Proper way to fall/roll/generally UPD?

The other day I was riding down a steep, slippery road in my neighborhood while racing my running brother (not a good idea), and lost control. I managed to run out of it, but just barely-- surprised I didn’t faceplant or at least scrape my knees up.

It got me wondering… when landing directly on your feet or landing into a run doesn’t work, what does? I suppose rolling, and that would be a rather good thing to practice so that I do it automatically when falling at higher speeds/odd angles. The problem is, I’m not sure how to fall and roll without bruising a shoulder or something. :stuck_out_tongue: I’m notoriously bad at that sort of thing, and can barely turn a sommersault.

So, all you Uni experts out there… any tips?

i dont think you can know how you are going to fall. all you can do is wear protection and try to land on your feet.

I was told once to only ride as fast as you can run!

Sometimes things happen to quickly to react. The other day I headed down a rooty hill and I guess I didn’t see a big one. I flipped forward and my hands were the first body part to hit the ground, then back, then chest. I’d guess 10’ was flipping, and 5’ was sliding on my chest at the end. I’m thankful I didn’t brake anything. My left buttock took the worse of it with a deep bruise. After a 5 minute rest I was able to ride on. Again, thankful.

But if I fall and get a foot on the ground I try to run it out. On trails I concentrate hard on where my feet are going. There are so many opportunities for rolling an ankle.
If I’m not upright enough, I roll. Shoulder first. I try to absorb as much energy as you can with your legs before the roll.
You can practice rolling in a nice thick lawn without a uni, and then go ahead and do it with the uni.

Also, my CamelBak has protected my back several times now.

I was riding my 24" as fast as I could, while sizing up the approaching slope. I had failed to notice the brick size rock in my path. When I hit it, I flew off like superman, tucked and rolled on landing. Ended up lying on my back, surprised, unbruised and rather comfortable. So yeah, you can roll out nicely. I feel lucky that where I landed was flat, without other rocks. Was wearing a helmet.

i fell off at med/high speed on my coker doing muni and i flew off forward and to the left into small rocks, dirt, and a few plants. pretty fortunate, because there are many bushes in the area with thorns aplenty. but i didnt roll, i just landed on my side on my hands. bruised up me side a bit

Mostly when I fall forwards and not on my feet, I get one foot down, hit my hands, and roll over my sholder and onto my back/side. For me it’s just instictive, and I’ve never heavily bruised anything but my shins on a fall. Or gotten more than a minor abrasion.

also another thing when you fall down try not to put your hands out to take the blunt of the blow because you can break wrist that way and do other nasty things to your hands. Whenever i can i do the tuck and roll and when im about to faceplant i put up my forearms to take the blow, luckily thats happened only a few times. The main importance to falling down is to try not to come to a sudden stop to the ground because thats when you hurt yourself.

“its not the fall that kills yeah… its the sudden stop”

i like the quote, but i have a better one. “it’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the blunt force trauma to the head”–me

Tips, I can give you tips. Start low and go slow.

My credentials: Eight years in martial arts two styles, 4 years in each. 4 years in my 20’s and 4 years in my 40s, both styles had throws and falls.


Find videos and find more than one until you find the one that stresses good technique and has a gradual progression and/or you really get an understanding of how to do the fall.

Like in this one:

This is an excellent tutorial, and all you need to learn a good shoulder roll that won’t skin your knee every time, like in the video below. And it shows that Martial Artists don’t have a lock on doing good falls. If you know someone good in Parkour rock on.

To work, any fall has to be 2nd nature but once they are they will save your behind when you can’t run it out. (as an old man with bad knees I don’t run many of them out)

The best thing about learning to fall is you learn not to stick your arm(s) out, called ‘posting’ and break your arm/wrist(s) and you learn when to tense and when to relax which minimizes injuries and hurts less.

Side and back falls are not hard to learn if you start low. The shoulder roll is harder to learn but if you watched the video you saw there is no magic it’s just leaning the technique.

Shoulder roll, side fall and back fall are all a Uni rider really needs. If you learn one, definitely the shoulder roll. I would also say that really only Muni riders need a side fall and back fall because of the odd angles and uneven terrain. Even then they will be of limited value but better than nothing.

Like most things, its not strength or some superhuman ability it’s technique. Learn the technique and the rest is just practice. Learning to fall is easier to learn than riding a Uni that’s for sure.

If you want to learn from a martial arts school find a Judo or Akido school, last choice would be Jui Jitsu because in Jui Jitsu the basics start with more with joint locks than throw and falls. Many colleges have Judo clubs and typically will be more ‘relaxed’ than a school.

(videos for people who are interested)

Here are examples of the many angles falls can be done from the but they are sloppy and some out and out wrong. While they work on a ‘mat’ on a hard surface they would suck major. Some of these fall would produce broken ankles and all the shoulder rolls would produce a skinned knee every time. Unfortunately there are lot of martial arts schools teaching questionable (as polite as I can be abut it) technique.

Just skip around there is a lot of repetition and its pretty long.

Here is a better example of basic falls with good technique:

(and much shorter)

and falls from throws:

to show how well they can work.

Good post on the subject (and way shorter than mine)

I always land on my head - so I can’t do any damage!:slight_smile:

Ehh, wish this thread were up 2 months ago. I was racing a 10 year old (he was running) on my 26"… I was at a state park, where the pavement is rather gritty and abrasive. My cadence was huge with such long cranks (Had 170s at the time) and was probably doing 3.5 to 4 revs per second. I’m not sure if I hit something in the road or lost control of the cadence, but I went flying forward, knees hit the pavement first and slid for a bit and tore up my palms, followed by a roll (Not a voluntary one) which scuffed up my left elbow with rather deep road rash. On the roll I also got bad road rash behind my left shoulder. I left my helmet at home (Not on purpose), so, considering my lack of head injury I do suppose I lucked out. Could’ve been a lot worse than it was.

Would rolling directly out of a fall, maybe after getting a foot on the ground, even work? I’m not sure if I’d be able to do it voluntarily in time, and then there’s some UPD’s which literally throw you to the ground. Is it just one of those things to save yourself if the situation allows?

I’ve done martial arts and the best way to manage a fall is to make an Ukemi. Aikido is the best martial art in this particular subject. Parkour rolling technique is very similar and good as well. I recommend you to learn this and practice falling slow from the uni then faster so your body’d do it automaticly when you really fall.

There’s no way to anticipate a fall, there are too many variables, best bet is to wear appropriate clothing and armor with the idea that you will be better protected if you fall.

Certain situations are more likely to make you fall in a certain way, for instance if you use a brake, you are more likely to fall on your hands. If you lean back too much you’ll tend to fall backwards more often, etc…

My worst falls come from being highsided, caught on the street and unable to get off, sort of like being stuck as I roll off to some place I don’t want to go. The other worst case scenario is when I fall unexpectedly with my hand still on the grab handle/brake, which is most likely to catch you with your hands down low, which leads to finger injuries; three broken fingers on my Rt hand in two years.

The more intense you ride, the more committed you are, the more your fall will catch you unaware. I have done many martial arts, and though I well versed in falls and using your weight and motion to the advantage, there really is no magical training that’ll prevent a bad fall.

In my expereince, the more you ride, the more you fall, the better you get at falling, but in the end there is no way to avoid an occassional bad fall other than to not ride :slight_smile: