Parkour Research on Arboreal Locomotion Published in Journal of Human Evolution

Parkour Research on Arboreal Locomotion Published in Journal of Human Evolution

Practice makes perfect: Performance optimisation in โ€˜arborealโ€™ parkour athletes illuminates the evolutionary ecology of great ape anatomy.

Some time ago we facilitated a fantastic study with researchers at the University of Birmingham around the biomechanics and efficiency of brachiation/swinging movements in the great apes. We provided 19 of our elite athletes, along with Brendan Riley of EMP Parkour, to take part in the data gathering tests at the university with Dr Lewis Halsey and Dr Susannah Thorpe. The results of that rigorous study can now be found online here at the Journal of Human Evolution. The article is free to access until March 19th.

From the article:

‘Modern humans still share with the other apes many of the adaptations for orthograde (upright-trunked) arboreality, such as the broad, shallow chest and shoulder blades positioned on the back that allow an extensive range of motion in the shoulders (Ward, 2007ย andย Crompton etย al., 2008).

Humans’ natural climbing ability is also used in sports and gymnastics, particularly by parkour athletes (โ€˜traceursโ€™), who specialize in developing new techniques for moving through complex, three-dimensional urban environments whilst avoiding the ground. These involve the limbs in a wide range of joint positions, in suspension and compression, much like the locomotion of living non-human apes (Hunt etย al., 1996, Thorpe and Crompton, 2006ย andย Kelley, 2011).’

The article is well worth reading, and we continue to engage in groundbreaking research studies like this one. To talk to us about facilitating similar studies through the movement capacity of parkour athletes, please contact us directly.ย