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Validity And Reliability Of A New Specific Parkour Test: Physiological And Performance Responses

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Main aim of this study was examining validity and reliability of using a new specific Parkour repeated sprint ability test (SPRSA) for assessing repeated sprint ability while facing obstacles and establishing between-day reliability and sensitivity of SPRSA related to its physiological and performance responses. Thirteen high-level traceurs (three females) performed in random order and twice eight tests for assessing a total of 23 variables: SPRSA (a typical maximal-speed shuttle run interspersed with four Parkour competition-common fundamentals) and seven established fitness tests, core stability, hand-grip, vertical-jump, long-jump, pull-up, 300-m shuttle run (as a field test for anaerobic capacity), and Leger test. Except for muscular elasticity index of vertical jump test (Intra-class Correlation Coefficient model 3,1 [ICC3,1]=0.54 [fair]), fitness tests’ ICC3,1s resulted excellent (ICC3,1: 0.93–1.00). SPRSA total time and time of its fastest sprint (SPRSA peak time) were significantly correlated with the majority of core stability (r: -0.79–-0.59; P<0.01–0.05), jumping (r: -0.78–-0.67; P<0.01–0.05), pull-up tests (r: -0.86; P<0.01), 300-m shuttle run test total time (r: 0.77–0.82; P<0.01), and Leger test-estimated VO2max (r: -0.78; P<0.01). Principal component analysis of the 23 variables led to extraction of four significant components (each due to different variables’ combinations), which explained 90.2% of 23 variables’ total variance. SPRSA (i.e., total and peak time) showed high reliability (ICC3,1: 0.991‒0.998 and standard-error-of-measurement %: 0.07‒0.32). Finally, SPRSA showed high sensitivity (smallest-worthwhile-change %: 0.29‒0.68). Considering its excellent logical and strong ecological validity, SPRSA may serve as a valid specific field test for Parkour sport. In addition, thanks to its high reliability and sensitivity, this test is suitable for monitoring, evaluating, and programming training processes for Parkour practitioners in repeated sprint ability involving crossing obstacles.
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fphys-10-01362 October 26, 2019 Time: 15:13 # 1
ORIGINAL RESEARCH
published: 30 October 2019
doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01362
Edited by:
Hassane Zouhal,
University of Rennes 2 – Upper
Brittany, France
Reviewed by:
Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo,
University of Los Lagos, Chile
Pantelis Theodoros Nikolaidis,
University of West Attica, Greece
Antonino Bianco,
University of Palermo, Italy
*Correspondence:
Luca Paolo Ardigò
luca.ardigo@univr.it
These authors share first authorship
Specialty section:
This article was submitted to
Exercise Physiology,
a section of the journal
Frontiers in Physiology
Received: 28 June 2019
Accepted: 14 October 2019
Published: 30 October 2019
Citation:
Padulo J, Ardigò LP, Bianco M,
Cular D, Madic D, Markoski B and
Dhahbi W (2019) Validity
and Reliability of a New Specific
Parkour Test: Physiological
and Performance Responses.
Front. Physiol. 10:1362.
doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01362
Validity and Reliability of a New
Specific Parkour Test: Physiological
and Performance Responses
Johnny Padulo1,2,3, Luca Paolo Ardigò4*, Massimo Bianco3, Drazen Cular2,5,
Dejan Madic6, Branko Markoski7and Wissem Dhahbi8
1Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche per la Salute, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy, 2Sport Performance Lab,
University of Split, Split, Croatia, 3Department of Psychology, University eCampus, Novedrate, Italy, 4School of Exercise
and Sport Science, Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy,
5Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, Split, Croatia, 6Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, University of Novi Sad,
Novi Sad, Serbia, 7Technical Faculty “Mihajlo Pupin”, University of Novi Sad, Zrenjanin, Serbia, 8Sport Science Program,
College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
Main aim of this study was examining validity and reliability of using a new specific
Parkour repeated sprint ability test (SPRSA) for assessing repeated sprint ability while
facing obstacles and establishing between-day reliability and sensitivity of SPRSA
related to its physiological and performance responses. Thirteen high-level traceurs
(three females) performed in random order and twice eight tests for assessing a total
of 23 variables: SPRSA (a typical maximal-speed shuttle run interspersed with four
Parkour competition-common fundamentals) and seven established fitness tests, core
stability, hand-grip, vertical-jump, long-jump, pull-up, 300-m shuttle run (as a field test for
anaerobic capacity), and Leger test. Except for muscular elasticity index of vertical jump
test (intra-class Correlation Coefficient model 3,1 [ICC3,1] = 0.54 [fair]), fitness tests’
ICC3,1s resulted excellent (ICC3,1: 0.93–1.00). SPRSA total time and time of its fastest
sprint (SPRSA peak time) were significantly correlated with the majority of core stability
(r:0.79 to 0.59; P<0.01–0.05), jumping (r:0.78 to 0.67; P<0.01–0.05), pull-up
tests (r:0.86; P<0.01), 300-m shuttle run test total time (r: 0.77–0.82; P<0.01),
and Leger test-estimated VO2max (r:0.78; P<0.01). Principal component analysis
(PCA) of the 23 variables led to extraction of four significant components (each due to
different variables’ combinations), which explained 90.2% of 23 variables’ total variance.
SPRSA (i.e., total and peak time) showed high reliability (ICC3,1: 0.991–0.998 and
standard-error-of-measurement %: 0.07–0.32). Finally, SPRSA showed high sensitivity
(smallest-worthwhile-change %: 0.29–0.68). Considering its excellent logical and strong
ecological validity, SPRSA may serve as a valid specific field test for Parkour sport. In
addition, thanks to its high reliability and sensitivity, this test is suitable for monitoring,
evaluating, and programming training processes for Parkour practitioners in repeated
sprint ability involving crossing obstacles.
