Best BJJ Guard Types For Long Legs Every Tall Guy Must Know

Being tall and having long limbs is often considered to be a good thing in most sports, and it is.

But when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu, athletes with long limbs need to find out which BJJ guard type is the best for long legs. Otherwise is challenging to make the most out of their height advantage. 

You might feel that your long legs are not adding to your game as much as they could if you are a tall guy.

Despite the mechanical advantage, your opponents find it relatively easy to pass your guard. There are problems with your execution, or maybe you think you are not skilled enough yet.

Keep reading to discover the best BJJ guard for long legs; every tall grappler should know and drill.

Are Long Legs Good For Jiu-Jitsu? – BJJ Guard Types

Best-BJJ Guards For Long Legs

Long legs can be a fantastic tool to add to your Jiu-Jitsu game. It might be easier for lanky guys to retain their guard. 

If you work on your hip flexibility and leg pummeling drills, your training partners will have difficulty passing your guard. Also, you’ll find triangle chokes everywhere. 

If you play the guard to your advantage, a spider guard in the gi will help you stretch your opponent and eventually sweep them. Similarly, the closed guard can help you in locking your opponent firmly.

Although, if you are tall, it can be challenging to pass your opponent’s half-guard. Long legs mean more room for your legs to get tangled with your opponent’s legs. 

TakeDowns From Smaller Opponents

Another problem arrives when a smaller opponent tries to take you down. Because your center of gravity is way higher than shorter people, it’s easier for short guys to shoot and land double legs or ankle picks.  

So if you are on your feet, be careful, especially if you are wrestling or rolling no-gi. Fight your grips and keep your hips in a lower position

As you can see, there are both advantages and disadvantages to having long legs. It’s all about how clever you are in leveraging your natural gifts. 

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Tips To Find The Best BJJ Guard For You – Tall Guy Jiu-Jitsu

When you start in Jiu-Jitsu, you’ll gravitate towards certain positions that match well with your body. Selecting your favorite guard position will be one of the first things that you do. 

However, if you’re a new white belt, try to get exposure to as many guard types as you can once you get the fundamentals of BJJ. You can’t decide where you’re most comfortable if you don’t give several guard positions a try.

Since this article is about tall BJJ practitioners, let’s take a look at a few tips on how you can pick out the best guard for yourself.


Sounds pretty simple, no? Find guys that have a similar stature to yours. See how they play guard, and try to imitate their moves. 

Don’t be afraid to break down their technical details, ask questions, and then try to use the same strategy that they are employing with your own twist.

Of course, this approach is not limited to your specific gym only. Search the internet, go on YouTube, study fights, buy tutorials. 

There are numerous tall athletes that you can learn from, such as: 

  • Keenan Cornelius
  • Tanner Rice 
  • Braulio Estima
  • Roger Gracie


Tall guys have a wide range of options at their disposal: 

  • Butterfly Guard
  • De La Riva Guard
  • Spider Guard
  • Closed Guard
  • Lasso Guard
  • X-Guard

Try experimenting with one guard type at a time and see what works best for you. When you have narrowed down your options, move on to the next step.

A great way to give every guard a fair shot is rolling with that specific guard in mind. Next time you’re at the gym, try sparring a full round only with a spider guard or lasso.

Drill Until It Feels Like Breathing 

Repetition is key to finding out the perfect guard for you. After you have finalized a few guards, practice on them. 

Don’t forget to drill your moves every day. Like every technique in BJJ, you can only reach mastery of a technique if you put in hours repeating the same motion over and over on the mat.

Something that will definitely help you master the mechanics of almost every BJJ movement alone is drilling with a BJJ dummy.

Best BJJ Guard Types For Long Legs Every Tall Guy Must Know 3Best BJJ Guard Types For Long Legs Every Tall Guy Must Know 4

BJJ dummies are affordable, but normally they are sold empty online. But that’s not a deal breaker as you can fill them easily. You can get a wrestling dummy here.

Just in case, here’s a video on how to fill your BJJ dummy.

Is Playing Jiu-Jitsu Guard Harder For Tall People?

Playing a Jiu-Jitsu guard is not hard for tall people. With longer limbs comes longer leverage. This is a massive advantage for tall practitioners. Mainly because longer limbs give you longer levers and longer levers mean more force is available to you with significantly less effort. 

Someone who is lanky will have the ability to create significant distance when passing a guard. Similarly, it is easier for someone with longer legs to control and lock their opponent in place. 

If taller athletes play the guard to their advantage, they can execute positions such as the spider guard in gi to stretch out their opponent effortlessly. Similarly, the lasso guard and the De La Riva guard are perfect for a lanky practitioner’s arsenal

Best BJJ Guard Types For Long Legs

Here’s a list of four guards that tall BJJ athletes should experiment with to gain a significant advantage in their game.

1. Spider Guard – Top BJJ Guard For Long Legs

Spider Guard - Best BJJ Guards For Long Legs

The Spider Guard is an open guard in which the athlete is using all of their limbs to control their opponent’s limbs. Is one of the best BJJ guards for long legs.

The setup is established by gripping each sleeve of the opponent’s gi jacket and placing the soles of your feet on the biceps, near the elbow crease.

