Although it might seem like a simple movement, the forward shoulder roll—commonly known as the forward safety roll—can mean the difference between a broken bone and just a few bruises, gymnastics guru Jeff Tucker says at this CrossFit Advanced Gymnastics Trainer Course.
“I know this seems really, really, almost condescending of a movement,” he explains. “But in daily life, when you see people fall, what do they do? Their first reaction is to try to stop the fall rather than rollin’ with the energy and comin’ out of it.”
He adds: “You got to know how to fall when it comes time to do that.”
The trick is to tuck the chin, roll and then gently glide—in a straight line.
Tucker says he’s fond of the cue “smell your armpit.”
“Put your nose tucked in underneath that armpit,” he advises. “You should be smelling your own odor. Everyone likes their own brand.”
Tucker himself had a chance to test the effectiveness of this simple movement after missing a step in a high rise while loaded with firefighting equipment. He rolled out and received some bruises but avoided broken bones.
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Additional reading: The Forward Roll by Roger Harrell, published Oct. 1, 2005.