Keywords: field test, muscle strength, physiological demands, sport science, testing
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Padulo et al. Specific Parkour Repeated Sprint Test
INTRODUCTION
Parkour is a relatively new individual sport in which athletes try
to negotiate different obstacles by swinging, running, jumping,
and climbing (Coolkens et al., 2018). Parkour athletes specialize
in going through intricate urban environments, which are based
on three dimensions. Meanwhile, ground contact should be
avoided as much as possible (Strafford et al., 2018). Over such
movements, limbs are involved in a wide range of joint positions
(Halsey et al., 2017). Athletes’ interactions with surrounding
environment should be cognition, perception, and action-based
as they become skilled at performing similar or different
movements respecting the properties of the different obstacles
and surfaces (Strafford et al., 2018). Parkour is an acrobatic
sport, in which practitioners exploit movement skills such as
running, climbing, jumping, bi- or uni-pedal landing, hanging,
vaulting, balancing, stepping, hurdling, quadrupedal movement,
and rolling. Likewise, perceptual/control abilities (coordination,
timing, balance, agility, spatial awareness, and muscular strength)
should be developed so that athletes can effectively cope with
environmental features such as gaps, obstacles, surfaces, and
inclines (Aggerholm and Højbjerre Larsen, 2017). Carrying out
Parkour activities necessitates athletes’ involvement in calculating
distances, gap sizes, and surface properties. It also familiarizes
them with environmental features through cognitive skills such
as perception, concentration, creativity, and problem solving
(Strafford et al., 2018). Parkour has been considered as a
distinctive kind of activity thanks to its limited amount of classical
coaching. In fact, skills are not acquired through classical ways
of learning like rigid instructions delivered by coaches, but
they are rather experience, observation, and exploration-based
(Aggerholm and Højbjerre Larsen, 2017).
Recently, Parkour has been growing more and has become
more popular. Therefore, hundreds of youngsters are practicing
it worldwide thanks to its beneficial effects on physical fitness
(Taylor et al., 2011;Grosprêtre and Lepers, 2016), mental health,
and social learning (Grosprêtre and Lepers, 2016;Grosprêtre
et al., 2018). Furthermore, Parkour tremendously contributes
to team-game talent development as athletes are compelled
to face challenging obstacles with different textures, surfaces,
inclinations, areas, sizes, and angles. Fore and foremost, they
have to adjust their movement behaviors so as to fit the changing
environmental backgrounds (Strafford et al., 2018).
Plyometric and eccentric exercises are the main components
of Parkour. They are frequently carried out with relevant
mechanical stress especially in the case of high drop jumps (Miller
and Demoiny, 2008). For Parkour athletes, the entire world
becomes a suitable playground within an urban environment.
By making use only of their physical skills and talents, Parkour
practitioners (or “traceurs”) aim to get from one point to another
in a complex environment full of obstacles, without assistive
equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. They
should learn to use common objects like trees, rails, benches,
and walls as exercise equipment to perform a wide range of
movements including long and standing jumps, drop jumps,
fast climbing, among others (Miller and Demoiny, 2008). In a
recent study, traceurs proved to be more successful than other
power athletes (e.g., gymnastics and field athletes) in exercises
such as specific jumps. They showed more remarkable eccentric
forces as well (Grosprêtre and Lepers, 2016). Therefore, traceurs
represent a new type of athlete able to effectively combine
plyometric exercise with eccentric strength. Traceurs intend to
attain perfection through developing physical ability and spatial
awareness using the “tic tac” technique. Such technique consists
in moving toward obstacles and taking off with a change of
direction. The athlete here must have clear objectives while
dealing with obstacles or drawing on perceptual variables. For
example, he/she has to calculate the time needed before having
any contact with the object to anticipate and thus adjust the
following movement phase (Strafford et al., 2018). So far, very few
studies have considered how Parkour could cause force and jump
skills to develop. Most of them have focused on sociological and
psychological sides (Taylor et al., 2011). As far as physiological
data are concerned, nothing has really been highlighted but
the injuries resulting from falls while Parkour activities are
performed (Miller and Demoiny, 2008).
Data deficiency in the literature about the physical
characteristics of traceurs is quite evident. Yet, that might
help to include one further tool to measure coaching and
testing in Parkour and thus to highlight traceurs’ degree of
psychomotor skill and fitness development or degradation (Kim
et al., 2014). If Parkour skills and fitness have to be assessed over
real performance, evaluation standards need to be especially
established accordingly. This study’s main objective was to
examine the scientific legitimacy of using the new specific
Parkour repeated sprint ability test (SPRSA) for assessing
repeated sprint ability while facing obstacles. Given that all
Parkour events call for restricted-time (Alive After 5,minimum
three 3-min bouts; Best Trick, four 1-min bouts; Style, one
3-min bout; Pairs Battle, five 30-s bouts) or timed trials (Speed;
Pairs Speed;Dueling Speed; and Relay)1, Parkour intermittent
high-intensity activity strongly resembles repeated sprint ability
test paradigm in any case. The fact that Parkour short runs
are interspersed in all its specific explosive fundamentals (e.g.,
swinging, running, jumping, and climbing)2makes it very
similar to a repeated sprint ability test with all its (re)starts,
changes of direction, and stops. Moreover, Parkour does require
a high-level in all the above-mentioned physical abilities, which
some commonly used tests correspond to. Therefore, we planned
to administer such tests to participants, as well.
