RocPK Reopening Update

Dear members,

We’ve received a lot of inquiries on our reopening schedule as well as a lot of congratulations and well wishes. Your support means the world to us!

However, after further discussions with State and local departments, we do want to update that our August 1st reopen date is getting pushed.

Basically, given our unique business identity and the services we offer, it’s proving to be a challenge to properly classify our business. Our current business classification is not permitted to open. We are working with the authorities to finalize a plan that would allow us to reopen under a different classification that is allowed to open. Those details are not yet finalized.

There are a couple important deadlines that are going to be occurring soon that may result in further official guidance. One of those deadlines is Gov. Cuomo’s decision on a return to school. That decision is slated to occur on or before Aug 7th. As is, no update has been provided on when or how Fitness gyms will be re-opened.

Many of you have also reached out with ideas or thoughts that might help us. Don’t stop doing that! We love hearing from you! However, one of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received regards outdoor training. To answer that question here: Fitness activities like yoga and basic group fitness (e.g. Pilates) have been cleared to operate outdoors. Unfortunately, this is not an option that we can accommodate at this time.

Certain parks in Monroe County have been made available for outdoor classes, but permits are required to reserve those parks. A permit requires the proper insurance coverage and our insurance policy is specifically set to cover instruction within our facility. Going elsewhere requires additional insurance coverage which is prohibitively expensive for us. Parkour insurance is unfortunately not as streamlined or cheap as yoga or personal training insurance is.

We don’t want to give you this information and not give any further deadline. That’s basically what NYS is doing to us and it isn’t very enjoyable. So instead, we’re going to say that we’ll be checking back in on August 10th, unless magic happens and we’re able to coordinate with the State to properly and legally re-classify ourselves by adjusting our service offerings accordingly with their approval.

Finally, I know it’s hard to hear this over and over, but we wouldn’t be here without the ongoing support of you and all our members. There’s really no other way to say this, even if we were to reopen today, the gym is looking at no less than 3-4 months of operating losses. Our fight is far from over.

If you value the service, the community, and the education that we provide and you want to ensure that it will be here when our world is less threatening, please consider enrolling for a membership. The monthly support goes a long way to helping us pay our rent, utilities, payroll, debts, and all other recurring expenses. Even a monthly Open Gym Membership goes a long way to helping us meet these financial stresses.

Of course, you can also send direct donations to us through our PayPal.

Additionally, if you want to stay more connected with us and others in the community as we await our re-opening, we created an online forum for us to chat, share stories and updates, oh… and memes…. Lots of memes 😛 You can join by clicking the above link.

Thanks for being with us through all this. We can’t wait to see you and the family in the gym again soon!


By |2020-08-11T15:53:19-04:00July 29th, 2020|Featured, News|0 Comments

Big Changes coming to RocPK Adult Programs!

While our big announcement of RocPK 3.0 is easily visualized with the physical change of locations, we also have big plans for changing how RocPK operates and how our members (and the public) interact and participate in our services. Of these operational changes, we’ve decided to evolve the way that our Adult Programs function.

There are many ways to experience and train Parkour: slow and methodical, fast and dynamic, or physically and mentally complex. There are absolutely reasons why someone may be drawn to only one aspect of those styles, but there’s also a lot to be gained by exploring all of them too.

RocPK’s Level program was designed to keep Level 1 curriculum mostly slow and methodical, while also providing a venue for beginner students to build their technical foundations as well as their strength and coordination. We designed the Level 2 program to house curriculum that mostly explores fast, dynamic, and technically and mentally complex movements. For safety, we’ve required students to pass their Level Test before gaining entry into the Level 2 classes.

In addition to that, our reluctance to advertise class curriculum ahead of time was a philosophical decision to remove a student’s ability to abstain from class curriculum that, while good for their movement education, they might abstain from simply because they don’t like it.

With 8 years of teaching experience under our belt, we’ve come to understand that this system is no longer the best way to function. We want to create an environment where our Level 2 students understand that just because they’re Level 2, doesn’t mean that there’s nothing left to learn from a Level 1 class. We want to create an environment where Level 1 students don’t think that all fast and dynamic styles of movement are equally as unattainable until they pass all aspects of their Level Test. We also want to create an environment that puts the power of choice and responsibility back into the hands of our students.

Given all of these wants, effective this week, the Adult requirement of passing the Level Test is no more. Instead, those ‘requirements’ will be downgraded to ‘guideline recommendations’.

Additionally, we’ve decided to cease our practice of never announcing curriculum ahead of time.

What we hope to accomplish with this change is to give our students (as well as prospective students) the ability to custom tailor their experience with RocPK classes. Perhaps you’re a Level 2 student, but it’s been a while since you’ve been to a class that just focuses on the basics of contralateral vaults. That student will now be able to locate and find a Level 1 class that fits that desire. Perhaps you’re a Level 1 student, and while you have yet to completely pass your Level Test, you see a Level 2 class with a Muscle Up focus and you’ve been interested in knowing more what drills and exercises you can practice to help you obtain that skill. That Level 1 student can now make an informed choice for themselves whether or not they can benefit from being a participant in this class. Finally, perhaps you’re a climber, crossfitter, or overall physically athletic individual and you see something on the Level 2 curriculum that catches your eye. No more will those prospective students need to perform, film, and apply for entry to Level 2 classes before being accepted.

With this change, we’d also to explicitly state three things:

  • Level 1 tier classes will ALWAYS adapt curriculum to the athletic restrictions of participating students
  • Level 2 tier classes will NEVER GUARANTEE adapted curriculum to the athletic restrictions of participating students
  • These changes ONLY apply to our Adult Programs. RocPK Youth Programs will continue to function as they have in the past.

Starting this today, RocPK will begin announcing all curriculum focuses for all Adult technique classes on Sundays via our website blog and social media (Instagram/Facebook). Our first blog post is already live if you want to see what is being offered this week!

-RocPK Team

By |2019-04-29T12:52:25-04:00April 29th, 2019|Featured, News|Comments Off on Big Changes coming to RocPK Adult Programs!

Introducing – Family Plans!

The Background

Of our ~250 families, more than half are currently on one of our membership plans. We see this as huge win for us not only as a community, but also as a small business. The membership tiers give our students the best value for their budget and also make our job scheduling, coordinating, and offering classes and services easier. It’s a win-win.

Additionally, ever since we introduced the membership plans nearly 7 years ago, the “Family Discount” of 25% off each additional plan has afforded even more savings to most families. Most, not all.

This Fall, RocPK is looking to change that and make it even easier for families to choose Rochester Parkour as one of their main fitness and recreational outlets by making it way more affordable!

New Family Plans!

Starting September 1st, 2018, Rochester Parkour will be adding in additional discounted memberships for families looking to add 3 or more people to a membership. These discounts could mean $20/month savings, but could also be upwards of hundreds of dollars for some of our larger families!

The discount tiers couldn’t be more simple:

  • 1st Membership – Full Price (no change from current membership plans)
  • 2nd Membership – 25% Off (no change from current membership plans)
  • 3rd Membership – 50% Off
  • 4th+ Membership(s) – 75% Off

These new memberships are just additions to our Membership program, they are NOT replacing them. If you are currently on membership, nothing is going to change. If you have less than 2 people in your family and are interested in membership, nothing is going change, either. You will continue to be able to set up membership plans on your own through our Zen Planner site and will be able to add on additional memberships at the 25% off tier.


5 Person Family w/ Everyone on 5x/Month

5 Person Family Old Price New Price
Person 1 $80 – 5x/month  $80 – 5x/month
Person 2  $60 – 5x/month  $60 – 5x/month
Person 3  $60 – 5x/month  $40 – 5x/month
Person 4  $60 – 5x/month  $20 – 5x/month
Person 5  $60 – 5x/month  $20 – 5x/month
Total  $320  $220 ($100 Savings!)

Mix & Match! 5 Person Family on Different Membership Tiers

5 Person Family Old Price New Price
Person 1 $115 – All Access  $115 – All Access
Person 2  $71.25 – 8x/month  $71.25 – 8x/month
Person 3  $71.25 – 8x/month  $47.50 – 8x/month
Person 4  $60 – 5x/month  $20 – 5x/month
Person 5  $60 – 5x/month  $20 – 5x/month
Total  $377.50  $273.75 ($103.75 Savings)

5 Person Family on All Access Plans

5 Person Family Old Price New Price
Person 1 $115 – All Access  $115 – All Access
Person 2  $86.25 – All Access  $86.25 – All Access
Person 3 $86.25 – All Access  $57.50 – All Access
Person 4 $86.25 – All Access  $28.75 – All Access
Person 5 $86.25 – All Access  $28.75 – All Access
Total  $460  $316.25 ($143.75 Savings!)

Plan Features/Requirements

In order for us to offer these new Family Plans, we’ve had to make some changes regarding the user experience in order to ensure that everything is set up correctly. One of these compromises is that in order to create your family’s plan, you must have a RocPK Staff Member set it up for you either in person at the front desk, over the phone, or through email. Besides that here’s a brief overview of how these plans functions:

  • Every 3+ person Family Plan must be set up by a RocPK Staff Member
  • Every Family Plan is set to auto-renew on the 1st of every month
  • Families can set up their plan at any time and our system will prorate the memberships based on when they begin. After that, the total amount will always be billed on the 1st of the month.
  • Each family member can have their choice between a 5x, 8x, or All Access Plan
  • The highest tiered plans will always be set up ahead of lower tier plans
  • Families can upgrade or downgrade individual plans at any time during a month by RocPK Staff
  • Minimum 1 full monthly cycle – RocPK cannot set up a prorated plan and cancel it before the next bill goes through.
  • As usual, there is no set up fee, no contracts to sign, and no termination fees. Retroactive cancellations and refunds are subject to a 20% refund fee.

Fill out the form below to request more information on setting up your customized plan!

By |2018-11-21T23:32:14-05:00August 10th, 2018|Featured, News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Introducing – Family Plans!

New Gym Layout, New Gym Challenges!

Very few things in life are immutable. Here at Rochester Parkour, we’re proud to have created an environment that represents the ephemeral nature of life – things evolve, adapt, and inevitably change.

Two week ago the gym underwent another major layout redesign in time for our Summer Camps:

We’ve begun the process of creating and adding new challenges to project during Open Gym. For those of you missed our last blog post about our new workout features, click here to learn about it!

As is still the case, you’ll need to head over to our ZenPlanner site via a Mobile Browser in order for the Instagram links to work. The ZenPlanner url is listed below:

Once there, hit the “Workouts” button and then click on the day of the Open Gym to be presented with this page:

The first section you’ll see will be generic recommendations on how to spend your time during Open Gym.

This section will change semi-frequently, but it’s possible that it will be the same from one day to the next.

This section will typically have no tracking features and is basically just word text to help guide and inspire you to be creative and move on your own, however, any time you see an exercise that is bolded, it means that this exercise exists in our database and progress, reps, or scores can be tracked for them.

The second section will be where all of our challenges will be housed.

These challenges have been curated by RocPK as fun, interesting, or particularly challenging feats that are great ways to hone various skills or track progress and proficiency.

Challenges will always be accompanied by a short video that can be accessed by clicking on the blue title.

Nearly every challenge will have a full-speed view as well as a slow motion view to help you better comprehend what is involved in the challenge.

Submit Your Own Challenges!

Students may absolutely submit their own challenges to us!

Take a short video (landscape view, as little camera pan as possible, and ideally 60 frames per second or more if possible) of you completing a short challenge that isn’t already listed.

Rules for submission:

  • May only use permanent layout features of the new layout (e.g. no vault boxes, balance bars, or other piece of equipment that would need to be moved or set up)
  • Combination tasks will be considered as Challenges (e.g. Jump to Cat, Underbar to Precision, or Jump to Lache to Cat)
  • Sequence patterns incorporating 3 or more movements/skills will be considered as Movement Lines and will be given a number, if approved by RocPK
  • Movement Line submissions must be less than 8 moves long
  • Climbing challenges may be submitted so long as they can be completed in 30 seconds or less and stay in only one gym zone (e.g. a climbing course that uses the Tunnel and the new bar cage may be accepted, while a climbing course that starts at the Tunnel and continues all the way to the Rock or then to the City may be denied as it takes up too much space)

If you want to submit a challenge or movement line, find the Open Gym Supervisor and ask them to either help you video it or ask how to go about getting it in our hands so we can review it and post it.

By |2018-11-21T23:32:14-05:00July 24th, 2018|Featured, News, Parkour Training|Comments Off on New Gym Layout, New Gym Challenges!

[Research Review] Implications for Neutral Foot Positions in Parkour Landings


Continuing our research into proper landing techniques, we found this recently published article that took 17 healthy collegiate males and had them perform drop landings from .35m (just over 1ft) using three different landing positions: Toes-In, Neutral, and Toes-Out.

In the parkour coaching world, very rarely do we see people landing with a toes-in position, but it does happen on occasion. More often, we find students landing in a toes-out position. At RocPK, our go-to cue is to keep the feet parallel.

Data from the article:


From their Discussion:

“From the perspective of combined loading, TI position was the most harmful position because of peak valgus moment and internal rotation moment together immediately after landing.”

“TO position did not showed

[sic] valgus moment immediately [upon] landing but it is not a recommendable position either. Since TO position induced the largest varus angle and internal rotation angle with the largest varus moment, it has potential risk of noncontact ACL as well. Biomechanically the neutral position showed decent kinematics and kinetics of the knee. Therefore, with intention or with the help of balanced training the neutral foot position on landing is recommended to minimize the risk of non-contact ACL injury.”

While their findings for toes-out position wasn’t highly conclusive, we’re still satisfied with their extrapolation that toes-out could lead to improper wear and tear on knee ligament tissue. We’ll be using this reviewed research as evidence to support our decision to cue our students into neutral foot positions during all landings.

By |2018-11-21T23:32:17-05:00February 2nd, 2016|Featured, Parkour Training|Comments Off on [Research Review] Implications for Neutral Foot Positions in Parkour Landings

The Impact of Parkour

a journey into the long-term repercussions of parkour training

Authors: Charles Moreland and Nicole Suchy

Estimated Read Time = 25 minutes



Parkour is a high-impact discipline wherein trainees apply themselves against environmental challenges at speed. We are constantly accessing new and unprecedented heights and pushing the boundaries as to what the human body can do. This article is designed to explore the possibility that maybe weve developed into a culture that all-too-often chooses to sacrifice long-term health for short-term gain/fame. The ideas and data presented here begin to formulate our understanding that our landing technique is not magic and weshould considerthat taking drops higher than hip height, unaltered, could be an unhealthy lifestyle. This article is designed to make you, your friends, and your respective communities think long and hard about whether or not youre okay with the idea that you might be risking your longevity and what this could mean for parkour coaches and the curriculum they develop.


Historical Parallel: Football

This article is about parkour, but lets take a minute and discuss a recent evolution of a sport we all know and love: football.

Harvard-McGill football game of 1874

The first game of football happened on Nov. 6th, 1869 and was played by teams made up of Rutgers and Princeton students. Fast forward to 1900, American Football had become a widely popular sport played by many college students and would soon become a national league of professional players in 1920, the NFL. While the sport grew fast for its fun, fast-paced gameplay, there remained an inherent problem…impact. Football is a full-contact sport and relies on one player impacting another player to get them down and stop their forward momentum. Prior to rule changes in 1905 and the entrance of protective equipment, 23 college level players died while playing football.

