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BJJ Shrimping Guide: How To Shrimp & What to Avoid?

BJJ Shrimping Guide: How To Shrimp & What to Avoid?

Step by Step Guide: How to Shrimp in BJJ?

1. What is shrimping in BJJ?

Shrimping is considered a basic and essential exercise for the BJJ practitioner by using the hip, legs, shoulder movements and bridging movement. Whether you are a white belt or a black belt, shrimping moves are frequently used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


Shrimping is one of the few techniques that one might start to learn in the initial training of Jiu-Jitsu. It's not easy to perform but daily practice will definitely improve your skills, speed and execution instinct.

Shrimping BJJ is important and essential for learning escapes from bad positions. It is a vital part of BJJ moves for submission, sweeps mounting and managing distances to win your BJJ fight. From the start of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training, shrimping will remain a part of your warm-up routine.

2. History of BJJ Shrimping

BJJ shrimping exercise is extracted from Judo martial arts. Shrimping is translated from the Japanese word “Yoko Ebi”. Sometimes shrimping is also termed as snaking in BJJ.

Shrimping raises the lower body from the ground while snaking is meant to move the body without raising it from the ground. Both ways are correct depending on the choice and preferences of a BJJ practitioner. Lifting your hips while shifting your weight on both toes and performing the shrimping motion gives you more space to escape from the opponent's grip.

3. Why Learn Shrimping?

Most of the time when fighters learn to defend themselves from top. Learning and developing this strategy will help to read your opponent's game plan and in execution of your moves by gaining advantageous position. This approach will invariably increase your capacity to anticipate successful moves.

Shrimping workouts are also known as conditioned sparring. Its focus is to train for weak areas in which you remain at disadvantage, meaning you have targeted BJJ shrimping training for specific results.

4. Variations In Shrimping

It is clear that in shrimping you have to defend yourself when you are in a less advantageous position. The goal is to instantly switch your position and gain space to change the position to protect yourself from strangles and tapouts.

These are prominent types of shrimping:

4.1. Backward or Reverse Shrimping

Backward shrimping tends to shift the weight of the whole body to the shoulders and the toes. There are four steps of backward shrimping. 

  • You have to lie flat on the mat
  • Put your feet near your hips on the mat
  • Turn side by putting weight on one shoulder and toes
  • Move your hips backward by pushing the mat by your toes. Your body will create a 90° angle.

It is regarded as a tough BJJ shrimping move and you cannot see it in normal warm-up drills. The basic goal is to raise the hips from the ground to minimize friction and then transfer all the body weight to the shoulders and easily free yourself from the opponent's grip.

At the highest levels of grappling the reverse shrimping is very effective. It is mentioned in various research articles that in the black belt tournaments, the armbar is ranked second as most applied submission finishes. It may include many strategies for the attack but transition from mount is always threatening.

Follow the link below to learn the procedure of reverse shrimping.


4.2. Forward Shrimping


Forward shrimp is the opposite of backward shrimping. This shrimping variation can be applied in BJJ while executing spider guard and triangle choke. It is beneficial for some of the positional escapes.

The procedure of forward shrimping is to:

  1. Lie on the floor with your back and legs straight. Keep your hands up near your face
  2. Then curl to one side and crunch your shoulders towards your waist. Your weight is now on your feet and shoulders
  3. Now switch on your shoulder and pull your body towards your feet
  4. Relax your legs and apply the same steps on the other side

4.3. Sideways Shrimping

The sideways shrimping technique is applied in the offensive situation. It's the moment when you use your hips to gain an advantageous position . Sideways shrimping is helpful in executing arm-bar and scissor sweeps.

The steps of sideways shrimping is to:

  1. Initiate exercise from your side position. Keep your hands near your ears.
  2. Move your feet and shoulders back simultaneously to push yourself forward.
  3. Put all your body weight on your shoulders and feet and then move your hips backward.
  4. Repeat the procedure on the other side.