Looking for correlation between SPRSA and some fitness tests
performances seems more solid in terms of face validity, but
its disadvantage is that it is based on many variables, which
complicate interpretation of results. As such, this method may fall
into redundant use of performance indices. Among best solutions
to reduce these disadvantages there is principal component
analysis (PCA), a statistical approach used to model and highlight
selected data (Zalleg et al., 2018). Main advantage of PCA is that it
facilitates illustration of good models and reduction in variables
and number of dimensions, with minimum loss of information
1Home – International Parkour Federation, https://internationalparkour
federation.com
2Parkour – Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour – Practice
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fphys-10-01362 October 26, 2019 Time: 15:13 # 3
Padulo et al. Specific Parkour Repeated Sprint Test
(Milovanovi´
c and Popovi´
c, 2012). Therefore, PCA method was
selected for physical and physiological characterization of the
new test used in this investigation. Secondary aim was to establish
the between-day reliability, sensitivity and minimal detectable
change of SPRSA and between-day reliability of the fitness tests.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Participants
Using GPower software (Bonn FRG, Bonn University,
Department of Psychology), we found out that 11 subjects were
needed to achieve a statistical power of 80% to detect a small
effect (d= 0.182) regarding SPRSA main variables taken into
consideration (viz. total and peak time and percent decrement)
with a level of significance of 5% and independently of sex.
Therefore, we recruited 13 voluntary traceurs (3 women) to
ensure that no data would be lost. All anthropometric data (age,
body height and mass, body mass index, and total percentage
of body fat) can be found in Table 1. Inclusion criteria for
participation in this study were: a minimum weekly training
frequency of three sessions or a total time of 120 min of Parkour
activities per week, more than one year of Parkour training
experience, and the absence of any physical impediment like
injury or pain that might hamper participants from making
maximal effort at some stage of a Parkour test. Giving a
detailed report of the study’s procedures and rules encouraged
participants or their parents – in case of minor age – to provide
a formal written consent to take part in the study. The protocol
conformed to internationally accepted policy statements
regarding the use of human participants in accordance with
the Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by the local
university’s ethics committee.
Protocol
A cohort-based, randomized, repeated measures study design was
used. Experimental protocol consisted in performing SPRSA and
some fitness tests. Only 1 week before first tests, participants were
summoned – over a single session – to get familiarized with study
experimental protocol. First session of testing was dedicated to
TABLE 1 | Descriptive statistical indicators of morphological variables (n= 13, 10
men and 3 women).
Variable Average Minimum Maximum Standard
deviation
CI 95%
Age (years) 19.08 16 22 3.68 16.85–21.30
TE (years) 3.31 1 9 2.09 2.04–4.57
TW (h) 7.08 2 14 3.73 4.82–9.33
BH (cm) 170.15 152 184 10.02 164.10–176.21
BM (kg) 64.43 38.20 98.60 14.28 55.80–73.07
BMI (kg m2) 21.97 16.50 29.10 3.32 19.96–23.98
FATP (%) 14.58 5.90 27.00 7.25 10.20–18.97
TE = training experience; TW = training week; BH = body height; BM = body
mass; BMI = body mass index; FATP = total percentage of body fat;
CI = confidence interval.
all assessment tests but SPRSA, 300-m shuttle run, and Leger
test, and namely core stability battery test, hand-grip (both sides),
vertical jumps, long jumps, and pull-up. The protocol consisted
in performing the tests in random order, with at least 10-min
recoveries between each test and the next one to avoid fatigue
influence on tests’ outcomes. SPRSA, 300-m shuttle run, and
Leger test were administered on three, following separate days.
All (15) assessment tests were performed twice with 1 week
in-between.
Results about the Parkour tests were gathered at about the
same timing in both sessions (from 09:00 to 11:00 a.m.) so
that any influence on circadian variations on performance could
be avoided (Ammar et al., 2015). Participants were invited not
to change their eating or sleeping habits. Besides, they were
asked not to have a heavy meal 3 h before each session at
least. Fore and foremost, they were advised to avoid doing any
exhausting activity during the 24 h before the test. During the
tests, participants were verbally stimulated by the experimenter
in order to attain maximum effort. To ensure the same testing
conditions, the same raters tested all participants. The test
was performed using a specially designed measuring board out
of doors in a field (measurements were taken every 30 min
during the experiment): temperature 20 ±0.5C and humidity
50 ±10%, monitored by means of a digital environmental station
(Vaisala Oyj, Helsinki, Finland) during test and retest sessions.
Specific Parkour Repeated Sprint Ability
SPRSA was a 15-m, 10-time, maximal-speed shuttle run, with
a 15-s recovery jogging way back (Figure 1). Over each
shuttle, traceurs had to perform four competition-common
fundamentals in the following order: monkey vault, front flip,
precision, and roll. Photocell gates (Brower Timing System, Salt
Lake City, UT, United States; accuracy of 0.01 s) were used to
time each run for total time, and time of its fastest sprint (peak
time) and to calculate percent decrement. Rates of perceived
physical exertion (RPE, as a value of a 6–20 scale; Borg, 1982)
were indicated by traceurs after each shuttle run.
Core Stability
Core stability was assessed by means of five common exercises:
Face plank,Left side plank,Right side plank,Hamstring, and
Quadriceps (Dello Iacono et al., 2016). Maximum time each
traceur was able to go on with each exercise was measured with
a stopwatch. In addition, an overall variable, Total points, was
calculated considering all exercise times as from 0 s to 1 min
30 s = 1 point, from 1 min 30.01 s to 3 min = 2 points, from 3 min
0.01 s to 4 min 30 s = 3 points, and from 4 min 30.01 s to 6 min
30 s = 4 points.
Hand-Grip
Hand-grip, as strength test, was carried out following the protocol
that was exposed by España-Romero et al. (2019). Both hands
(i.e., left and right) were evaluated. The experimenter chose
randomly the hand that he/she would test first. The Takei
Hand Grip Dynamometer (Takei A5401 Digital Hand Grip
Dynamometer; error 0.001 g) was used, a digital tool with an
adjustable grip span (Balogun and Onigbinde, 1991).
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Padulo et al. Specific Parkour Repeated Sprint Test
FIGURE 1 | New specific Parkour repeated sprint test with four competition-common fundamentals over forward leg (backward leg = 15-s recovery jogging).
