How to do a Backward Shoulder Roll

14 Oct 21

Shoulder rolls are some of the most misunderstood moves in floorwork. They are often taught incorrectly without any discussion of weight transfer, shoulder rotation, shoulder activation and overall muscle engagement. Because of this, people quickly injure themselves, as they are forced to use momentum instead of technique. Shoulder rolls are not the same thing as a somersault. Somersaults are when you tuck your chin to your chest and roll over both shoulders at the same time utilizing a gigantic floor inversion and weight transfer.

Shoulder rolls, however, only roll over one shoulder or exchange from one to the other, meaning there needs to be an adjustment and slight pivoting action on the exit. In addition, a forward shoulder roll should always be taught first, which contradicts almost every other movement training.

The Backward Shoulder Roll is a direct result of understanding weight transfer, shoulder rotation, and shoulder activation. Just like with the forward roll, we have a different approach. Keep in mind the Liquid Motion® Backward Shoulder Roll to Knee (Look Away) is a more advanced version of a traditional backward shoulder roll, as it focuses on body awareness and front orientation. You must master a traditional backward shoulder roll first.

Looking for how to do a forward shoulder roll? We recommend you master that first! Check it out at this link.

Step by step instructions on how to do a backward shoulder roll for floorwork:

  • Start on your back, parallel to a mirror or a definitive front. Your legs are straight out in front of you and your arms are down by your sides.
  • Tuck your pelvis to peel your knees to your chest, continuing into a full plow.
  • Turn your face to front; you will be rolling over the back shoulder.
  • The tops of your feet should be on the floor, shoulder width apart, and your legs straight.
  • Execute your weight transfer by swiveling at the hips so your feet are splitting your back shoulder.
  • Start to drop the back knee to the floor and activate the back shoulder, driving it into the floor to continue the rolling action.
  • Finish snaking your head out, maintaining eye contact with front.
  • Continue traveling backward, bringing your booty back until it is sitting on your foot.
  • You will end on the back knee with your front leg extended out to the side.

Common Mistakes:

  • Looking over the wrong shoulder
  • Rolling over the wrong shoulder

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