Even then, safety equipment wasnt mandatory (and remained that way until 1939). Helmets were an optional piece of equipment and came in a wide variety of styles and shapes. After becoming mandatory, helmets soon evolved as plastics became more widely available and offered extra protection that leather could not. As more research was done on impact, new designs entered the scene like Riddells vinyl cushioned helmet that could absorb more impact and offer a more comfortable fit. The evolution of the helmet and other safety equipment continued to improve the risk profile of the sport and helped to almost stop the presence of acute head injury altogether leading into current play.

1940’s Riddell Football Helmet w/ 6 Strap Suspension System & Original Chin Strap

Despite all of this, there was still an elephant in the room: impact, or rather, brain trauma from impact. Sure, players and leagues were putting a lot of time, energy, and money into stopping the acute dangers of cranial collisions and the addition and evolution of the helmet stopped the incidence of major concussions (and death!), but as more research was done, more understanding came to light that brain trauma occurs regardless of the presence of a concussion. In 2010, a panel of researchers presented their data to a committee of referees to which the Head of Officiating for the Big 10 was quoted saying, “There is some really serious concern about the damage that’s done on impact and what happens to the brain.” It was only after this meeting, over a hundred years since wide-spread adoption of the sport, that the new standards and rules for no helmet-to-helmet contact came about. Just recently, in September 2015, the CSTE announced that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) had been identified in 87 of 91 former NFL players, or 96% of the sample. The study conducted was the largest brain bank study to date and was a twofold increase in the number of confirmed cases of CTE. Basically, if you decide to play professional football, you are nearly guaranteed to develop cognitive brain disorders.

The real take-away from all of this is that it took football, as an organization, over 100 years to fully understand the chronic dangers of their sport despite all their attempts to protect their players along the way; despite the leaps and bounds made in the short-game to prevent acute injuries and death.

With this new perspective for the game of football in mind, you are probably still wondering what this has to do with parkour. While football and parkour may seem like polar opposites, the story presented is a perfect parallel to a problem weve been noticing in the parkour community at large. It is our opinion that these hard topics should be discussed sooner, rather than later, so as to learn from football and not make the same mistakes they did. On to parkour!


Parkour Background


We believe that Parkour is the end all be all of a human beings training. It is the most true form of enhancing all capabilities of the human body, and beyond that comes the creative expression of a traceurs movements and the thrill of overcoming challenge and exploring our inner potential. Parkours progressive nature is addictive, and more often than not, people who find parkour become consumed by it, diving in head first by traveling all over the world, partaking in all day (or sometimes week long) jams, and making videos with friends. Everyone wants that Kong-Pre, that perfect, fluid climb-up, that 10 gap jump, side-flip pres, whatever! We as a community praise those who continually push the envelope and do bigger kongs, bigger jumps, and more explosive movements. One only needs to travel to YouTube and take a glance at the comments section of any major parkour video to see that we are addicted to power. And it’s okay to be! It is a magical feeling watching the athletes of Storm, Farang, Rilla Hops, and others do the things they do.

Since the beginning of the movement, parkour has been plagued by the stigma that it is inherently dangerous and should only be practiced by crazy people. As a community, weve made leaps and bounds in the recent years proving to society that we can control and nullify acute injuries. In fact, many parkour gyms have been reporting incidence of injury rates less than 2 or 3 per 1,000 hours trained (The NCAA has reported an 8.1 injuries per 1,000 hours trained in American Football and reported 8.78 and 9.37 injuries per 1,000 hours trained for collegiate gymnasts for male and females, respectively).

While a football player has no ability to tell an opponent NOT to hit him in the knee, the great thing about parkour is that the traceur has full control over their choices. The most valuable tool in parkour is ultimately a practitioners common sense! Does this height seem too high to jump from? It probably is! Dont jump off of it! Bam…broken leg saved! Some people may incorrectly say, you can jump off of it, but make sure you roll. There are so many people that walk into the gym with this insane idea that a parkour roll (read: jumping off of something tall and rolling when you hit the ground) is some sort of magical technique that makes that drop okay. 10 feet? No problem, bro! Ill just roll. 20 feet?! Hell yeah, brah! Ill roll twice! Clearly this is a joke and its one weve probably all heard at some point. But what if we told you, that we are the same brand of fools? This leads us to our elephant in the room: high-volume impact.


The Elephant in the Room

Just like football, parkour is a high impact activity. Whereas a football player smashes themselves into another player, traceurs are smashing themselves into the ground and into walls or rails. To be fair, we dont smash ourselves so much as we are constantly transitioning levels from low-to-high or high-to-low. We get momentum, we maintain that momentum, and use it to fling our bodies through the air to flow through space. Getting that momentum isnt the hard part…stopping it is. In comes the parkour landing technique!

Use the toes! Heels up, butt back, spine straight. Make it quiet! These are great cues to help someone understand that the impact they are placing on their joints is damaging and we need to do everything we can to mitigate it. We tell people that the sound of a good landing is silence – that a loud landing means we were lazy and didnt absorb with our muscles. However, this concept is ultimately flawed. Weve evolved into a community that believes that just because a landing was quiet and demonstrates the technique we strive for, that we did no damage to ourselves. This is unlikely!

