How to Do a Shoulder Roll

Updated on October 25, 2016

Role of a Roll

If you are studying martial arts, you are learning a lot. What you learn gives you confidence in yourself, especially in terms of self-defense. However, you'll find that you'll probably never ever use the self defense techniques you've learned against assailants or bad guys trying to hurt you. Why? Because you've learned to avoid fights and problems; plus the air of confidence you exude generally discourages would be attackers from targeting you as a victim.

You will use at least one thing--the shoulder roll. Within your lifetime, you will use a shoulder roll at least a couple of times to save yourself from an injury causing fall or trip. Most martial arts will teach you how to fall.

Rolling is one way of falling without getting hurt; that's because the energy that would otherwise be absorbed by your limbs are instead dissipated through the motion of a roll.

The video below illustrates how a shoulder roll is done.

Key Points to Remember When Doing a Shoulder Roll

Here are key things to remember when learning how to do a shoulder roll:

  1. Practice; you'll need to embed the roll into your natural falling instincts.
  2. Keep your chin tucked in by touching it towards your chest.
  3. Curve your back like a ball.
  4. Tuck your legs in; it's hard to roll if your legs are straight.
  5. Tighten your core as you roll; it keeps your roll stable.
  6. Practice; practice makes perfect and as noted before, you'll need to embed the roll into your natural falling instincts

When to Use a Roll

There are many occasions when a shoulder roll comes in handy. In most cases, it is something you don't plan; it just happens.

  • You are riding a bike and your front wheels hit something or jams causing you to fly over the handle bars.
  • You are running and trip over an obstacle you failed to see.
  • You are escaping a burning building and have to jump the height equal to one floor down to the ground. In this scenario, you land on your feet at a slight forward angle and quickly go into a shoulder roll; the roll absorbs the land shock.
  • Someone accidentally pushes you from behind and falling flat on your face isn't an option.

Have you Practiced your Roll Today?

Even if you aren't in martial arts, it is a good idea to learn how to roll. So find a nice clear area that has padded flooring and practice.

Have you experience a fall where a roll could have saved you from broken bones, scratches, and bruises? Share your story below.


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    • forlanda profile image

      Juancho Forlanda 5 years ago from US of A

      Conner, thanks for stopping by. You must be pretty agile since parkour requires very good tumbling skills.

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      conner 5 years ago

      Well this is very helpfull when useing to escape a dangerous scenerio but this also helps with my parkour im 12 years of age and am pretty good at this roll and to be truthfull all humans have the "roll instinct" witch when falling from tall hights makes you able to not get hurt

    • forlanda profile image

      Juancho Forlanda 6 years ago from US of A

      I'm glad it is useful. Thanks.

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      anonomouslovingtexter 6 years ago

      This helps alot