Don’t Face Plant: How To Fall Foward Safely
Learning how to fall is one the most important skills anyone can learn. In fact, a significant percentage of adult injuries are caused by falling during normal everyday activities and could be avoided with a little skill and training. Here are a few tips for practicing for the most common fall.
When you are a little kid, even before then a baby, learning how to fall was just a rudimentary thing you did. You tried to crawl, bam you fell, you get back up and try again. Then you start learning to walk, you fall, bam, you get back up and try again.
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When you get better at it, you start to run, you fall, bam, you get back up and try again. See a pattern forming here? Falling is part of our nature and every creature that walks on this land. You can’t get away from it.
When you are younger it’s just part of what you are doing. You laugh it off, or don’t even give it a second thought, and you continue on your path (to whatever goal you had in mind).
So when did learning how to fall become such a scary thing? When you think about it, we all do it whether we want to or not, but so many are scared to fall. It’s almost a moniker of life.
“If you are scared to fall (or fail) you won’t ever learn to walk (or reach your goal). “
However, as we become more aware of our environments we lose the sense that comes with learning how to fall and forgot how to do it in general. As a result, adults often fall an seriously injure themselves because falling is not something they practice naturally anymore.
Bad falls happen to everyone, but there are many times where bad falls could be avoided just by knowing how your body should react. Having it in your muscle memory of what to do with catching yourself is a critical life skill to maintain.
I’ve been teaching movement and stunt training for many years. Whether it be professional athletes, martial artists, actors, fitness enthusiasts, or stay at home parents, the biggest thing that every single one of them want/need to learn, is how to fall correctly.
That’s it. Out of everything within the realm of stunt training, the biggest thing any one of them can learn is how to fall in their normal environment.
Now there are a lot of different ways to fall, especially for stunt training. There are also a lot of ways to recover from a fall and make it look cool in front of a camera, but I won’t go over every single one of them.
Learning how to fall forward is probably the most important fall to learn for normal people. Usually when we fall, its forward or face first and it’s never a fun experience, so learning how to control a forward fall is always a great place to start training.
Learning How to Fall
The Forward Fall
This is any type of fall where you are moving forward with your chest, face and front of your body are moving towards the ground. Now if you can do a push up, you can catch yourself in a fall. This is all about deceleration for your body going towards the ground.
Basic Forward Fall Setup and Practice
Setup first on a softer surface, on your knees. Keep your back straight and hips forward (you are going to try and keep this position the whole time). Extend your arms out in front of you, this will be to catch your fall.
Fall forward catching through your fingertips and hands, and bend your arms until your body lightly comes into contact with the ground. Try and lower yourself through this as slow as possible using the strength in your core, arms and hips.
Bring your self up to the same position and try again. Try this for about 5 – 10 reps. You will want to turn your face towards the left or right so as not to accidentally come into contact with the ground.
Once you are comfortable with that, for practice try pushing your self back out of it into the kneeling position again and start the fall again. This is great for building explosive power and strength in the arms, as well as for learning how to fall.
Once you are very comfortable with this, you can try it on harder surface, and try not extending your arms out. This will help you get into the muscle memory and habit of at the last second extending your arms to catch yourself.
You will find that your body will become much more aware and catch quit comfortably.
Advanced Forward Fall Setup and Practice
Once you are VERY comfortable from the knees you can try it on a nice soft area (mats, grass, sand) from standing. Advanced drills are for working on getting out of the habit of catching yourself with your feet and working towards trusting your strength.
Start out standing straight, with your hands directly in front of you. Again, let yourself fall, catching yourself through your fingers into your hands. Again, bend your arms lowering yourself to the ground as slow as possible.
Do this for about 5 Reps, take a break and try again. Once you are comfortable you can try it with your hands at your sides so you can get that into the muscle memory.
This obviously is just a quick breakdown and practice of the forward fall. There are more advanced versions of these, but this should get you more comfortable in your skin and with hot to start learning to fall.
Remember taking the fear out is a great way to start being more awake and alive in everything that you do.
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