Incorporating Rolling Patterns Into Your Group Training

Rolling patterns seem to be tricky, and many strength coaches and trainers neglect this important pattern due to the lack of knowledge with rolling.  I’m not going to go into the importance and benefits of rolling in this article; However, if you want to read a good article on rolling, check out a post made by Charlie Weingroff awhile back.  Great stuff here, and this article should give you enough reason to start using this primitive pattern in your group training.

Check it out here:

So how did we incorporate rolling patterns into our group training models?  It took some time, but the time and effort has been well worth it.  It’s really helping us take our programming to the next level, and hopefully we can help you get up to speed with rolling patterns being done in group format.

Here is a good step-by-step approach to incorporating rolling into your program:

1. Educate Yourself & Practice Rolling:

Learn everything you can about the movement and practice it yourself.  Get good at rolling yourself before asking your clients to do this.  A good portion of you are going to struggle with this yourself, so practice, practice, practice.

2. Clear Mobility:

Hopefully you’re already using the FMS or another method of assessing your clients when they come in for training.  Use your assessment to make sure all mobility issues are cleared before going here.  If mobility issues are present, rolling patterns are not where you should be. Following the FMS heirarchy will solve this for you and tell you what you should be working on.  Just follow the system 🙂

3. Give Handouts or Link to Demonstrations of Rolling Being Performed:

The FMS has done an awesome job with growing their exercise library, and the best part about it is….IT’S FREE!  You Can go to and go to their exercise library to have printouts and videos of all the rolling patterns.  Getting your clients information and live demonstrations will help improve your ability to incorporate into your program.

4. Provide a Specific Time for Clients to Perform “Corrective” Work…DAILY:

We incorporate corrective exercises in every session.  Doesn’t matter if we’re working in a one-on-one, semi-private, small group, or large group format.  Everyone gets their own specific time for performing correctives.  We usually incorporate our rolling patterns very early in the session.  Following the system provided in Smart Group Training will give you specific details on how we do this each and everyday.  There are a couple methods we have tested (both work well, just a preference thing), and Smart Group Training will show you both methods we’ve tested with great success.

5. Coach, Coach, Coach

This ties back in with step #1.  You will need to know some ways to give yourself and your clients some assistance while learning these patterns.  Performing these properly can sometimes be very difficult to do, so learning some methods of assisting the movement is vital to the success of incorporating this effectively into your program.  Using bands for some core pre-activation, kicking the heel of the long leg, propping the body up using half foam rolls, towels, etc…to limit ROM, and giving assistance with the roll itself are some of the methods we use, but knowing several methods of providing assistance IS A MUST.  Start taking away the assistance until the roll can be performed flawlessly with each rolling progression.

6. Step Away & Let Them Learn

The system works, but it’s going to take a little longer to get success with rolling in large group format vs. personal training (sometimes).  Find the method that works the best for each client and let them start to learn the movement.  This is all about feel.  Give them time to work with this and use your coaching skills to ensure your clients are successful.

There you have it…a 6 step approach to incorporating rolling into your large group training.  If you’re already familiar with rolling and the methods used to provide assistance, than this should be a breeze.  If you’re not familiar with rolling patterns, you need to take the time and begin to learn this pattern.  Improving rolling patterns will help improve your results as a coach and trainer.  Don’t let them scare you.  The power of rolling is well worth the effort.  Hopefully this will help make the process less scary.  Make sure to leave a comment below or ask any questions you may have about how to incorporate rolling into your programming.  Good Luck!