What Are the Health Benefits of Forward Rolls in Gymnastics?

By Debbie Lechtman

A forward roll is one of the first skills a young or new gymnast will learn. Although relatively easy, a forward roll serves as a building block for many more difficult elements. If you practice it frequently, it can also result in numerous health benefits for gymnasts, such as stronger bones and muscles.


To safely complete a forward roll, a gymnast must learn the correct technique. First, you must squat with your knees together and place your hands on the floor. Tuck your head between your hands, push off with your legs and roll over. Finally, you should stand back up without using your hands for support.

Healthy Bones

Recreational gymnastics skills, such as forward rolls, will help you develop healthy bones, particularly in the upper body. Weight-bearing exercises are best for building bone strength. In a forward roll, you must work against the force of your own body. With enough practice, your bones will become stronger. Strong bones will prevent osteoporosis in the future, and will also promote healthy growth for those between the ages of 10 and 20.

Muscle Strength

Forward rolls work several important muscles, including your abdominal, thigh, lower-leg, shoulder and arm muscles. If you practice the skill often, you'll grow stronger and healthier. Strong muscles are important to prevent injuries inside and outside gymnastics practice and help with improved posture. Core muscle strength in particular can help relieve lower-back pain.


A forward roll works the flexibility in your back, hips, shoulders, neck and legs. Flexibility can have a positive impact on your health and help your performance in other activities, such as cardio exercise like brisk walking or jogging. Increased flexibility will also decrease your risk of injury while working out at gymnastics practice or elsewhere.


When you finally master that forward roll, you will gain some healthy self-confidence. This confidence will help you when you are ready to move on to more advanced gymnastics skills. Outside the gym, your improved self-esteem will not only make you healthier mentally and emotionally, but also physically. In fact, people with higher self-esteem show fewer symptoms of physical illness, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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