The Science of Parkour | Summary and Q&A

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November 16, 2020
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The Science of Parkour

TL;DR

Scientists have studied parkour athletes to understand how they perform incredible feats through analyzing techniques like wall climbing, kong vaulting, and landing, which can be applied to improve athleticism and avoid injury in everyday life.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How do parkour athletes transition from running on flat ground to climbing vertical walls?

Parkour athletes utilize specific techniques and foot placement to smoothly transition from horizontal to vertical motion. By placing their foot in the right spot, they can conserve momentum and avoid losing it to the wall.

Q: What makes kong vaulting different from other vaults in parkour and gymnastics?

The kong vault in parkour focuses on maintaining low height and horizontal speed, while gymnastic vaults aim for maximum height. This difference results in a distinct body technique, with traceurs exerting significantly less force and having a softer landing during kong vaults.

Q: How do parkour athletes land gracefully without experiencing high impact?

Parkour athletes minimize the force felt on impact by utilizing techniques like bending into a deep squat or rolling out of a stunt. These techniques allow them to absorb the force gradually over a larger period of time, reducing the risk of injury.

Q: Can the principles from parkour studies be applied to everyday activities to prevent injuries?

Yes, the research conducted on parkour can benefit athletes, soldiers, and individuals in their everyday lives. Understanding techniques for transitioning, vaulting, and landing can help improve athleticism, minimize injuries, and promote safer movement.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Researchers analyzed the biomechanics of parkour athletes performing wall climbing and found that technique, rather than raw strength, plays a crucial role in successfully transitioning from horizontal motion to vertical motion.

  • A study on kong vaulting revealed that this parkour skill is gentler on the body compared to similar gymnastic stunts, as traceurs exerted less force and had a softer landing while maintaining low height and horizontal speed.

  • Traceurs land gracefully by minimizing the force felt on impact through techniques such as bending into a deep squat or rolling out of a stunt, which allows them to absorb the force over a greater period of time.

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