The Basic Parkour Landing
Parkour and Freerunning tend to be rather high impact sports. Especially considering the surfaces we usually train on (concrete). If you’re looking to learn Parkour, a great place to start is working on your landings. Good form in our landings is probably the single most important aspect of keeping us healthy through years of training in our fields. Here, we will talk about how to perform the basic Parkour landings.
The most basic landing we call a “slap out” landing.
As we are hitting the ground, the goal is to reduce the impact absorbed by our joints as much as possible. To do this, we try to use the maximum amount of muscle to slow ourselves down to the ground instead of just hitting the floor. The first aspect of this is landing on the balls of our feet (the knuckles just behind our toes). This allows us to use our calf muscles and ankles to absorb the initial shock of impact. Then we engage your glutes, hamstrings, and quads to resist against to pressure until we hit the position of basically sitting on top of our heals. We should use a constant resistance to slow down throughout this range of motion so we don’t absorb too much at the beginning or hit the final position with too much force sill moving downward. Finally, we should be pushing with your palms against the ground with your arms in between our knees. We want to keep our knees aligned over our toes so we don’t put sideways pressure on our knee joints. Also, we are sure to use the palm of our hand and not our fingertips as our thumb joint is not strong enough to take impact pressure.
The best way to tell if we are landing properly is by listening to it. A proper landing should be extremely quiet! This will take a ton of practice, but it should be something we are working on constantly. There is no such thing as a landing that is too quiet. Any noise at all is impact that is being absorbed by our joints and possibly doing damage. Some will argue that different shoes will cause variations in sounds, but no matter what we are wearing we should be trying to be as quiet as possible. If we really want realistic training, we work on our landings on concrete while barefoot (be careful! This can hurt a lot!).
For more forceful landings (higher drops), a basic slap out is not usually the best choice. Instead of absorbing the energy, we want to redirect it forward.
The best technique for this is obviously the parkour roll. We are planning on making an entirely different post about the roll, so watch for that one in the future Until then, check out these:
We can also push our downward force forward on smaller drops if that feels better than absorbing it all. There are a variety of techniques for this, explore the movement for yourself and see what you can come up with!
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