Two Legged Shrimp

Lay flat on the mat. Head is straight up. Legs are relaxed. Slightly turn on either side and bring both feet close to your hips. You have to keep your hips slightly above the ground. By pushing with your feet and putting weight on the shoulder, push back your hips. Hands straight. If you are pushing an imaginary opponent away. Switch sides and take your time to master this BJJ two legged shrimping move.

Single Leg Shrimp

The procedure is the same with just one slight change. While laying on the mat, you have to bring one foot up near the hip and the other foot will be straight. Now you are going to use hip escape but dragging the other foot and pacing on the foot that is already near the hip. Remember you have to turn away from the foot that is close to the hip.

Box Shrimping

It is basically the combination of forward, sideways and single/double legged shrimping. After learning all the above mentioned shrimping moves you can practice them together for achieving greater mobility and fluid movement. It is called box shrimping.

Bridge and Shrimp

Any shrimp move can be effective against novice BJJ practitioners but when you are fighting against a skilled opponent. You need to gain space for more effective and seamless transition. For this you have to straighten your legs and bridge up (creating space) and then shrimp.

Side Control Wall Shrimp

This method is pretty effective if you are trying to escape from the side mount which requires putting your opponent back in the mount position. So for practicing this position you need a wall. By lying adjacent to the wall ready to bridge, put both feet close to the hip. Try to touch your belly to the wall by doing extensive bridging.

By touching your belly to the wall, you have created a big space, now you have to shrimp your hips out. With space and shrimping you can move your legs towards the wall (opponent) and by using your knee you can put the opponent into your guard. You will need to have a good flexible body to perform this shrimp.

Inside the mount most people make the mistake of bridging up, If your opponent has side mounted on you, then bridging him up is of no use. You want him sideways, away from you, in order to put him into your guard.

Shrimp and Turn Out

This is an elite method of shrimping, as the name suggests it involves shrimping and turning. It is effective for escaping under your opponent. You have to start from the one-legged shrimping motion and instead of taking your flat leg backward with your hip motion, you need to put the flat leg under the knee of the bending leg and turn into the tripod position on your shoulder. Try this position on both sides.

5. Shrimping Improves Mobility

For BJJ athletes, effective shrimping improves the range of motion and assists in the elevation. Following hip movements are included in shrimping:

  • Regular hip escape
  • Double hip escape
  • Sitting hip escape
  • Forward sitting up hip escape
  • Forward hip escape
  • Shrimp out

6. Defensive Shrimping

The important key component in the success of BJJ athletes is the movement which helps to escape from the bad situation. Defensive shrimping procedures are applicable in two kinds of escapes:


While practicing BJJ you will realize that forward and backward shrimping is applicable in most of the BJJ techniques like knee on belly and S mount positions.

7. Offensive Shrimping

Offensive shrimping procedures are commonly practiced in guards: closed guards and half guards.

7.1. Spider Guard Triangle

 A BJJ practitioner raises his hip on foot to create space for offense and for initiating your moves.

7.2. Closed Guard Triangle

In a scissor motion you use shrimping to escape the hips to the side. It gives you enough room to change the angle and attack the opponent.

7.3. Half Guard Sweep

 It involves reverse shrimping technique to gain leverage.

8. Most Common BJJ Shrimping Mistakes


The three most common mistakes that BJJ practitioners do:

8.1. Turns to the same side

It's important that BJJ beginners master shrimping to get maximum support in grappling. You always move on the opposite side of your shrimping leg. Do not turn on the same side of your leg movement.

8.2. Staying flat on the ground

To attain maximum mobility, raise your hip and shift all your body weight to knees and shoulders. Do not stay flat on the ground.

8.3. Small Movements

These movements are useful when you make a 90 degree angle with your body otherwise they will consume lots of energy.

9. Conclusion

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an accumulation of elite grappling, choking and strangling moves. It is focused on the natural structure of bones. Both fighters have the knowledge of these essential fundamentals of BJJ. But in the bout only those practitioners win who have practiced not only all the moves but have a defense mechanism against every move. BJJ shrimping moves provide a wide range of escaping options and if applied on the right time with the right technique, it can turn your disadvantageous position into a more advantageous position.

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