Kinematic Analyses of Parkour Landings From as High as 2.7 Meters

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PREFACE: In 2016, we partnered with the Division of Kinesiology and Health at the University of Wyoming to deconstruct various parkour landing techniques. The study was just published by the Journal of Human Kinetics—and with free/open access for all!

In this study, landing forces and techniques by 20 parkour coaches and athletes from various Apex School of Movement locations were analyzed using high-speed cameras and 3-dimensional coordinates set up at Apex Boulder (now in Louisville, CO). Special thanks to Amos Rendao, Boyi Dai, Jacob S. Layer, Taylour J. Hinshaw, Ross F. Cook, Janet S. Dufek, and all the Apex athletes and coaches who took part in the study.

When I heard the news yesterday, I asked Dr. Dai a few follow-up questions:

Q: “What do you think is the biggest takeaway from this study?”
A: “Landing from a high height does not necessarily result in injury if appropriate landing techniques are used. This finding has important implications for injury prevention for other athletes, as many injuries such as ACL and MCL injuries occur when athletes land from much less height.”

Q: “What kind of follow-up studies do you think would be most interesting/useful?
A: “We would like to perform follow-up intervention studies with athletes who are participating in sports involving jump-landing activities such volleyball, basketball, and soccer. We plan to quantify whether these athletes can safely learn parkour roll and landing techniques in a short period of time (about 1 week) and then execute these techniques to decrease lower extremity loading in landing. Our long-term goal is to implement this type of landing training program in many sports teams and to track whether it can help decrease landing related lower extremity injuries.”

📚Journal of Human Kinetics, April 2020


Developing effective landing strategies has implications for both injury prevention and performance training. The purpose was to quantify the kinematics of Parkour practitioners’ landings from three heights utilizing four techniques. Seventeen male and three female Parkour practitioners landed from 0.9, 1.8, and 2.7 m utilizing the squat, forward, roll, and stiff landing techniques when three-dimensional kinematics were collected. The stiff landing demonstrated the shortest landing time, and the roll landing showed the longest landing time for 1.8 and 2.7 m. Roll landings demonstrated the greatest forward velocities at initial contact and at the end of the landing. Stiff landings showed the greatest changes in vertical velocity during the early landing, while roll landings showed the least changes for 0.9 and 1.8 m. Both roll and stiff landings generally resulted in decreased changes in horizontal velocity during the early landing compared to squat and forward landings. The four landing techniques also demonstrated different lower extremity joint angles. Stiff landings may increase injury risk because of the quick decrease of vertical velocities. Roll landings allow individuals to decrease vertical and horizontal velocities over a longer time, which is likely to decrease the peak loading imposed on the lower extremities.

Ryan Ford is the author of Parkour Strength Training and founder of ParkourEDU & APEX School of Movement.