Figure 1. Parkour precision landing; a) Landing phase, b) Cushioning phase.

Despite this plausible damage, the parkour landing technique is certainly better than the alternative. Sports coaches used to teach a toe-heel pattern landing which places significantly more impact on the knees and hips, which is even more preferable to a straight legged landing. While theres still not much applicable data to parkour specifically, we can pull a lot from the data presented in the last 30 years about drops, ground-reactive forces, and what that data might mean for our longevity. TL;DR? Were probably destroying our knees. Sorry.


Research Data

This article came about from a desire to present real, whole number facts to the students who wanted to know why they couldnt just jump off of things. Its not fun being a landing nazi, having to constantly remind students (especially kids!) that they need to be more ninja-like. Those drops place a ton of weight on our joints, wed say. Most of the time, thats enough for a student. But what happens when a student wants more? If a student asked that golden question: How much weight gets placed on our joints? Wed be stumped!

So we started digging. Of all the articles found, none used any heights over 100cm. 100 cm is 3.2ft – roughly hip height for most adults. The same height of a wall that traceurs vault over like its no biggie. The same height that traceurs look at and think, whatever, Ill just step off it.

Lets get a baseline. What would happen at a certain height if you stepped off and did not bend your knees or try to absorb? We found this amazing article that did just that. Using subjects with an average weight of 64 kg (141lbs for us Americans), this article recorded 4314.10N, 5186.59N, and 6123.48N for 25cm, 50cm, and 75cm respectively. To convert this into laymans terms: a 141lbs person, stepping off a 10 platform and landing straight legged resulted in a force of 939lbs moving through the knee joint. Stepping off a 2.5ft box (75cm) resulted in 1376lbs! That is more than half a ton!

This data obviously means we need to use the mechanics of our legs to save us from these forces. Next up, the toe-heel pattern model. What happens when we try to absorb a little? There were a few different articles to choose from, but this one seemed to be the most concise and used a toe-heel pattern. The highest height measured in this study was 90cm (again, under hip height). The first peak measured (the forefoot touching the ground) reached an average of 5.19x BW. The second peak, or the heel touching the ground, reached 7.82x BW. Again, this is for a height less than hip height. If you weigh 170lbs, using this data, it can reasonably be assumed that when you drop off some smaller sized walls, you would be experiencing a weight of 882.3lbs at initial contact, and 1,329.4lbs at the second! The more we looked at this data and the more we translated the findings into our movement and our students movement, the more scared we became. Sure, it could be argued that taking a drop like this every so often probably isnt that bad, but when you think about your last training session, how many times did you leap off of a wall close to your hip height? Did you land every one of those perfectly? Even so, how many landings sent large amounts of force into your joints over that training session? Volume matters.

Again, it should be said, we dont teach people to land toe-heel. Youd get yelled at by any traceur or parkour coach worth a damn. We teach forefoot only contact and emulate squatting stance to use as much of the hip musculature as possible. So what happens when we use a parkour landing technique? Luckily, we have a parkour superhero and his name is Damien Puddle!


Damien is doing us a whole lot of good by spearheading some of the most focused scientific studies on parkour techniques. One of his articles has been published and is available for free online. Using a height of 75cm, Damien ran his subjects through three scenarios on force plates – the parkour landing, the parkour roll, and a traditional landing (toe-heel pattern). Mean vertical force (expressed in BW) for the parkour landing was 3.2x BW compared to his 5.2x BW traditional landing.

This is huge for us traceurs. Thanks to Damien, it has been scientifically proven that for traceurs the Parkour Landing Technique is vastly more effective at mitigating impact and shock than any other landing technique studied so far. In this present study, the parkour technique helped the athletes absorb 38% more than the traditional landing. Again, this sounds like a win…We did it, guys! But wait…lets hold off on the party for a second…

Lets say that you weigh 170lbs. You drop off of a wall that is 75cm, or rather, 2.5ft. When you hit the ground, youd feel as if you were 544lbs. On a maximal lift, perhaps you can squat twice your bodyweight or 340lbs. Lets add 20% to that since humans are stronger eccentrically than concentrically…that means you could lower 408lbs once (and then get stuck and not get up). So in this scenarios perfect world, there is still 136lbs of force that is finding its way into the knee and hip, compressing these joints together. That is 136lbs still left overevery time you jump off of something 2.5ft high. And that assumes youve landed every one of those perfectly AND have a 2xBW squat.

Perhaps this logic doesn’t work. Perhaps there is some other work at play that mitigates even more of that force and it’s actually not that bad. Perhaps… Perhaps… Perhaps… But the fact remains: we don’t know!



The implications that come from all this data is the real focus for us. Weve established that there is some residual force left over from even low level heights and now we need to figure out what that could mean. In the beginning of this article we drew a parallel to football and outlined how 87 of 91 deceased NFL players have been identified with CTE. If you didnt click through to the link, you should know that the organization was only able to find this information because those 91 NFL players donated their body to science. Unlike football though, which has more than a 150 year history, parkour has only been around for a short time. In addition to that, long-term studies on joint pathology when searched in conjunction with lifestyle sports (such as gymnastics or triple-jumping) yield no decent results. This reiterates our problem: we have no clue as to what long term complications (if any) could come from lifestyles that incorporate repetitive high-impact landing.

