This project was my final year dissertation for my Sport Therapy BSc undergraduate degree, the abstract of which was also accepted at the BASES Student Conference 2020. Unfortunately that conference got postponed due to Covid-19, so I decided to present it online for anyone to read instead. There’s also not a lot of scientific research out there for the parkour community to look at (although that is rapidly changing), so I figure it’s nice to share.
It’s important to know that this has not been peer reviewed. I’m proud of my work and I think my findings are, at the very least, interesting. But, please bear that in mind as you read it and consider the results found, and conclusions drawn from those results, with an appropriately critical eye.
Oh and, for the love of god, it’s probably best you don’t try and cite this in your own work.
You can also download the full force platform data I collected if you would like to perform your analysis. If you do so, please get in touch and let me know what you use it for and what you find, I’d be delighted.
The emerging sport of parkour has developed a landing technique focused on soft, quiet and controlled landings. The proficiency of practitioners (traceurs) for two-legged drop landing tasks is becoming increasingly established, but it is unknown whether the same aptitude will be demonstrated for different movements and with different landing techniques. This study will investigate the ground reaction forces (GRFs) produced during three common parkour vaulting techniques utilising two common landing styles, with the aim of understanding how GRFs may change between the different scenarios and the subsequent implications for injury risk. 10 traceurs (age 29.4 ± 7.2 years, height 173.8 ± 8.1 cm, weight 74.2 ± 8.4 kg, experience 9.7 ± 3.6 years) performed a drop landing, step vault, dash vault, and kong vault onto a force plate with a two-legged precision landing (precision) and a single-legged running landing (running). Peak vertical (vGRF) and braking (bGRF) GRFs per limb were analysed by repeated-measures two-way ANOVA. A significant interaction effect between movement choice and landing style was found for both peak vGRF (p = 0.007) and peak bGRF (p < 0.001). All movements increased in vGRF when using a running landing, but only the drop and kong vault increased in bGRF while the step and dash vaults decreased in bGRF. The kong vault resulted in the greatest peak vGRFs and bGRFs, differing significantly from all other movements with a precision landing and, even in comparisons that did not achieve significance, always producing at least a medium to large effect size. The dash vault produced the least peak vGRF and bGRF of all movements in both landing styles, differing significantly from all others in bGRF and the drop and kong vault in vGRF. Movement and landing style choice affect landing GRFs for common parkour vaulting techniques. While GRFs increased in running style landings, they still did not exceed those typically experienced in jogging, indicating that traceurs mimic their performance in two-legged drop landings and continue to effectively mitigate GRFs when vaulting. As a result traceurs are unlikely to be at risk of acute lower limb injury when vaulting, but may remain at risk of chronic lower limb injury.