More Than Just Flash
This week we’re getting into something pretty sexy; breaking down progressions for the Depth Jump to Forward Roll.
Picture this: You’re out running on an epic mountain trail. You leap atop a fallen log and jump outward to cross a small creek to lush green grass on the other side. The jump is far but you it land and allow your momentum to carry you smoothly into a clean forward roll. You pop right up and continue running like it ain’t no thang.
Damn, it feels good to be a gangster.
A little idealistic? Maybe. A more practical scenario might involve you taking a fall. The smooth transition into a roll is useful for dissipating the impact of a drop from height or a sprawling jump. Your ability to land and roll could be the difference between a serious injury and just a close call.
You COULD live your whole life just fine without this type of physical competence. However, performance skills give us a greater margin of error in an unpredictable world. Developing skills like these comes with a definite sense of confidence in your ability to navigate new challenges. Just a little justification beyond the fact that is some cool looking shit.
The Break Down
The depth jump is what we in MovNat call a skill-to-skill transition. We have two distinct skills here: the depth jump (jumping down from height) and the forward roll. Each skill is developed in isolation, but in time trained to seamlessly transition into other skills. Start by mastering both the depth jump and forward roll, separately. Then start to train the space between these two movements, the transition.
In this break down, we'll start with movement prep. I like to warm up my feet, ankles, knees, and hips with squat walking, dynamic stretches, and small jumps. Activating the musculature and prepping the joints is essential, especially for dynamic training like jumping. I also like to go through some light rolls to dial in the necessary timing for this skill.
Progressions: Beginner to Advanced
For beginning drills we'll start on the ground. From a squat or knee bend, let your weight shift forward and transition into the crawling position (we talked about this last week.) This is a key piece of the transition between the jump and roll as it lowers your center of gravity to execute the roll.
For the roll, take note of the forward shifting of weight and elevation of the hips. These two features create the momentum and allow a smooth entrance in to the roll. Use the arms / hands to guide you through a smooth transition to the back of the shoulder. Exit the roll on the opposite hip with a figure 4 leg position.
Start training the transition by performing a broad jump to a crawl landing. Progress to depth jumping from a box to ground and into the crawl position. Rep by rep, make this transition from depth jump to crawl position softer and more controlled. Feel your momentum shift forward as you catch yourself with your arms. From that shifting of bodyweight, you’ll transition into the roll. Depth jump to a crawl position, pause momentarily, and then execute your front roll. Repeat this sequence, gradually reducing the pause between the crawl position and roll.
Advanced progressions include executing the jump at higher speeds or from swinging off a bar or branch. The environment you train in has a big impact on how you move. Keep the complexity manageable so your body can effectively learn the skill. Build your confidence with these advanced expressions on training mats or soft ground and take a progressive approach so you can feel the skills come together.
Remember that this skill is for the sake of higher level performance...which means you gotta earn it! First step is building a foundation of proper mobility and stability that comes from restorative movements like moving on the ground, balancing, and squatting. Mindful practice of each of the individual skills is also very important. This isn’t a challenge just to dive into. On the contrary, see how many moving part are here and respect the process. Play the long game. Intention, consistency, and progressive practice day in, day out redefines what’s possible in our lives.
Keep moving and love your practice.