How to Rollerblade for Beginners

Welcome to, aspiring inline skater. In this post, you’ll learn EVERYTHING a beginner-level inline skater must know when learning to rollerblade. Specifically, you’ll learn how to wear your skate gear, how to put on your beginner inline skates, and how to get up and get in the right skating stance.

Also read: 11 inline skate tricks for beginners and intermediates

Our video tutorials will also teach you how to glide forward, skate backwards, do the A turn and the slightly more advanced parallel turn. Also, we’ll demonstrate how to stop on rollerblades and even how to do simple jumps.

I’ll also embed video tutorials on how to go uphill and downhill, and even how to fall safely on inline skates.

How to Inline Skate: Summary

The first step when learning to inline skate is to wear fitting skates and protective gear. Then, get on the carpet or grass and sit, and roll onto your knees. Next, get one knee up, put both palms on it, and push yourself up into the V or T position. Next, assume the right skating form: knees bent, back up, chest up, and head pointing straight ahead. To glide forward on inline skates, simply open the toes and to skate backwards, open the heels and start marching, looking over your shoulder to see the way. To turn, use the A turn initially and then graduate to the parallel turn. To jump on rollerblades, start with small jumps and make sure the front wheels leave the ground last and land first. As for skating downhill and uphill, wait until you have grasped the fundamentals of inline skating, aka, the basics of rollerblading.
how to rollerblade summary

Beginner-level rollerblading is nothing complicated. Just moderately easy stuff that you can learn in less than one hour. Well, one hour won’t make you a pro. But it sure can get you from I know absolutely nothing about inline skating to I can do basic stuff on rollerblades.

How to Inline Skate for the First Time Video Tutorial

Wear Your Skates

How you lace up your inline skates depends on what kind of boot you have. Most beginner rollerblades feature a 3-tier closure system that includes traditional laces, a 45-degree velcro strap or plastic straps, and a top buckle strap. Others may have a BOA closure system, and this isn’t hard to use.

Loosen the laces and straps and put your foot inside the skate, making sure to lock the heel into place. The fit should be nice and snug, not too tight nor too loose. Knock the heel of the boot down onto the ground (with the foot in) while firmly pulling up the laces.

Tighten the laces uniformly, starting at the bottom going upward. Finally, fasten the straps and work the top buckle and you’re done. If you have wide feet, loosening the laces around the toe helps a tad.

Have You Bought Skates Yet?

If you haven’t bought a good pair of beginner rollerblades and wish to get into inline skating, learn how to pick good ones. I prefer hard boots because they’re more supportive, but soft boot inline skates are also good. Then learn how put them on correctly.

Oh, and there are differences between rollerblading and roller skating. I’d encourage you to learn the differences between these two skating styles.

How to Put on Inline Skates Video Tutorial

Peter from demonstrating how to put on inline skates

Gear Up: Super Important

I can’t seem to emphasize this enough, but gearing up is the single most important part of safe rollerblading. Yea, I know, you don’t want to feel funny or stupid or whatever other uncomfortable feeling you keep imagining.

But do you think anyone ever worries about what people think when they’re (the injured skater) nursing nasty fractures at the hospital? Me neither.

Wear a Certified Skate Helmet

A good helmet for a beginner inline skater should be certified to the ASTM F1492 Skate Helmet Standard. Most skateboard helmets these are dual certified for skating and biking (CPSC 1203 bicycle helmet standard).

Some skaters use non-certified classic style helmets such as Triple Eight Heed, Triple Eight Sweatsaver, and Protec Classic Skate helmets. But I suggest that you use an ASTMF1492 rollerblade helmet even if you’re a novice skater.

Your helmet should fit snugly on your noggin, otherwise, the brain bucket will come off of your head in a bad fall or crash. I’ve explained how to size a helmet here, and I’ve also explained how you can determine your head shape in that post.

You should always use a properly fitting helmet. A well-fitted inline skate helmet fits snugly and stays level on the head. It will not shift more than 1 inch sideways or up and down if you shake the helmet or shove it. Watch the video below to learn how a good helmet is supposed to fit your head.

How to measure your head circumference for a skate helmet

Knee Pads, Elbow Pads, And Wrist Guards

You should also wear a pair of good rollerblading knee pads. Elbow pads are also important, just as are wrist guards. I suggest you wear hard-shell knee guards such as the Triple Eight knee savers or the 187 Killer Pads. Wearing heavy-duty knee pads such as these ones should be pretty straightforward.

Also read: Best wrist guards for skating

Simply slip the protective pads over your pants as you would a sock and then tie up the top and bottom straps. With some knee pads, though, you might end up wearing them upside down.

For such pads, if someone can read the letters of the product’s name or brand name easily, you got the pads on right. But with most protective guards, it doesn’t matter which side you wear them from. The same goes for elbow pads with a hard plastic shell.

