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Junior Activity Week 

Forward Rolls

3 basic shapes 

The Forward Roll is a basic element for gymnastics and acrobatics. This movement practices your ability to change orientation, completing a full rotation on the ground while holding a specific shape such as tuck, straddle, and pike positions. 

Specific Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the cues for a forward roll
  • Demonstrate what the three types of shapes are
  • Describe the key movements of a forward roll

Lesson Outline:

  • Safety
  • Discuss the three shapes
  • Progressions
  • Forward roll

1. Discuss safety issues. Potential hazards 

Tuck - In a tuck a gymnast bends at the hip and the knees

Straddle - In a straddle a gymnasts legs are separated with neither leg being forward or backward of the other.

Pike - In a pike a gymnast is bent only at the hips.

 Tuck  Straddle   Pike        


 Candle Stick Roll
  • Stand tall with feet hip width apart or glued together
  • Feet are pointing almost straight forward, just slightly out
  • Abs and butt are on
  • Descend by pushing hips back and down
  • Fight to keep the knees out during descend
  • Descend until hip crease falls below knee level
  • Follow with a controlled fall backwards into a candle stick roll
  • Utilize the momentum generated for the roll to drive back off the ground back into a squat
  • Ascend by pushing hips back and then up
  • Fight to keep the knees out during ascend   


Forward Roll Tuck

Stand tall with arms glued to your ears

Squat down and reach in in front of you as far as you can

Once hands touch the ground jump and send your hips over your head

Allow yourself to roll in a tuck position until feet touch the ground

Reach in front of you and stand up using the momentum as if you were doing a narrow stands squat

Forward Roll Straddle
In this video, Coach Carl demonstrates how to perform a forward roll in a straddle position.  This variation demands more flexibility and strength of the athlete to hold the straddle shape of the legs and prevent the legs from bending, and using the right speed and momentum to come out of the roll back to standing.
Forward Roll Pike
In this video, Coach Carl demonstrates how to scale a forward straddle roll as you build up flexibility and strength. By using a stack of folded panel mats between the straddle, it becomes easier reach and push through the elevated ground to complete the roll back to standing.  If speed and momentum is the challenge, try rolling down a wedge block to add a little speed as an assistance to roll out at the bottom.
In this video, Coach Carl continues with the Forward Roll progression to bring the feet closer and closer in with the Forward Straddle Roll until it becomes a Forward Pike Roll.  With the Forward Pike Roll, managing your speed and momentum is key to finishing the roll on your feet before trying to stand up out of it.