Learning how to break a fall in free running is all about figuring out how to get your body to absorb and redistribute energy. There are 3 different ways that you can do this.
Land on your feet. If you are jumping a spot that is not higher than your head, then your knees, ankles and hips will be enough to absorb the impact. To execute a proper landing, always land on the balls of your feet. Your feet are like springs, and landing on your heels means that you will send shocks through your bones and you risk breaking something. The next thing to bend is your knees, slowing your body. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart.
- Use your hands. For jumps or falls that are higher than your head, you may want to use your hands to break part of your fall. Your elbows and shoulders absorb some more of your impact. Place your hands 2-3 feet in front of you about half a foot apart. Do not bend your back, but rather rotate from the hips. If you follow this method, your hands should only come in contact with the ground when necessary. Slapping your hands onto the ground, if there is nothing sharp, also eliminates some stress. This position is also the setup for the final possibility.
- Front roll. One of the fundamental maneuvers for free running is the front roll. Differing from the gymnastic roll in that you roll from one shoulder to the other hip so that you do not hurt your spine. Practice is absolutely necessary to executing a good roll. Take the position you end up in in Step 2. Shift your weight forward onto one of your feet, and curl the hand in front of that foot under, so you are rolling onto your wrist and forearm. Kick your back leg over so that you roll from your front shoulder. Think of a line that runs across your body from one shoulder to your hip, and then point that line in the direction you want to fall. Practice this at least 300 times in a controlled situation before you even think about adding it to your routine. No joke. The more you learn about how to break a fall in free running, the higher places you will be able to fall from.