Vertical Jump
For squat-jump (SJ), experimenters asked participants to initiate
from an upright standing position and to keep their hands on
their hips (Laffaye et al., 2016). Experimenters also instructed
participants to keep their knees flexed in a position assigned
(90) for a 3-s count ( ˇ
Cular et al., 2018b). Subsequently
experimenters asked participants to jump as high as possible
provided they did not make any countermovement (Padulo et al.,
2013). For countermovement jump (CMJ), subjects held their
hands on their knees – without moving them – in an upright
standing position. After that, experimenters invited participants
to flex down their knees (90) in a fast and swift way and
then jump as high as possible in the following concentric phase.
Experimenters did not consider incorrect jumps, but, on the
contrary, they urged participants to retry. To measure vertical
ground reaction force during jumping, a force platform (Quattro-
Jump 9290AD, Kistler, Winterthur, Switzerland) was tightly
placed on the ground. A personal computer with manufacturer’s
software (QJ 1.0.9.2, Kistler, Winterthur, Switzerland) was
connected to force platform providing vertical jump assessment.
In addition to specific SJ and CMJ assessments, elastic
contribution due to CMJ’s countermovement was calculated as
the muscular elasticity variable, i.e., (CMJ height–SJ height)/CMJ
height (%) (Komi and Bosco, 1978).
Long Jump
Long jump performance was assessed by administering traceurs
two tests: from standing (Standing long jump) and after a 15-
m run-up (Leaping long jump 15 m). Long jump distances
were measured with a measuring tape. In addition, an overall
variable, Total points, was calculated simply as Standing long jump
distance +Leaping long jump 15 m distance (Padulo et al., 2014).
Pull-Up
For the pull-up test, participants hung from a horizontal bar
(5-cm diameter), with hands between one and one-and-a-half
shoulder-widths apart from each other, with prone grip (i.e.,
with palms turned away from face), and arms fully extended.
To execute a successful pull-up, participants had to have their
chins clear the bar (i.e., they had to lift their chins above the
bar). These exercises are called chin-ups and they are effective
for building bigger arms. Unfortunately, chin-ups are spoiled if
participants try to swing their bodies, neglect to stretch their arms
fully (i.e., absence of full arm extension), or lift their chins (i.e.,
neck extension; Dhahbi et al., 2018).
300-m Shuttle Run
As a field test for anaerobic capacity, the 300-m shuttle run
test was used, consisting of a 20-m, 15-time, maximal-speed,
and continuous shuttle run (Moore and Murphy, 2003). 300-
m shuttle run test times were measured with a photocell gate
(Brower Timing System, Salt Lake City, UT, United States;
accuracy of 0.01 s; Dhahbi et al., 2018).
Leger Test
Maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) was estimated
with the maximal multistage 20-m shuttle run Leger test
[standard error of measurement (SEM) 4.7 ml kg1min1;
Léger et al., 1988].
Statistical Analysis
SPSS version 23.0 for Windows (SPSS, Inc., Chicago, IL,
United States) was used to perform data analyses. After verifying
the normality of distributions with the Kolmogorov–Smirnov
method, it were calculated means and standard deviations.
Pearson’s correlation coefficient estimations were calculated to
assess strength of relationships between SPRSA and fitness tests
variables. Moreover, PCA was performed so that the main
component summarizing the 23 considered variables was found.
At this stage, the procedure illustrated by Kollias et al. (2001)
was used. Quite an important amount of principal components
in the pattern matrix extracted by PCA was selected with an
eigenvalue higher than 1 (Kaiser criterion). Original matrix was
rotated to extract the appropriate variables using a normalized
varimax (maximum variation) rotation. Relative reliability of
SPRSA and fitness tests was assessed by calculating their Intra-
class Correlation Coefficient model 3,1 (ICC3,1). Furthermore,
absolute reliability of SPRSA was expressed in terms of its
SEM and coefficients of variation (CV). In order to assess
test sensitivity, it was resorted to weighing smallest worthwhile
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Padulo et al. Specific Parkour Repeated Sprint Test
TABLE 2 | Descriptive statistical indicators and Intra-class Correlation Coefficient reliability indexes (n= 13, 10 men and 3 women).
Tests Variable Average Minimum Maximum SD CI 95% ICC3,1
Core stability Face plank (s) 210.05 97.47 342.34 78.96 162.34–257.77 1.00
Left side plank (s) 102.38 56.70 157.21 35.82 80.74–124.02 0.99
Right side plank (s) 103.02 60.13 163.58 37.57 80.31–125.72 0.99
Hamstring (s) 163.60 55.46 304.54 73.59 119.13–208.07 1.00
Quadriceps (s) 132.55 65.34 190.11 40.00 108.38–156.72 1.00
Total points (score) 10.38 6.00 14.00 2.79 8.70–12.07 1.00
Hand-grip Dominant (kg) 43.38 20.70 75.30 14.75 34.47–52.30 0.99
No dominant (kg) 40.81 22.40 71.10 13.14 32.87–48.75 0.99
Vertical jump SJ height (cm) 35.60 22.67 42.97 6.19 31.86–39.34 1.00
SJ net impulse (Ns) 171.15 96.12 272.29 46.54 143.03–199.27 1.00
CMJ height (cm) 38.29 24.39 46.67 6.93 34.10–42.48 0.98
CMJ net impulse (Ns) 177.54 99.30 282.44 48.84 148.03–207.06 0.93
Muscular elasticity (%) 7.87 4.35 12.27 2.20 128.31 to 58.37 0.54
Long jump Standing long jump (cm) 198.46 149.00 239.00 28.62 181.17–215.76 0.99
Leaping long jump 15 m (cm) 355.77 250.00 407.00 48.90 326.22–385.32 1.00
Total points (cm) 554.23 399.00 636.00 75.85 508.40–600.07 1.00
Pull-up Pull-up (score) 11.00 1.00 20.00 5.18 7.87–14.13 0.98
300-m shuttle run test Total time (s) 92.79 83.53 135.06 14.08 84.28–101.30 0.98
Leger test VO2max (ml kg1min1) 45.37 40.25 50.75 2.72 43.72–47.01 1.00
SPRSA Total time (s) 85.26 63.30 122.57 22.06 71.93–98.59 1.00
Peak time (s) 6.75 4.80 10.20 1.81 5.65–7.84 0.99
Percent decrement (%) 26.63 20.07 36.00 5.49 23.31–29.95 0.75
RPE (score) 16.38 13.00 18.00 1.85 15.27–17.50 1.00
SD = standard deviation; SPRSA = specific Parkour repeated sprint ability test; CMJ = countermovement jump; SJ = squat jump; RPE = rating of perceived exertion;
ICC3,1 = Intra-class Correlation Coefficient model 3,1.
