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Basic Tumbling - The Shoulder Roll

If you have enough basic mobility and strength to try some simple tumbling, you might begin with shoulder rolls. You can do these from a kneeling start and try to finish in a balanced state on one foot and one knee. Be sure to tuck your chin toward your chest and roll on the back of your shoulder, not the back of your neck.

Once you feel comfortable doing a shoulder roll from a kneeling start, you can try from a standing start.

If you don't feel ready for shoulder rolls, I encourage to play around on the ground, even rolling over once or twice like a log. You can take things in slow motion, testing how much your body is ready for.

Tumbling on the ground offers a number of benefits. It improves coordination, flexibility, agility, strength, and awareness of the space around you. In a way, I see tumbling as the art of learning to fall correctly - as you improve your ability to fall in a relaxed roll, you decrease your risk of experiencing injury with accidental falls.

Tumbling is also terrific fun once you feel comfortable moving around on the ground. Any activity that is fun tends to be more sustainable as a means to staying fit and mobile.

In the days ahead, I'll share more basic tumbling exercises that you can try. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to share them in the comments section. Happy tumbling!

For an overview of exercise progressions that you can work at to improve your mobility and balance in a systematic way, please feel free to visit our Mobility Exercise Progressions page here:

Mobility Exercise Progressions

For some suggestions on how to set up a simple workout area at home, please feel free to view:

Suggested Resources for a Home Gym


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Thank you for the encouragement. I have been teaching my older people's karate class, (60-75 years. I am 75 also), how to do this very thing. We use a sort of ball to begin with. Everyone loves doing this, and we have all become very adept at getting onto the floor and up again fairly swiftly. We generally do some push-ups while we are down there though; just because we can. ;)

I can't see how your hands and arms are placed in this video since it appears a bit dark on my screen and a bit far from the action to see in detail. It looks like you might be using one hand on the ground but folding one arm?

Hi Patrina,
Thank you fro your question There are no set rules for performing a shoulder roll, but hopefully this video may provide some guidance:
Thank you for asking, and for being willing to try something new!

Client Care Manager