The best weve found so far is an article from the 70s in which rabbits were affixed to a device that would impact only one of their hind legs. At the end of the study, these rabbits were sacrificed and their joints studied for pathology. Heres point 7 from their research summary:

7) This mechanical model supports the view that cartilage degeneration may be affected by:

(i) the direct effect of repetitive mechanical compression, i.e. fatigue.

(ii) the decrease in mechanical support of the subchondral bone.

The study here demonstrated significant decline in joint and cartilage health for the impacted joints vs the non-impacted joints. Lets take a look at their method. The researchers affixed the rabbits to a mechanical device that would impact one of their legs with 8.8lbs of force 56 times a minute for an hour a day for 6 weeks. Represented mathematically:

(8.8 x 56) x 60 = 29,568 lbs placed on the joint over an hours time

While we realize this is a stretch (obviously theres a whole mess of inconsistencies when trying to relate this to humans), lets see what a traceur with a 2xBW squat would need to do within an hour to realize their 29,568 lbs of force:

  • 29,568 / 136 = 217.41 perfect 2.5ft landings over an hour (3.2xBW)
  • 29,568 / 306 = 96.62 mediocre form 2.5ft landings over an hour (halfway between the 136 and 476 figures)
  • 29,568 / 476 = 62.11 poor form 2.5ft landings over an hour (5.2xBW)
  • 29,568 / 1,376 = 21.48 straight leg 2.5ft landings over an hour

Again, all of those previous numbers are taking into account the point that the traceur has a 2xBW squat. Most dont. Putting this information into a typical one hour parkour class, a student would need to average 3.62 perfect 2.5ft landings a minute, or 1.61 mediocre 2.5ft landings a minute, or 1.03 poor form 2.5ft landings a minute to reach the rabbit studys figure of 29,568 lbs of impact-volume. The rabbit study discovered significant signs of joint and cartilage degeneration in the rabbits after only 3 weeks. Luckilyour students do not take an hour long parkour class every single day for 6 weeks. Our average student comes ~2x a week and will theoretically have a decent amount of rest in-between their parkour training.

The saving grace here, it should be reiterated, is that this math most likely won’t add up exactly this way. Think of this section as a worst case scenario: the idea that every pound of force left over from a traceur’s max squat would immediately be presented as joint damage. This exact scenario is highly unlikely, but it does help to gain a much needed perspective: impact adds up real fast! Joints are like tires, every mile put on them will wear them down. A speedster will probably need to replace their tires sooner than a cautious driver, but unfortunately for us, there is no joint store.



The point were trying to make here is that while drops and movement related impact is significantly challenging to understand, it can be argued that there is a lot more residual force finding its way into our joints that begs the question, what if its too much? Theres a lot of variables, and impact occurs so quickly that its hard to really develop an understanding as to what all is happening to your body when you land. Were your hips back? Did your heels drop? Were your knees too far forward? How much of the force did you really absorb with your muscles? We arent trying to definitively or concretely say how much impact is too much impact or at what height is too high for us to take drops. Instead, we want to place emphasis on the fact that we do not have any conclusive evidence as to what long-term complications could come from this type of repetitive training! Seemingly, we take way more drops than we think we do and many of us have trained into such a high capacity that we dont give 2.5 or 3ft high drops the respect they deserve.

After having done this research and letting it sink in, weve really started to see just how pervasive the presence of impact is on our bodies. When we teach a pop vault, the usual sweet spot height for an adult is 3ft high (~100cm). The drill is to perform a pop vault, and for those who cannot yet do a pop vault, they are devoting a significant amount of mental energy into that technique. Once they get on top of the box, the drill is over. Without fail, we saw student after student jump off of that 3ft high box. Some of them use good technique…others dont. But what were starting to understand is that even if they put 100% of their mental and physical energy into that drop, they are still putting chronic compressive forces on their knees. It can also be guaranteed that none of the students we are looking at can squat twice their bodyweight. Within the span of an 8 minute drill, a student is dropping off that 3ft box more than a dozen times. This article begs the question: what is our responsibility as this students instructor? To remind them to land quietly? Or, to keep them from possible irreparable damage by designing the drill to have a required low-impact vault dismount, rather than leaving the decision up to the ill-informed student?

Take a step back and think about your training. How high would you say is too high? How often do you take big drops and how often do you take “medium” drops? How often do your students take these drops? It would be such a shame to see the parkour community worldwide, transform into the NFL of the 20th century – turning a blind eye and refusing to talk about a potential problem simply because we didnt like what it might mean for us and our livelihoods.

In the same way, it would be a real failure for someone to read this article and use it as fuel to shame other traceurs for taking big jumps or performing large-scale power moves. While parkour was founded under the principles of Be strong, to be useful, and To live, and to last, there are moments in life where destructive decisions are made because life would be boring without that! But in the same way, life cannot only be about making destructive decisions in pursuit of fun or fame or whatever else. This topic is complicated, and were not trying to say we have all the answers. What this means for us is that we need to encourage a distinction between parkour as a performance and parkour as a discipline. While watching our favorite YouTube parkour stars is magical and exhilarating, expecting trainers to churn out only 10ft kong-pre super athletes is not the end-all-be-all of parkour training and those expectations could really harm aspiring adult tracuers and youth alike.