After establishing your grips, you can use the right angles to activate the guard. Your bottom leg will be bent, your top leg will extend upwards, and your high elbow will be touching your knee.

The Spider Guard is great for long-legged athletes because it keeps your opponent at bay, especially if they are shorter than you. You can spin your web with ease.

As soon as you can bring one of your legs to pass your hip line, the sweep is almost guaranteed. 


  1. Easy to enter the position.
  2. Provides multiple attacking options.
  3. Easy to transition into other guards.


  1. Grip Intensive. 
  2. Puts a lot of strain on your fingers and knuckles. 
  3. Can callus your fingers or cause them to bleed.

2. De La Riva Guard

De La Riva Guard For Taller BJJ Players

The De La Riva Guard is named after Ricardo De La Riva and initially evolved from Judo. This is one of the best guards out there for long-legged practitioners. 

The De La Riva guard involves the bottom athlete hooking the top athlete’s front leg from the outside with his leg. 

From this position, the ankle of the top athlete’s hooked leg is controlled by one of the bottom athlete’s hands, while the top athlete’s sleeve or collar is controlled by the bottom athlete’s other hand. 

This guard is great at executing sweeps and transitioning into other guards.

Deep De la Riva Guard Variation

Deep De La Riva Guard Variation

This variation on the De La Riva guard is excellent for those with longer legs because there is more distance between your bodies and your opponents’.

You’ll be lying on your back, and your opponent will be controlling your foot with his hand, but the angle is more significant than in regular De La Riva.Your leg goes deep across your opponent’s hips.

Deep De La Riva gives you better control to sweep. Therefore, it is easier to transition into dominant positions.


  1. Gives tall athletes a tremendous amount of control.
  2. Shuts down the opponent’s guard passes.
  3. Allows the athlete to execute numerous transitions and locks.


  1. Hard to execute in No-Gi.
  2. It puts extra strain on your knees.
  3. It can seem complex for newbies.

3. Lasso Guard

Lasso Guard

The Lasso guard is one of the strongest guards tall athletes can use. It is often combined with the spider guard to perform a wide range of sweeps and submissions.

To set the lasso guard up, you place your feet on your opponent’s thighs or hips and grab the end of his sleeves with both hands. 

Then, you need to lasso one of your legs around your opponent’s arm from the outside. Then, slide it in the place between his arm and torso. Voila, you have successfully executed the lasso guard.

Although, blue belts and above often use this one. Learning to perfect the lasso guard can be a little tricky for all levels. 


  1. Provides an easy transition to other guards such as the De La Riva or Spider guard.
  2. Great for sweeps and submissions.
  3. Very hard to block and escape.


  1. Difficult for newbies.
  2. Grip intensive.
  3. Difficult to master.

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4. BJJ X-Guard

X-Guard BJJ

The X-Guard can be both an offensive and defensive guard in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is difficult to pass, making it a great option for taller athletes with longer limbs.

The X-Guard is established by stepping your foot behind one of your opponent’s legs and crossing it over the leg you are standing on.

Next, you would hook under your opponent’s same-side arm using the arm that is behind their leg and grab their far wrist or bicep with your other hand.

This guard is great for people with longer legs because it takes advantage of the gap between your opponent’s legs. It also allows you to sweep your opponent using your long legs.


  1. Can be great against larger opponents that won’t let you close your guard.
  2. Allows for a wide variety of sweeps.
  3. Easy to transition from the butterfly guard or De La Riva guard.


  1. Doesn’t work on the street, it exposes your face to punches.
  2. It might be hard to learn as a beginner.
  3. It offers no direct submissions.

5. Butterfly Guard

Butterfly Guard BJJ For Tall People

The butterfly guard is a variant of the open guard. The Jiu-Jitsu athlete will leverage the shins and flex feet against the opponent’s thighs.
Using your arms to control posture, you would be able to use an immense amount of leverage to sweep your opponent or come on top.

Like every other guard on this list, long legs will give you an edge while pulling off the butterfly guard. It is simple yet effective—a great option for newbies who want to sharpen their arsenal.

The butterfly guard’s most significant advantage over other guards on the list. Is that you’re engaged but not fully attached to your opponent. Therefore, it allows for greater mobility if necessary.


  1. Works incredibly in Gi and No-Gi.
  2. Great for sweeps, control, and keeping the opponent off-balance.
  3. It works with other guards such as an X-Guard or a single-leg X-Guard.


  1. Relatively easier to pass or disengage.
  2. Not many submission opportunities.
  3. Requires consistent movement/attacking.

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Final Thoughts About The Best BJJ Guards For Long Legs 

Unlike other characteristics such as strength, speed, agility, and flexibility, your height is something you have no control over. 

The length of your limbs comes with both advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to crack the code for effective Jiu-Jitsu using your natural gifts.

As for tall athletes, playing guard can be a massive advantage if you try out even one of the guards above. Use those long legs to keep your opponent at bay, trap them in your De La Riva or Spider guard and win fights.

Remember, guys. Trust the process and always have fun. Consistency is the golden key to your results. If you enjoyed reading this article, be sure to check out more content on my website. 

And don’t forget to share it with a tall friend that doesn’t know which guard to play. 

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