As for wrist guards, these can be tricky to put on. Make sure to wear the left piece on the left hand and the right on the right hand. Trial and error works best here.

Wrist guards have an opening where the thumb goes. Also, there’s a piece of tough plastic that should sit on the back of your hand and a palm side splint. You know you’ve worn your wrist guards properly when the plastic bit lies squarely and comfortably on your palm. After that, just work the straps, typically Velcro straps.

Most wrist guards typically feature three straps, one long one and two short ones. Hold the longest strap and wrap all the way around your wrist and then deal with the top and lower straps.

Note: your wrist guards should be the last piece of protective equipment you wear. That’s because wearing them first would make lacing up your skates, adjusting your helmet’s chinstraps, and putting on knee pads and elbow pads difficult.

How to Get Up on Rollerblades

We recently uploaded a video tutorial on how get up with inline skates.

How to stand up and balance on inline skates

Getting up with rollerblades on can be quite challenging for new skaters, but you can do it. Now, it’s pretty hard to get up from your bum, but there’s an easier, better way to do it.

So, roll over and get onto your knees. Preferably do this on the carpet, a towel, or grass. Doing it on a hard floor might be tricky because the wheels on the blades can’t wait to roll. And inline skate wheels really love hard, smooth surfaces!

Place your hands on the surface. So, you’re now touching the surface mainly with the protective plastic on your palms. With your hands still down, try to get up using your dominant foot.

This can be a little tricky and it’s easy to fall over, but you have adequate protection, so no worries. You’re kind of squatting on one leg. Now, do likewise with the other leg, and the position you’re in now is the frog squat.

Next, place your hands on your knees. Put the left palm on the left knee and the same goes for the right hand. Now, try to push yourself up using your knees as a supporting base. This shouldn’t be too hard.

How to Balance on Inline Skates Without Falling Over

You’re now standing up, but if you’re not standing right, it’s easy to suddenly start rolling either forward or backward. So, make sure your feet stay parallel to each other initially. Stand on a flat surface, not a hilly place.

If you stand with the toes of your skates facing each other, you’ll likely start rolling backward uncontrollably. You might end up hitting your head bad. And if your skates are pointing outward at an angle, chances are you’ll start rolling forward when you’re not ready, yet.

How to Fall Safely On Inline Skates

There’s nothing like rollerblading without falling. You’ll fall, and it makes loads of sense to learn how to fall safely. When you know you can fall and avoid injuries, or at least reduce the odds of getting severe injuries, your confidence in rollerblading soars.

Let’s imagine you’re no longer a beginner and have been having bomber days out rollerblading downhill. But one unlucky day, you’re rolling downward real fast. Suddenly, you realize you must bail, but you don’t want to end up with a costly concussion or broken hips and wrists. What would you do?

The first thing to do is to shoot your hands out forward, like some zombie. With your hands stretched out straight, lean forward a little while bending your knees. At the same time, you’re lowering your body as much as you can. Lower your center of gravity the way you would if you spotted a hundred-dollar bill on the ground.

Next, place your hands on whatever surface you’re skating. Remember to have your fingers facing a little upward. You don’t want your precious fingers coming into contact with the ground, unless you don’t mind getting a broken finger or wrist!

Then, land on your protected knees and slide forward in the direction you were moving in. That’s how to fall smart roller skating. If you have proper rollerblading knee pads on, you should be fine.

How to Inline Skate Forwards

Bujie of bombing a hill on inline skates in Ol Jororok, Kenya. He’s skating forwards throughout the drop. This is insanely fast and it’s taken him 16 years to get to this proficiency!

Ready to roll forward? At this point, you can stand steady and maintain perfect balance. Now, bend your knees out a little, as you would in a proper beginner ice skating stance, with knees bent a bit.

Now, breathe deep. Then, open your skates so that they make the letter V. Your heels are pointing in and toes point out. In this position, pick one foot up and then land it, as though you were a soldier marching. You’re not trying to walk. Nor are you trying to stride forward. You’re simply marching, and you’ll effortlessly glide forward.

It’s not hard, but it’s easy to fall over. The good thing is you have ample protection.

Weight transfer and pushing on inline skates

Push off on your skates using one foot, transferring your body weight to the other foot, and gliding until that stride ends. Then, push off with the other foot and while shifting your weight to the other foot. Rinse and repeat until you turn your forward glide/stride into an art form.

Note: When just starting out, it’s best to make smaller, quicker strides instead of longer, slower ones. If you make longer glides, you are skating on one foot the whole time, and that’s not something a beginner does with ease. Start small and build up to longer, smother, more stable strides.