So what can we do to improve the lives of our kids? Pop Warner Football officially decreed that helmet-to-helmet contact is wrong and will not be permitted in games or in practices. For us as parkour coaches, perhaps we should be discouraging big drops or possibly even medium sized drops with our kid/youth students (even if they land them relatively silently). Think about how many traceurs there are with over 10 years of training under their belt. Now imagine that by the time one of our 5 year old students gets to the age at which those people started, they will have been subject to upwards of three times as much impact volume as most other traceurs. It would be amazing if we could say that getting these kids started now was a great thing …but what if it isnt?

Just because there is no clear or definitive analysis yet as to what chronic damage we may be doing to ourselves, doesnt mean we should continue business as usual and hope for the best. Hopefully this article can serve as the catalyst that makes athletes, coaches, and students take a good hard look at their training and start asking these hard questions that should be answered sooner rather than later.


Possible Solutions

For us at Rochester Parkour, weve decided to make some pretty big leaps (pun intended) toward raising awareness of impact and breeding a new positive atmosphere that encourages everyone to make better decisions when presented with impact. The best visual idea weve come up with recently is mass promotion of height awareness by placing informational placards on all our boxes. Here is an easy example:


Take a box, measure it, and make it known to anyone that might be moving through that space what that drop entails. A student, even our young kids, can easily digest this information and begin to understand that 350lbs is a huge number (or whatever their respective numbers would be)…so it becomes more logical that if they jump off that height, they might be doing harm to their bodies. The results are instant! The idea is that we should be creating environments and atmospheres where our students and kids develop the understanding we want them to on their own, rather than being forced into it. Telling a kid that they didnt land silently and should do better is almost always a negative experience. Presenting information to a kid, encouraging dialog, and having them reason for themselves that they shouldnt jump off this box because it may hurt them is always a positive experience. Now, our kids naturally choose to do any number of their vault dismounts rather than leaping off!

Lastly, we have also chosen to proactively change the way we present our curriculum to our beginner level students. Some examples of this are emphasis on dismounts instead of drops and taking away precision landings from our adult beginner repertoire. Looking at precisions, we found that students would routinely save bad jumps with good balance, shoving and gesticulating their bodies around in order to save a landing and presumably feel successful. Students underwent countless practice jumps trying to lock in that proper landing technique and we began to see that students were all too willing to accept a mediocre precision and immediately add in more distance.

Now, instead of having beginner students work on precision jumps over and over again, eventually developing the balance, strength and control needed to stick a landing, we found that diligently training stationary balance in a horizontal landing position with focus on squat performance on flat ground and working up to a bar transfers to precision jumps later on without taking much impact. Introducing these students to what we call micro-precisions puts emphasis on alignment, reaction time and control from 2 inches away instead of multiple feet. Our adult intermediate students now have a much higher standard and perform precisions with strength and flawless technique upon introducing large scale precisions without having had to rack up quite as many bad jumps to get there (and especially at a time when their bodies were less prepared to handle the associated impact). These are just a few of the ways we as a community have chosen to address our elephant in the room and continue to communicate and educate our members, coaches and associates on this topic.


Call to Action

If youve taken the time to get this far, congratulations! We hope that you are now equipped with a better mentality to help promote the positive and healthy nature of parkour training. Wed like to know your thoughts. This topic absolutely requires discussion! Please comment or share this article with your respective communities and encourage dialogue. The more we discuss, the more we learn and the better we can become as a whole. Alternatively, head on over to the Parkour Research facebook page and start commenting with ideas, thoughts, critiques, and share your strategies for saving our students (and your own) futures! Unlike American Football, Parkours popularity is growing much faster thanks to the internet and social media. Lets use this tool as a way to also beat footballs adoption of preventative measures and turn Parkour into the ultimate healthy lifestyle that it deserves to be!

**Special Thanks should go out to Damien Puddle who helped give feedback of the data presented. We appreciate you!

“We know now that there is ‘method to our madness’ so to speak; parkour landings are safer for us to perform than traditional methods, but they’re unlikely to make us impervious to the potential consequences of sustained drops onto concrete. It’s important for the global parkour community – especially coaches, figureheads and organisations – to get behind this discussion and ensure that our mentoring practices and the language we use fits the situation at hand, because after all, we don’t yet know the truth about the long term affects of our landings.”

-Damien Puddle



Breslow, Jason M. New: 87 Deceased NFL Players Test Positive for Brain Disease. PBS: Frontline. N.p., 18 Sept. 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

Damien L. Puddle and Peter S. Maulder. (2013) Ground Reaction Forces and Loading Rates Associated with Parkour and Traditional Drop Landing Techniques. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 12, 122 – 129.

Football Injuries Data from the 2004/05-2008/09 Seasons. Rep. NCAA, n.d. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

Joshua T. Weinhandl, Jeremy D. Smith, and Eric L. Dugan. (2011) The Effects of Repetitive Drop Jumps on Impact Phase Joint Kinematics and Kinetics. Journal of Applied Biomechanics 27, 108-115.

