Human vs Concrete – Knowing Parkour Surfaces

I have a confession: I like to caress the walls I vault. Interaction with the environment is an enjoyable part of parkour and makes it a unique sport. ‘Parkour vision,’ where you stop simply passing through your surroundings and start assessing them is a form of environmental interaction. Knowing your surfaces is another form and it is very important for parkour.

Imagine you’ve vaulted over a wall and spotted your precision landing. Would things change if you were landing on concrete or on painted metal? How about if they were wet?

Traceurs encounter many surfaces and knowing how each will affect your parkour practice is key. Jumping from gravel transfers less energy than concrete, affecting how high you can jump. A wooden obstacle may give under your weight, a metal one may cut you. Landing on grass will absorb impact whereas smooth concrete may be dusty and slippery.

Parkour Girld Hand Stand - Lake Louise Banff

Hand stand in Larch Valley, Lake Louise, Alberta.

Take time and get to know the surfaces you will be using during your parkour training. Your body remembers even quick tactile interactions like pushing on a wall or checking the friction between your shoes and a landing surface. A smart traceur trusts their body and will check a new practice area before beginning. This prepares you for safe and successful freerunning or parkour practice.

Concrete, brick, trees, plastic, sand, wood, metal, gravel – by knowing various surface conditions you can become comfortable and your expertise will expand to different environments … get creepy if you go out for a walk today: reach out and feel the surfaces around you!


Learn the ups and downs of discovering parkour.

One response »

  1. […] arriving in a new town planning to practice parkour, it pays to take some time and get to know the surfaces and hazards. But what about coming back to a place you know after being away? Have things changed […]

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