change (SWC) against SEM, focusing on the thresholds proposed
by Liow and Hopkins (2003). Minimal detectable change at
95% confidence interval (MDC95 ) was also calculated for SPRSA
variables. Heteroscedasticity was investigated. Significance for all
the statistical tests was set at P0.05.
RESULTS
Results showed data were normally distributed (Kolmogorov-
Smirnov P= 0.06–0.88). Except for muscular elasticity index of
vertical jump test (ICC1,3= 0.54 [fair]), fitness tests’ ICC3,1s
resulted excellent (ICC3,1: 0.93–1.00). Descriptive SPRSA and
fitness tests performances collected are shown in Table 2. It is
noteworthy that lack of sex effect was confirmed regarding all our
new SPRSA variables (Supplementary Material).
Pairwise analysis of SPRSA total time, peak time, and
percent decrement indices revealed no significant between-days
difference (P= 0.053–0.217). Moreover, total time and peak time
assessments showed an excellent reliability (ICC3,1s>0.99,
CV: 1.47–3.39%, and SEM: 0.07–0.32%). On the other hand,
SPRSA assessments showed a good sensitivity, given that SEM
values were smaller than SWC ones (SWC = 0.29 and 0.68%
for total time and peak time, respectively). In addition, MDC95
for total time and peak time were small (0.16 s, Table 3).
On the other hand, percent decrement showed poor absolute
reliability (CV = 11.79% and SEM = 5.85%) and marginal
sensitivity (SEM = 5.85% >SWC = 2.37% and MDC95 = 16.21%).
Heteroscedasticity coefficients for total time, peak time, and
percent decrement variables were all “strong” and significant (r:
0.61–0.71; P: 0.007–0.028).
Total time, peak time, and RPE of SPRSA (Figure 2) were
significantly correlated with the majority of core stability tests:
Left side plank,Right side plank,Quadriceps, and Total points (r:
0.79 [strong]–0.59 [moderate]; P: 0.001–0.035). Furthermore,
total time was significantly correlated with jump and pull-
up tests: SJ height, CMJ height, standing long jump, Leaping
long jump 15 m, and Total points (r:0.87 [very strong]–0.57
[moderate]; P: 0.002–0.041). In addition, total time and peak
time of SPRSA correlated with 300-m shuttle run test total time
(r= 0.78 [very strong]; P= 0.002 and r= 0.82 [very strong];
P= 0.001, respectively) and with VO2max estimated from Leger
test (r= 0.78 [very strong] and r= 0.78 [very strong], respectively;
P= 0.002; Table 4).
PCA of the 23 variables led to extraction of four significant
components (each due to different variables’ combinations). The
first rotated component explained 34.8% of the 23 variables’ total
variance, whereas the second explained 25.3%, the third 22.2%,
and the fourth 7.9% (Table 5). All principal components together
explained 90.2% of the 23 variables’ total variance.
DISCUSSION
As far as we know, this study is really original since it
is the first one ever to suggest an ecological assessment of
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Padulo et al. Specific Parkour Repeated Sprint Test
TABLE 3 | Relative and absolute reliability variables and minimal detectable change at 95% confidence interval of the specific Parkour repeated sprint ability test.
Variable Mean ±SD ICC3,1(95%CI) CV% SEM (%) SWC (%) MDC95 (%)
Session 1 Session 2
Total time (s) 85.26 ±22.06 85.73 ±21.30 0.998 (0.995–0.999) 1.47 0.06 (0.07) 0.25 (0.29) 0.16 (0.18)
Peak time (s) 6.75 ±1.81 6.66 ±1.64 0.991 (0.972–0.997) 3.39 0.02 (0.32) 0.05 (0.68) 0.06 (0.89)
Percent decrement (%) 26.63 ±5.49 28.57 ±3.60 0.754 (0.370–0.918) 11.79 1.61 (5.85) 0.65 (2.37) 4.47 (16.21)
RPE (score) 16.38 ±1.85 16.38 ±1.85 1.00 (1.00–1.00) 0.00 0.00 (0.00) 0.00 (0.00) 0.00 (0.00)
RPE = rating of perceived exertion; ICC3,1 = Intra-class Correlation Coefficient model 3,1; CV = coefficient of variation; SEM = standard error of measurement;
SWC = smallest worthwhile change; MDC95 = minimal detectable change at 95% confidence interval.
FIGURE 2 | New specific Parkour repeated sprint test sprint times (means and standard deviations).
validity, reliability, and sensitivity of a new specific Parkour
skill test. Main aim of this research was to study the scientific
legitimacy of using a new repeated sprint ability-inspired
specific Parkour test (SPRSA) for assessing Parkour ability
including its sub-ability of crossing obstacles. Further aim
to establish SPRSAs between-day reliability, sensitivity, and
minimal detectable change and some fitness tests’ between-
day reliability. Parkour’s testing is indeed a field where little
is known (Grosprêtre and Lepers, 2016). Main findings are
the significant relationships found between SPRSAs total time,
peak time, and RPE and the majority of core stability,
jumping and pull-up, and 300-m shuttle run tests and
VO2max estimates. In addition, PCA revealed that the
aforementioned 23 SPRSA and fitness tests variables resulted
in the extraction of four significant components (each due
to different variables’ combinations). Finally, SPRSA showed
high reliability and sensitivity for assessing Parkour-specific
repeated sprint ability especially regarding crossing obstacles.
