The back roll (or the backwards shoulder roll) is one of the most important movements in BJJ.
Most fundamentally, the back roll allows you to fall backwards and roll over your shoulders rather than rocketing into the mat and taking the full impact on your back and/or head.
But you can also use it to counter guard passes. Set up submissions. Escape bad positions.
If you don’t have a smooth back roll you’re not going to be a complete grappler, simple as that!
However just like the forward roll (which we broke down in this article here) the back rolling movement is often sadly deficient in BJJ and submission grappling students.
There are lots of grapplers flailing like turtles flipped over onto their shells when they’re trying to do this roll.
But it’s actually quite a simple movement – you just have to be shown how to do it properly and then put in a bit of time practising it.
In the video below I break it down for you and also cover the 3 most common mistakes people make when they’re trying to do the backwards shoulder roll on the mat…
I mentioned earlier that the backwards roll is the fundamental movement underlying many advanced techniques, including submissions, escapes, sweeps and defensive manoeuvres.
The very best breakdown of the fundamental movements in BJJ and their applications in different areas of the sport that I’ve seen is Brandon Mullins’ Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu instructional set. You might want to check that out if you’re interested in this topic!