The roll is an important movement in free running and parkour to absorb large amounts of impact of a drop or jump from height in a controlled way which can also allow the athlete to continue their run without losing their flow. The roll is often seen after flips from height, or large running jumps.
The move consists of collapsing the knees, and performing a forward roll over the head/shoulder and onto the back, before coming over the hip and back onto the feet. The two most common variations of this are the parkour roll involves rolling diagonally over one shoulder to the opposite hip. The idea is to avoid putting pressure on the spine, which could cause injury, especially on the hard surfaces such as concrete which free runners often roll on. The gymnastics roll is the same roll seen in gymnastics competitions on plyo, which is a symmetrical roll down the middle of the back. While this may be more damaging on the spine, the damage is negligible on plyo, and it looks neater.