However, SPRSA’s absolute percent decrement showed poor
absolute reliability and marginal sensitivity.
“A test has face validity or logical validity when it obviously
measures the desired skill or ability” (Zalleg et al., 2018). As
a test focused on basic athletic abilities and skills, SPRSA
enables athletes to give proof of their real abilities and skills
(Zalleg et al., 2018). In this study, what needed to be assessed was
potential Parkour performance. To be more specific, we focused
on a selected set of repeated sprints by crossing obstacles and
involving upper and lower limbs like typical Parkour actions.
Performance of SPRSA refers to jumping ability, sprint, and
the explosive force produced by the upper limb as a whole.
Consequently, we logically considered SPRSA as the most
suitable test for Parkour performance so far.
Between-day reliability represents an important aspect of
performance testing. Poor reliability might result in different
scores for the examinee across two test sessions, which may
lead to erroneous data interpretation (Currell and Jeukendrup,
2008;ˇ
Cular et al., 2018a). Relative reliability, that shows
maintenance of group position (rank order) of a test across
two measures, can be measured by means of ICC (Currell and
Jeukendrup, 2008). With ICC3,1s ranging from 0.75 [good] to
1.00 [excellent], SPRSA (e.g., its total time, peak time, and
percent decrement) demonstrated a high relative reliability. For
this reason, we really needed SEM examination that granted
an absolute index of reliability (Weir, 2005) to confirm ICC
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Padulo et al. Specific Parkour Repeated Sprint Test
TABLE 4 | Correlation matrix for the entire group.
SPRSA
Tests Total time Peak time Percent decrement RPE
Core stability Face plank 0.345 0.371 0.237 0.484
Left side plank 0.789∗∗ 0.793∗∗ 0.155 0.734∗∗
Right side plank 0.744∗∗ 0.742∗∗ 0.115 0.729∗∗
Hamstring 0.206 0.150 0.172 0.320
Quadriceps 0.6180.5880.023 0.704∗∗
Total points 0.6380.6110.015 0.629
Hand-grip Dominant 0.137 0.115 0.105 0.138
No dominant 0.117 0.093 0.121 0.113
Vertical jump SJ height 0.724∗∗ 0.758∗∗ 0.202 0.514
SJ net impulse 0.228 0.239 0.036 0.187
CMJ height 0.776∗∗ 0.785∗∗ 0.083 0.571
CMJ net impulse 0.252 0.256 0.001 0.213
Muscular elasticity 0.346 0.231 0.515 0.265
Long jump Standing long jump 0.6740.692∗∗ 0.161 0.647
Leaping long jump 15 m 0.775∗∗ 0.784∗∗ 0.078 0.572
Total points 0.754∗∗ 0.767∗∗ 0.111 0.613
Pull-up Pull-up 0.858∗∗ 0.865∗∗ 0.105 0.783∗∗
300-m shuttle run test Total time 0.775∗∗ 0.820∗∗ 0.297 0.522
Leger test VO2max 0.782∗∗ 0.780∗∗ 0.044 0.656
SPRSA = specific Parkour repeated sprint ability test; CMJ = countermovement jump; SJ = squat jump; RPE = rating of perceived exertion. Significant at 0.05 level
(2-tailed). ∗∗ Significant at 0.01 level (2-tailed).
results. SEM provides an estimate of measurement error.
Moreover, if data are heteroscedastic, which is true for all
variables of this study (r: 0.61–0.71; P<0.05), CV analysis
may be more useful than SEM in establishing absolute reliability
(Currell and Jeukendrup, 2008). With homoscedastic data,
SEM analysis is recommended (Atkinson and Nevill, 1998).
Between-day CV values lower than 5% may be interpreted
as good absolute reliability (Nevill and Atkinson, 1997). This
investigation’s total time and peak time CVs were less than
3.5%. Total time and peak time SEMs were less than 1%, which
can be considered good (<5%; Atkinson and Nevill, 1998),
whereas percent decrement showed poor absolute reliability
(SEMs and CVs >5%). Furthermore, the likelihood that
differences in SPRSA outcomes were paramount (i.e., SWC
larger than the SEM) was equally assessed. As for total time
and peak time, SEMs were smaller than SWCs (Table 3),
indicating that measurements had “good” potential to detect
real changes in performance outputs. In contrast, SWC for
percent decrement (2.37%) was smaller than corresponding SEM
(5.85%, Table 3). MDC95 values for total time, peak time, and
percent decrement were 0.16 s, 0.06 s, and 4.47%, respectively.
Thus, a change in total time, peak time, and percent decrement
values exceeding 0.16 s, 0.06 s, and 4.47%, respectively, can be
accepted as a true response (Atkinson and Nevill, 1998;ˇ
Cular
et al., 2018a). Furthermore, the likelihood that differences in
SPRSA outcomes were paramount was equally assessed. For
this reason, we can say that the suggested Parkour course and
evaluation procedure seemed to be particularly effective to assess
Parkour skill and fitness level over school or extracurricular
physical education.
