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Eur J Sport Sci. 2016 Aug;16(5):526-35. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2015.1060263. Epub 2015 Aug 12.

Performance characteristics of Parkour practitioners: Who are the traceurs?

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a INSERM U1093, Faculté des sciences du sport, BP 27 877 , Université de Bourgogne , Dijon F-21078 , France.
b Univ. Bourgogne Franche-Comté , 32, avenue de l'observatoire 25000 BESANÇON.


Parkour is a modern physical activity that consists of using the environment, mostly urban, as a playground of obstacles. The aims of this study were (i) to investigate age, anthropometric and training characteristics of Parkour practitioners, called 'traceurs' and (ii) to assess jump performances and muscular characteristics of traceurs, compared to those of gymnasts and power athletes. The mean age of the population of traceurs studied (n = 130) was 19.4 ± 4.3 years, women represented 12.4% of the total field and mean training volume was 8.1 ± 0.5 hours/week. Vertical and long jump performances were analysed on smaller samples of participants (four groups, n = 15 per group); and eccentric (-90° s(-1), -30° s(-1)), concentric (30° s(-1), 90° s(-1)) and isometric knee extensors torques were evaluated by means of an isokinetic dynamometer. Traceurs showed greater (P < .01) drop jump performance (64.9 ± 1.5 cm) than gymnasts (60.9 ± 1.1 cm) and greater (P < .001) counter movement jump with arms (59.2 ± 1.5 cm) than power athletes (53.0 ± 1.4 cm). Standing long jump performances were greater (P < .05) for traceurs (282.7 ± 5.2 cm) compared to other athletes (gymnasts: 273.9 ± 7.3 cm; power athletes: 261.3 ± 6.7 cm). Eccentric knee extension torques were greater (P < .05) for traceurs compared to other athletes. This study revealed that Parkour training induces major development of jump and muscular skills. The use of such training has several practical applications as it provides a better resistance to high eccentric load and helps reinforce musculoskeletal structures.


Gymnastics; counter movement jump; drop jump; eccentric; squat jump; standing long jump

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