Majid Davoodi Makinejad, Noor Azuan Abu Osman, Wan Abu Bakar Wan Abas, and Mehdi Bayat. (2013) Preliminary analysis of knee stress in Full Extension Landing. Clinics (Sao Paulo) 68(9): 11801188.

New NFL rules designed to limit head injuries. Wire Reports. N.p., 6 Aug 2010. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

T. Serink, A. Nachemson & G. Hansson (1977) The Effect of Impact Loading on Rabbit Knee Joints, Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica, 48:3, 250-262.

Wenxin Niu, Tienan Feng, Chenghua Jiang, and Ming Zhang. (2014) Peak Vertical Ground Reaction Force during Two-Leg Landing: A Systematic Review and Mathematical Modeling. Biomed Res Int. 2014: 126860.

Westermann, R. W., M. Giblin, A. Vaske, K. Grosso, and B. R. Wolf. Evaluation of Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics Injuries: A 10-Year Observational Study. Sports Health. Vol. 7. 2015. Print. 161-165.

Zhang SN, Bates BT, Dufek JS. (2000) Contributions of lower extremity joints to energy dissipation during landings. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 32(4):812-9.


By |2016-10-19T12:20:15-04:00November 10th, 2015|Featured, Parkour Training|Comments Off on The Impact of Parkour

A New Beginning

Time goes by…

Kind of amazing to see that the last blog post on our roll is from June of 2013. We got busy, and ultimately, I thought I had found my end with writing for a bit. Moves were made, decisions decided, challenges overcome, and new mistakes made. So much has happened since the Summer of 2013…

Rochester Parkour has truly begun to establish itself as one of the leading parkour gyms in the country. Our approach is atypical, bringing an often missed holistic and wellbeing aspect to our training. Our ability to instill good values and bring about high quality movement has drastically improved. It is easily seen through our students movements and training discipline.

This post isn’t meant to be a complete recap of events since the last blog post, but is here rather to signify that whomever we are now is not who we were back then. We have evolved. We are stronger, more complex, and way more passionate about this community than ever before and I think we’re back into the swing of sharing our thoughts and understanding about events, education, and the parkour lifestyle in general.

He hope you enjoy the new us!


By |2018-11-21T23:32:17-05:00November 7th, 2015|Featured, The Gym|Comments Off on A New Beginning

RocPK at the ADK Expo this Saturday!


This Saturday RocPK will be setting up a booth at the ADK Expo at Mendon Ponds along with a bunch of other outdoors oriented sports organizations and workshops. Be sure to head on over anytime between 9am and 4pm to either say hi or participate in one of our free workshops.

Because of this event, there will be no classes held on Saturday, June 8th.

See you there!

By |2018-11-21T23:32:17-05:00June 3rd, 2013|Featured, News|Comments Off on RocPK at the ADK Expo this Saturday!

RocPK’s Spring Gorilla Gauntlet 2013

Like ninja warrior? Then you’ll love RocPK’s Gorilla Gauntlet!

This Saturday, we’ll be setting up the gym to run three unique obstacle courses that will challenge your speed, endurance, strength, and determination. We run several of these a year and this will be the first one for the 2013 year! There’s a bunch of new stuff in the gym and we’re excited to see what we set up.

This event is FREE to watch. Participants must be 16+ and must register on the MindBody site before Saturday. Cost is $10.

Check out this old video from a competition we ran over a year ago! (I can’t believe the gym used to look like that…)

See you there!


By |2018-11-21T23:32:17-05:00March 13th, 2013|Featured, News, The Gym|Comments Off on RocPK’s Spring Gorilla Gauntlet 2013

Holiday LivingSocial!

Welcome to Rochester Parkour! This post will serve as a FAQ and a guide to assist you.

First off, Rochester Parkour, or RocPK, has been teaching in the Rochester area since 2007! We’ve helped thousands improve their balance, coordination, and learn how to have fun again by utilizing play. We’re sure we can help you too!

Have no idea what parkour is? Our Director just recently gave a TED talk on the subject! Be sure to watch it and also read up in our about page found here.

Here are a few Frequently Asked Questions?

Is parkour safe?

Yes, parkour is one of the safest activities you can try. Through slow, progressive challenge, you will expand your abilities more than you ever dreamed possible and you are the sole decider in how fast you improve. Our instructors are some of the best around and through parkour, you will find you will become more balanced and coordinated than ever. Many of our students explain how they feel safer when playing other sports because of their parkour training!

Is parkour hard?

Yes and no. Parkour is training your body through progressive challenge. You won’t be jumping off walls (in fact we rarely do) your first day, but you will be pushing hard learning how to crawl, vault, balance, and climb.

I’m nervous I won’t be good right away

No problem! Parkour is not any single action – it’s a mentality about constantly improving. There is no “good” in parkour and no one will be judging your abilities. In fact, many of our first time student are shocked at the positive atmosphere we have in the gym and the community.

How do I contact you? Where are you located?

The gym is located at 121 Lincoln Avenue. Our email address is and our phone number is 585.204.7537.


By |2016-10-19T12:20:15-04:00December 20th, 2012|Featured, News|Comments Off on Holiday LivingSocial!