Parkour athletes show exceptional gymnastic and athletic
skills that allow them to imitate the agility of arboreal
monkeys (Halsey et al., 2017). They focus on building up
new techniques that allow them to move through complex
and three-dimensional urban environment limiting contact with
the ground as much as possible (Halsey et al., 2017). Such
techniques should involve limbs (arms and legs) in various
joint positions and in both suspension and compression (Hunt
et al., 1996). PCA can be a valuable tool for selectively limiting
the closely interrelated physical requirement variables used to
assess Parkour performance to a smaller number of variables
to explain the same amount of data variance (Zalleg et al.,
2018). Consequently, PCA can group together highly interrelated
predictor variables at no risk of losing important information,
eliminating the burden of dealing with too many variables
(Kollias et al., 2001). PCA model used had four principal
components and accounted for 90.18% of total variance of 23
variables selected as critical for assessing Parkour performance.
SPRSA peak time loaded highly on first factor, with a factor
loading of 0.91 (Table 5). SPRSA total time also showed
a high negative factor loading (0.90) on first component,
indicating a high yet significant relationship with total time.
The second rotated principal component was identified as
vertical jump impulses and hand-grip forces (Table 5). SJ
net impulse, CMJ net impulse, and both dominant and no
dominant hand-grip force loaded highly on second component
(commonalities 0.93). Urban Parkour performance frequently
includes high-speed impacts against hard surfaces. For example,
Parkour athletes usually jump down from different altitudes
sometimes reported to be more than 20 feet high (6.1 m).
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Padulo et al. Specific Parkour Repeated Sprint Test
TABLE 5 | Principal component analysis for specific Parkour repeated sprint ability and fitness tests including factor loadings, commonalities, eigenvalue for each
variable, and percentage of variance for each rotated component. Factor loadings lower than 0.6 were not included in the table.
Variables Factor loadings Commonalities
1 2 3 4
SPRSA peak time 0.914 0.953
SPRSA total time 0.899 0.950
Pull-up 0.876 0.908
300-m shuttle run test total time 0.870 0.815
VO2max 0.863 0.778
CMJ height 0.783 0.916
SJ height 0.771 0.903
Leaping long jump 15 m 0.722 0.973
Long jump total points 0.700 0.981
SPRSA RPE 0.691 0.733
SJ net impulse 0.968 0.978
CMJ net impulse 0.968 0.980
No dominant hand-grip force 0.961 0.951
Dominant hand-grip force 0.935 0.926
Standing long jump 0.675 0.891
Core stability total points 0.925 0.961
Hamstring 0.890 0.908
Face plank 0.886 0.894
Right side plank 0.832 0.968
Left side plank 0.809 0.969
Quadriceps 0.741 0.805
SPRSA percent decrement 0.879 0.795
Muscular elasticity 0.826 0.805
Eigenvalue 8.00 5.82 5.10 1.82
Percentage of variance 34.80 25.28 22.18 7.93
SPRSA = specific Parkour repeated sprint ability test; CMJ = counter-movement jump; SJ = squat jump; RPE = rating of perceived exertion.
They learn different landing techniques to manage two-footed
landing impacts (precision) and roll (Croft and Bertram, 2017).
Regarding physical characteristics, traceurs attain CMJ heights
(38 cm) similar to both gymnasts’ and other power athletes’
(Grosprêtre and Lepers, 2016). Interestingly, traceurs attain
greater SJ heights (36 cm) than both gymnasts and other
power athletes (Grosprêtre and Lepers, 2016). Both traceurs’
and power athletes train a lot repeated jumps on hard
surfaces such as concrete obstacles. This could justify their
high achievements in CMJ and SJ performances. As regards to
physical characteristics, current results show that traceurs show
very important plyometric skills and exceptional upper-to-lower
limb coordination, which are considered essential requirements
for high-level long jump performance (Grosprêtre and Lepers,
2016). In addition, arboreal apes’ axial systems’ demands are
particularly high, because high mobility and high grip forces are
required for their body so that it could be maneuvered through
the complex three-dimensional forest environment (Myatt et al.,
2012). Such high demands result in forearm flexor muscles
that are nearly four times larger than those in cursorial species
like leopards or horses (Alexander et al., 1981). The third
rotated principal component was identified as core stability
(Table 5). Core stability total points loaded highly on third
component (factor loading of 0.93). SPRSA percent decrement
loaded highly negatively on fourth factor (factor loading of
0.88, Table 5). Muscular elasticity variable also showed a
high but positive factor loading (0.83) on fourth component,
indicating a high but not significant relationship with SPRSA
percent decrement. In summary, 100% of SPRSA and fitness tests
variables were well approximated by the principal components
model as indicated by high communality scores, which ranged
between 0.73 for SPRSA RPE and 0.98 for long jump Total
points. Principal Components Analysis model displayed in this
study revealed a great extrapolative performance in accounting
for the SPRSA result.
Our sample of subjects may provide preliminary reference
values for our test. Our new SPRSA results an effective and time-
efficient test. As this researchs limitations, we acknowledge that
a greater sample size and restricting it to only men or women
would have made test’s reference values stronger.
CONCLUSION
Specific Parkour repeated sprint ability test was originally
designed to assess repeated sprint ability, especially regarding
crossing obstacles, in Parkour practitioners. Significant
relationships were found between SPRSAs total time, peak
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fphys-10-01362 October 26, 2019 Time: 15:13 # 9
Padulo et al. Specific Parkour Repeated Sprint Test
time, and RPE and the majority of core stability, jumping and
pull-up, 300-m shuttle run tests, and VO2max estimates. In
addition, a huge extrapolative physical fitness profile was revealed
by the PCA model in traceurs for SPRSA. SPRSA also showed
high reliability and sensitivity for assessing. All this indicates
SPRSA has strong logical and ecological validity as a test of
Parkour-specific repeated sprint ability, especially with regard to
crossing obstacles.
DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT
The datasets generated for this study are available on request to
the corresponding author.
ETHICS STATEMENT
The studies involving human participants were reviewed and
approved by the University of Novi Sad Ethics Committee. All
subjects or their parents gave their written informed consent to
participate in the study after receiving a thorough explanation of
the study’s protocol.
