Backarm Chestroll

This chestroll is a bit more difficult to learn, but ends up being easier, and is a lot smoother in the end. It can also be repeated over and over, making for a good pause in the routine.

Again, we start by figuring out how we’re going to stand. Stand straight, back tilted back a bit, and arms held out palm down as if they were around a large barrel. The index fingers should be about a foot apart (30cm).

The ball will again be traveling by the smoothest route. This time, the route is clearer. The ball travels up the backarm, along the outside of the biceps (which is lying flat because of the pose the arm is in), midway between the armpit and shoulder, and along the chest just under the clavicle. The route down the other arm is just the same.

To learn this chestroll, it is best to start with a large ball before gradually using smaller and smaller ones. I use a novelty 6” tennis ball to learn long body rolls.

It is a good idea to imagine the ball rolling smoothly in a circle along the arms and chest, and make sure that the pressure is the same at all points.

Don’t forget the small nudge in the direction of movement that you should do is the ball reaches the shoulder. It is needed to make sure that the ball doesn’t just get to the sternum then drop.

If you do a lot of toss juggling, a chest roll thrown in at an appropriate point is a real crowd pleaser.

This move can be repeated over and over by bringing the hands together at the end of the move and passing the ball over the fingertips and repeating the roll.

A video I saw once (at yo-yo.org) showed a good example of when to allow the ball to drop at the middle of the chest. The person performing the routine (someone called Mike, I think) sat down on the floor, did a chestroll, and allowed the ball to roll down the chest and up the legs to the feet (he raised them together to make a channel for the ball to follow).

Taking more from that video, it is a good idea to practice the Backarm Chest Roll in stages – practice Backarm Rolling to the elbow, then passing to the opposite hand, practice rolling right to the elbow and onto the opposite hand, practice rolling to the opposite shoulder before passing to the same hand you rolled from, and then practice the whole move from cradle to cradle.

Don’t forget to practice doing this in both ways. You may never get as proficient in one way as the other, but you could say that the CJ equivalent of toss juggling’s “yeah, but can you do it with one more?” is “yeah, but can you do it in the other direction?”


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Next page: Neck Roll