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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 11-02-2006, 08:41 PM   #1
Jeff Roddy
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In this month's Crossfit Journal, Jesse Woody demonstrates what I was taught as a shoulder roll - but I notice he uses the back of his hand on the side he breaks towards. I have done this roll many times but always placed my hand flat then rolled it.
What is the advantage of leading with the back of the hand??
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Old 11-02-2006, 08:55 PM   #2
Steven Low
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If you place your hand flat you have the ability to hyperextend and injure it if you are going very fast and make a slight timing mistake.

Placing the back of the hand on the ground allows a smooth transition from the hand to the elbow to the shoulder all the way through the back and all the way to your feet. I would suggest you learn to do this rather than placing your hand flat.

I have lots of experience with dive rolls from gymnastics, and we DO put our hands flat in dive rolls. However, since it is usually on a spring floor, it has some give for our wrists and is generally more forgiving if you have bad dive roll technique or a lapse in judgment. On grass and to a lesser extent cement you don't have this luxury so the back of the hand helps to optimize (think efficiency) the roll to create a smooth plane of movement. Since you are NOT going directly over your head like in gymnastics, the hands planted on the flat on the ground are not needed to protect it.
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Old 11-03-2006, 10:33 AM   #3
Bill Russell
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Jeff, I was taught the shoulder roll that way too. I now teach placing the side of the hand down as you roll( knife hand with fingers pointing back toward the rear foot). This position gives better arm support as you roll, and it works well as you progress to higher obstacle breakfalls/rolls.

I am in no way being critical of Jesse Woody's form. As talented as he is, I'm sure he can do these rolls over a car hood with his hands in his pockets!

Try them all and use what works for you.
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Old 11-03-2006, 12:37 PM   #4
Blair Robert Lowe
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Not to my plog my own greatness ( bwhahhah ) but here is an archived thread on shoulder rolls that was started mainly by Yael.

There are about a zillion ways to do shoulder rolls.

two hand diamond bend one elbow to the side

scooping the back of the hand across and under the body, also allowing it to dissipate the force following the arm to the shoulder to the back

same as above but palm of the hand facing in ( aiki )

no handed by curling the body, getting that shoulder low and rolling

If you have good timing, like Stephen says, and a bit of strength and awareness; you can place your hand flat down and sort of do the negative of a HSPU to slow down your descent. This is not for newbies, and requires an exact timing. Screw up and at best it'll hurt your wrists. OTOH, it can be a good way to not land on your head if you get lost inverted in a flip or handspring.

(Message edited by Blairbob on November 03, 2006)
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Old 11-03-2006, 07:28 PM   #5
Jeff Roddy
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Thanks all.
I have some dive/shoulder rolls to pratice.
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Old 11-04-2006, 02:56 PM   #6
Jesse Woody
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One thing I forgot to mention in that part of the article is the fact that there are quite a few different variations of the basic rolling theme that will work. That is actually Mark Toorock, my co-admin on American Parkour, and that is the preferred way to roll in his book. I personally roll more over the outside blade of my hand, as I feel the top of hand position feels akward. Both work, but you have to find what works best for you.
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