AUTHOR CONTRIBUTIONS
All authors listed have made a substantial, direct and intellectual
contribution to the work, and approved it for publication.
FUNDING
This work was partially supported by the Serbian Ministry of
Education and Sciences (Grants Nos. 171039 and 179011).
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We cordially thank all the participants, who contributed to the
completion of this study for their commitment and enthusiasm.
SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIAL
The Supplementary Material for this article can be found
online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.
2019.01362/full#supplementary-material
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Conflict of Interest: The authors declare that the research was conducted in the
absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a
potential conflict of interest.
Copyright © 2019 Padulo, Ardigò, Bianco, Cular, Madic, Markoski and Dhahbi.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums
is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited
and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted
academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not
comply with these terms.
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... Recently, Dvořák, Baláš, and Martin (2018) sought to confirm the reliability of a Parkour skills assessment tool, however, it was also reliant on ratings of coaches and so was again limited by subjectivity of interpretation. Most recently, Padulo et al. (2019) validated a Parkour specific repeated sprint ability test (SPRSA) and, whilst it has the advantage of providing an objective and quantifiable measure, it nevertheless only assesses linear performance (when movements are performed in a straight line). As identified by Strafford et al. (2020), Parkour is a highly variable performance landscape, rich in many diverse affordances. ...
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Parkour is a growing sport that mostly involves jumping, vaulting over obstacles, and climbing in a non-dedicated setting. The authors gathered all known relevant literature across miscellaneous academic fields in order to define parkour with regard to other sports disciplines. Parkour is a lifestyle sport, and as such provides an alternative to mainstream sports, away from strict rules, standardized settings, and necessary competitions. Traceurs (parkour adepts) consider the city as a playground and as an outlet for their creativity, but they also have a strong taste for hard and individualized challenges. They usually train on non-specific structures, at ground level. Although their social background is not clear, they are mostly young and male. Traceurs are stronger than recreational athletes, especially in eccentric exercises. However, their endurance skills may be below average. One of the core specificities of parkour is its precision constraint at landing, which turns a standing long jump into a precision jump, regulated in flight so as to prepare for landing. The running precision jump follows the same landing pattern, and its flight phase contrasts with long jump techniques. Injuries, which are not more frequent than in other sports, often occur at landing and to lower limb extremities. This risk is mitigated by targeting the landing area with the forefoot instead of letting the heel hit the ground like in gymnastics, or with rolling in order to dissipate the impact. Overall, parkour focuses on adaptability to new environments, which leads to specific techniques that have not yet been extensively addressed by the literature.
... Such competition frameworks can influence the scientific study of parkour despite a lack of widespread acceptance. Padulo et al. (2019) proposed a parkour-specific fitness test to assess traceurs competitive skills but drew from only one source of competition guidance (International Parkour Federation, 2019) to justify their choice of included skills. Other forms of parkour competition, such as speed run events where a traceur is given a fixed beginning and endpoint but are free to determine their method of traversing the environment, may be a more ecologically valid method of measuring parkour performance (Strafford et al., 2021). ...
Thesis
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Parkour is a discipline in which practitioners (traceurs) traverse their environment using a variety of movements. Parkour’s decentralised spread and community commitment to diverse practice does not provide easily identifiable definitions or outcome measures for a given movement. This can make it challenging to identify a dependent variable of a parkour movement for study or qualitative assessment. In the absence of objective parkour technique definitions, 15 parkour coaches were interviewed about the performance and goals of a common parkour technique, the kong vault. This sampling of expert knowledge provided a broad yet detailed overview of a movement that can be performed with a high degree of variability within a dynamic range of environments. Subsequent analysis led to the development of a deterministic model intended to assist in the understanding of the kong vault in application to highly individual or situational outcomes, rather than comprehensively prescribing objective performance. The model positions the kong vault as consisting of distinct take-off, obstacle contact, and flight phases, and allows connection to any subsequent landing or movement. Flight is determined by the actions taken during take-off and obstacle contact, with obstacle contact making only moderate changes to an existing projectile arc but expressing a greater change in the angular momentum of the body. The optimal outcome of the kong vault can therefore be considered as achieving a projectile arc and body position that effectively places the traceur in as advantageous position as possible to efficiently and consistently perform a given landing or movement.
... Rather than developing maximum power as in track and field disciplines, parkour involves producing the right amount of power in order to reach accurately the targeted distance [70]. Since tests from other sports are not adapted to fully evaluate the multiplicity of parkour skills, specific tests are starting to be developed [71][72][73]. ...
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Parkour is a growing sport that mostly involves jumping, vaulting over obstacles, and climbing in a non dedicated setting. The authors gathered all known relevant literature across miscellaneaous academic fields in order to define parkour with regards to other sports disciplines.Parkour is a lifestyle sport, and as such provides an alternative to mainstream ones, away from strict rules, standardized settings, and necessary competitions. Traceurs (parkour adepts) consider the city as a playground and as an outlet for their creativity, but they also have a strong taste for hard and individualized challenges. They usually train on non specific structures, at ground level. Although their social background is not clear, they are mostly young and male.Traceurs are stronger than recreational athletes, especially in eccentric exercises. However, their endurance skills may be below average. One of the core specificities of parkour is its precision constraint at landing, which turns a standing long jump into a precision jump, regulated on-line so as to prepare for landing. The running precision jump follows the same landing pattern, and its flight phase contrasts with long jump techniques. Injuries, which are not more frequent than in other sports, often occur at reception and on lower limb extremities. This risk is coped with targeting the landing area with the forefoot instead of letting the heel hit the ground like in gymnastics, or with rolling in order to dissipate the impact. Overall, parkour focuses on adaptability to new environments, which leads to specific techniques that have not yet been extensively addressed by the literature.
... Plank test was modified according to Padulo et al. [32]. This test aimed at holding an elevated position for as long as possible. ...
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