:

  • a toddler under 35lbs
  • a jiu-jitsu belt for an adult or a child

I like to tie my belt around my daughter in a normal fashion (MAKE SURE IT’S SECURE!!!). Then I proceed with the toddler kettle-bell routine. I grab the belt right next to the knot, also making sure I have a hold of the loose ends, and pick her up to my chest. A hand is on each side of the belt. I do about 10 of these and then move onto the next movement.

I spread my legs and have her lay down underneath me flat on her back. Her head is on the same side as mine, (facing forward) and I swing/lift her over my head. Set her down gently and repeat 10 times. Make sure you check ceiling clearance; you don’t want to hit the toddler’s head on the ceiling or on a ceiling fan. Good luck explaining that one to the folks at the ER. I like to do this 4 sets of ten; so that’s about 40 in all.

I do a few other things but trying to explain them would be crazy so I say just get creative. My toddler loves this and thinks it’s the funniest game in the world, but now that she is starting to break about 30lb I don’t think we will be able to keep it up, I’ll let you know.

Laundry Pull

What you need:

  • a child (any size will do, but the bigger the harder it gets)
  • a laundry basket
  • a long rope
  • an area like a hallway, something with a lot of length
  • 10 or 15 dumbbell or weight plate (for you strong ladies out there)

Attach the rope to the end of the laundry basket (attach to the end that is the longest length.) Tie knots in the rope every few feet to help you for when your going to pull. Make sure that the rope is not too thin, I prefer a rope that is ½ an inch thick or greater. Make sure your rope is long enough with the knots to run the entire length of the hallway like area. I like to make sure I can get at least 8-10 good pulls on each set. Put the laundry basket at one end of the hallway like area and place your toddler or dumbbells in the basket. Sit down at the other end of the hallway area with the other end of the rope. You can either place your feet straight out in front of you or do a wide v stretch

position, (I prefer the wide V position.) Now you’re going to pull the basket to you with the weight and/or toddler inside. Do this as fast as you can without turning over your child. Once the basket reaches you have the toddler get out and take the basket back or if your toddler is too young or your just doing weights, simply turn basket around and walk to the end of area and repeat. I do this at least 10 times. You can even increase your weight as you get better. If you have a toddler in the basket I prefer to use the plates and I take a large fluffy towel and place it over the metal plates to keep my toddler from getting injured.


Wring out the Wash

What you need:

  • wet towels or gi’s
  • a bathtub or sink
  • hands

The first one helps your grip and it’s also very green. After I wash my towels I take them out of the washer before it hits the spin cycle and transfer them to the tub or shower, (whichever has the least amount of bath toys) and I hand wring them out. Start out only doing one or two, it can be brutal on your hands the first couple of weeks and you don’t want a tub full of wet towels that you can’t finish wringing out (try explaining that one to the spouse and see what their reaction is.) I can do a full load now and my grip is getting super strong.

Gi Pull-ups

What you need:

  • a gi or a towel
  • a pull-up bar (preferred one mounted into a ceiling or on a wall)

Just loop the towel or gi over the pull up bar and grab onto each sides as high as you can reach. No jumping please. Start lifting your self off the ground as high as you can. Do as many as you can for three sets. Each time you do this try to improve the number by at least by 1 on the first set. This will improve you arm muscles as well as your grip.

Wall Squats

What you need:

  • an exercise ball (any size will work)
  • a wall cleared of all decorations and furniture

Put your back to the wall looking out to the rest of the room. Now place the ball between your lower back and the wall. Lean into the ball about 10% of your weight. I want just enough pressure to keep the ball in full contact with your body but not a lot to where if the ball were to suddenly disappear you would fall. Place your feet shoulder width apart. Knees are going to bend out not into the middle. You are going to squat down till you are in a position to sit perfectly in a chair, no lower and no higher. Hold this position for 5 sec and repeat till you get to 10. I like to do this for 4 sets, so you get a total of squats.

If you want to up the ante, because this is just way too easy for you try doing it on one leg. Make sure you are perfectly balanced over your one foot/leg. You may also need to increase the amount of pressure you are placing on the ball; but no more then 20%, (because then you are just cheating ><.)

Disclaimer: Kristine and Fenom Kimonos will not responsible for any injuries resulting from Toddler workouts being performed with pre-teens or husbands. Please be careful 🙂

If you would like to share some Women’s BJJ training tips leave us a comment and we’ll be in touch.