How to Inline Skate Backwards As a Beginner

The very thought of rolling backwards on inline skates as a complete beginner can be utterly terrifying. But with practice, you’ll eventually overcame the fear as I did. We published a video tutorial on how to rollerblade backwards. Feel free to watch it.

how to rollerblade backwards for complete beginners

Here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on: Inline skating backwards is one of the toughest parts of learning rollerblading. Some skaters skate for many years before they can master rolling backwards flawlessly. So, relax and understand perfection doesn’t happen in a skate session haha.

There are several ways of gliding backward. I’ve even seen skaters who invented their own way of going backwards.

To skate backwards on inline skates, first get into a good stance. Knees bent, the upper body straight, chest up. For your safety, turn your head to face in the direction you’re going. Toes point in while the heels point out, the exact opposite stance you are in when skating forwards.

Another way to rollerblade backwards is to get into the scissor position: one foot in front and the other in the back, with both skates parallel to your direction of motion.

Then, use the front leg to make little S shapes while the other foot stays fixed and doesn’t try to do anything. The foot drawing the S shapes work pretty much the same way a fish’s fins do. Try not to wiggle your bum as you push or stick it out.

Here’s yet another way to skate backwards: Pop, turn, and glide backwards. This takes quite some getting used to, and I suggest that you don’t do this on day #1 learning to rollerblade. Actually, you can’t do this until you learn how to do simple jumps on inline skates. We put together a how to jump on rollerblades video tutorial just for you.

How to Turn on Inline Skates As a Beginner

Watch our video tutorial on how to turn on inline skates.

How to turn on rollerblades for novices

There are different ways to turn on inline skates including the jump-and-turn technique, the parallel turn, and crossovers. These techniques aren’t the best way to learn how to turn on rollerblades if you’ve never skated before. Once you’re past the beginner phase, come here and watch our forwards and backwards crossovers video tutorial. This is an intermediate-level skater tutorial by the way.

The easiest way to turn on inline skates is the A turn. This is a low-effort technique where you open your legs a little wide to form the letter A between them and just turn. It’s easy, but it’s not the most efficient and reliable way to turn. Plus, you don’t want to look like a noob inline skater forever.

The parallel turn is one of the most common and efficient ways to turn on rollerblades. To turn this way, start rolling forwards. When ready, get in the scissor position: one skate in front of the other.

To do a right turn, simply lean into the turn with the right foot in the front and on the outer edge while the back foot is on the inner edge. It takes some getting used to, but it’s not too hard.

How to Stop With And Without Brakes

Plow stop on inline skates video tutorial for beginners

To stop with a brake, shift your weight away from the braking leg and put it on the other foot. Then lift the toe off the ground while lowering the heel to make the rubber or plastic break pad to touch the surface. Apply some pressure and drag the skate until you stop. This might feel awkward at first, but you’ll soon get used to it. Every new skater must learn how to use the heel brake before graduating more advanced stopping techniques such as the T stop, powerslide, soul slide, magic slide, and others.

Also read: Different ways to stop on rollerblades

But, can you stop on rollerblades without using the brake? It’s possible if you know how to do the plow stop. We previously wrote a post that described how to do the plow stop on rollerblades. And below is a short video on how to use the plow stop to stop as a complete beginner. IMHO, the plow stop is the easiest stop to learn for beginners followed by the heel brake technique. You can use the brake pad to stop even when going at speed, but perfect your technique first. Note that the plow stop isn’t the best way to stop when skating fast. Think of it as a way to control the speed.

How to Inline Skate Uphill for Beginners

As an absolute inline skate beginner, it’s not a good idea to start skating up hills. Because that’s hard to do even for people who have been skating for a while. But you will not remain a novice forever, and we created a video tutorial to help you go up moderately steep hills when ready.

Peter of going up a hill on skates

How to Rollerblade Downhill for Beginners

You might also want to read our previously published post on How to go uphill on rollerblades. We also put together a useful beginner downhill inline skating video tutorial, but we strongly recommend that you master the basics of rollerblading before you attempt to slalom down any hill or use any of the other techniques we demonstrate in the video.

How to Rollerblade Even If You’ve Never Skated Before

Pretty much anyone can learn to rollerblade as long as they’re determined and follow the correct techniques. But before you start your lessons, gear up properly.

It’s important to have a certified instructor guiding you. Watching pro-created inline skating video tutorials on Youtube also helps. Bujie, one of our go-to experts here at, has been skating for almost 20 years. He knows tons, and we’ve consolidated most of that knowledge into a bunch of beginner-friendly tutorials. I also recommend Asha, find her on YT.

You now have all the resources you need to learn the first steps of inline skating. What are you waiting? Strap on a pair of skates and let’s go blading!

I'm Kevin but my friends call me Bujie. I have been a wheel addict for the past 16 years, and I love it! I got into inline skating at the age 9 and have bladed ever since. I have broken both wrists along the way (I'm fully healed) and accumulated scars on different parts of my body, but quitting isn't for me. Visit our Youtube channel