Parkour is considered a discipline of body control that uses a combination of different survival skills. There are situations when knowing them can be useful, particularly when it comes to your health (and even your life if you are an adrenalin junkie). The essence of parkour is to reveal to one-self how to use the power and articulate the body’s possibilities to their fullest extent.
So, can anyone learn parkour? Almost. It depends on many factors like perseverance, patience, and stamina because the art of parkour is far from simple. On one hand, this sport is a risk hazard, but on the other, it pushes the boundaries we only limit ourselves with.
Every year the number of people who try it is increasing. Many parkour training centers are opened in countries all over the world, where people can spend their time studying the sport. In this article, we will be covering the basics for those thinking about starting this incredible and agile journey.
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Is Parkour for Everybody?
The community said so. Since the beginning of this century, the most experienced trackers have shared their experience, skills, and knowledge in every country and city where people are willing to learn.
Parkour coaches present this activity as an ongoing learning process. No matter if you have the experience, or not, in any sport. It is not a priority.
Activity-driven fun comes before sporting performances with the entire (parkour) community supporting personal growth. This concept is developed as a support system where acceptance, help, and trust are the main pillars regardless of gender, origin, or achievements.
Preparation for Parkour
No one becomes a tracer all of a sudden. Before learning parkour you need good preparations.
Physical Requirements for Doing Parkour
Parkour requires good physical condition:
- A healthy lifestyle with good food and fewer bad habits.
- Any sport can be efficient, such as daily exercise and jump rope.
- It is important to build up your body gradually, and the exercises need to use all types of muscle groups.
- After finishing the general PA, you can start the specialized training.
General Parkour Exercises
To become good at parkour, it is important to practice at least an hour every day.
- Each training should start by worming up.
- Experienced tracers use running and high jumps to train, they do this as additional daily practice.
- The most important basics: push-ups, pull-ups, and pumping up the pressure in your muscles.
Additional Parkour Exercises
Keep in mind that not every sportsman can do parkour.
- Fast assessment is key, and sports with a ball can complement your training of attention and reaction speed.
- Movement coordination is also important, and you can start by balancing.
- Since parkour tricks are complex, it is better to hire a trainer and learn slowly in a controlled environment because of the high risk of fracturing a ligament, and sometimes these injuries never fully heal.
Learn Parkour From the Beginning
Balance is everything in parkour- your safety net and condition to advance. To train your vestibular apparatus (or your center of balance) try doing a headstand every morning. It takes practice and pressure. It is necessary to increase muscle mass, as you need to do complex ‘tricks’ in parkour. Remember that it can be a good thing to just sit and watch others train, as you can learn a lot from someone who has more experience.
Balancing practice can be done on any type of board that is 1,5m off the ground. Try balancing on one foot, changing them from time to time. Later down the road, you can progress to jumping from one foot to another. Use different kinds of training, look up experts in this field if you can, and follow directions to the last possible detail.
What Is the Difference Between Parkour and Freerunning?
It seems that both terms are used frequently, and yes, they are quite similar. But there is a slight difference.
Tracers maneuver in an urban surrounding with efficient use of jumps, turns, and other complex moves. There is no need for additional acrobatic tricks. In freerunning, efficiency is moved to the background, leaving the stage for sharp acrobatic movement – it is a viewer-friendlier sport.
At the end of the day, if you are watching a video where people turn during jumps or they are pushing against the wall, those are freerunners. Jumping on walls from a single spot, or climbing the walls freehand and slow, those are tracers enjoying some parkour.
Basic Movements in Parkour
There are many things you need to know to be able to excel in parkour, but this discipline comes often from personal experience. We have prepared a list of movements you need to know to have a good base start.
You will often find yourself walking on a narrow surface, or standing on a small slippery edge. It takes great coordination and muscle strength not to fall. Improve your balance by standing and walking on a rail track.
To have the endurance for this continual training start building up stamina. Running is a great way to enhance your body’s performance. Skills develop over time.
This activity includes a lot of jumping. In parkour, it is mostly used to overcome the difference in the height of objects on terrain. The most common jumps in parkour are:
- Accurate jump – This type of jump allows you to hop on and off small surfaces. Horizontal levers, walls, or water stones are a good start, but accurate jumps require self-awareness along with concentration and balance.
- Mark a tac – This is a combination of wall climbing and jumping. This technique allows you to get to places that are higher than the level of your usual jump. When a person is running towards a wall, bounces off of it and jumps somewhere higher. It is a common trick of parkour.
- Downward – An active jump to a lower surface. Once you start with parkour never try jumping off higher edges than you. Practice landing and the body needs to adjust to the stress followed by a high jump.
The ability to safely land is a challenge for both tracer and free runners. A proper landing allows you to stand back up and continue towards your next obstacle. More importantly, it eliminates the need of calling an ambulance.
Choosing how to land depends on the height of the edge, the longitude of the jump, the type of surface you are landing on, and previous movement.
Landing on Both Feet
Landing on both feet is more efficient than landing on one, as it alleviates the level of stress to an inexperienced body. Try jumping on both legs, knees slightly bent.
The goal is to land as softer as possible. To achieve that, bend your knees slightly during landing. If you are jumping on a high level or your body goes forward with a stronger impulse, have your torso between the knees, and put your palms on the side and below to act as a cushion during landing. When your palms touch the ground use them as leverage. This method takes practice and gradual increase of the height, don’t rush it and take time.
This technique is used to prevent fainting. It alleviates the force of landing impact on the body, reducing the chance to get hurt. As a rule, you need to continue moving as soon as you land, when the fall is made from a higher level or when you are jumping forward at high speed. If you roll correctly, it will help you get down and stand back on your feet without a scratch. It looks like a somersault. It is important to group properly, and your weight will do all the work.
In running, you will come across objects that might be too hard to jump over. Here you need a vault. Put your hands on the object and using them jump over it. There are different types of vaults, you can use them depending on the obstacle and personal preference.
There are so many names and exercises that involve jumping and fencing, but those are for more experienced tracers. If you are still in the ‘everyone category’ you have the curiosity and are probably lacking the knowledge.
Safety is the most important thing in any sport. Self-awareness and rational judgment can help you determine to what extent you are ready to take on this challenging activity. And no one will judge you if you opt not to do so.
Who Shouldn’t Do Parkour?
This sport does not have particular limitations, almost anyone can learn parkour. It depends on your capabilities and will to endure and change. If you have a child interested in climbing everywhere like a monkey, consider talking to them about this discipline. However, if the individual has some heart or balance obstructions, it is better to wait and see how can the medical issue get resolved or overcome with the advice of a medical expert.
If your kid is young and has not reached puberty, tell them to wait it out just a bit. Start by aerobics or rock climbing. These sports are great preparation for the more complex movement combinations that require knowledge, action planning, physics, and many other components. Also, people who are not active and have decided to check parkour off the bucket list, if they are determined and have not been too active they may even take a few years of rigorous hard work to be able to get to the point of a beginner tracer. The only requirement that could be defined for doing parkour safely is an active and resilient body that builds up over time.