The mechanics of a parkour landing

March 26, 2018, Massey University
Massey researchers are investigating the movements used in parkour - a French-developed discipline using movement developed from military obstacle courses training. Credit: Massey University

Have you ever watched a person leaping from buildings or vaulting over railings and wondered, "How did they do that?"

Massey University researchers are looking at the movements used in parkour, a French-developed discipline using movement developed from military obstacle course training, and how it affects the forces placed on the body, particularly when landing.

The research, which is being led by Master of Sport and Exercise Science student Marcel Austmann under the supervision of Dr. Sarah Shultz from the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition, may help in the design of conditioning programmes and injury prevention strategies for the activity that is often considered an extreme sport with high risks.

Due to the relative infancy of parkour there is less information about how parkour athletes distribute forces during landings, which has potential links to injury, Mr Austmann says.

Ground reaction force measures the magnitude of stress placed on the body when it connects with the ground, while rate of development looks at the time it takes for the body to absorb those forces. Both factors can greatly increase risk associated with injury, but it has been shown that experienced parkour athletes may be able to lessen these forces significantly through landing techniques," he says.

Credit: Massey University
"This study is unique in that it investigates the forces as well as muscular activity associated with parkour landings during a variety of obstacles found in a natural training environment. We anticipate that the valuable findings would add to the current knowledge base of landing biomechanics in parkour."

Specifically, this study will look to support previous research that suggested parkour precision landing was a safe strategy. "By moving beyond the lab and into the more common gym setting, we can better understand how parkour athletes naturally land and how much influence experience level plays in injury risk," Mr Austmann says.

The study is looking for 12-24 healthy and free adults between the age of 18-35 who participate in parkour. Experience levels can vary as comparisons will be made between beginner and experienced athletes. Participants need to be Auckland-based, as the study is being carried out at Flow Academy of Motion, in Albany.

Explore further: Researchers use parkour athletes to test energy demands of tree dwelling apes

Related Stories

High risk of injury in young elite athletes

October 18, 2017

Every week, an average of three in every 10 adolescent elite athletes suffer an injury. Worst affected are young women, and the risk of injury increases with low self-esteem, especially in combination with less sleep and ...

Urban athletes show that for orangutans, it pays to sway

July 4, 2012

Swaying trees is the way to go, if you are a primate crossing the jungle. Using human street athletes as stand-ins for orangutans, researchers have measured the energy required to navigate a forest using different strategies ...

Calf muscles outclass hamstrings in injury prevention

October 27, 2014

Better prevention of non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries is on the horizon after a recent study found the calf muscle plays a larger role in stabilising the knee than previously thought.

Recommended for you

Researchers engineer a tougher fiber

February 22, 2019

North Carolina State University researchers have developed a fiber that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of a metal, resulting in a tougher material that could be incorporated into soft robotics, packaging ...

A quantum magnet with a topological twist

February 22, 2019

Taking their name from an intricate Japanese basket pattern, kagome magnets are thought to have electronic properties that could be valuable for future quantum devices and applications. Theories predict that some electrons ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.