What Is Parkour?
If you’re passionate about parkour and if you’re already researching about it on the internet you will come across various websites that define parkour in their own ways. It is therefore important that you know more about the parkour meaning before you get started with it. In simple words, parkour is a method of physical training to develop one’s abilities to overcome or beat the obstacles. It is a technique that allows individual to get from point A to point B in a quick, effortless and efficient way. On the other hand, you also need to know that there are certain misconceptions and myths that revolve around parkour definition. Parkour does look similar to freerunning, but they are still very different and the words cannot be used interchangeably. Secondly, there are many people who can do flips on the ground, but that doesn’t count as parkour either. Traceurs also do flips, aerial acrobatics and spins, but that is a part of parkour movement to traverse certain obstacles and challenges rapidly.
One of the most common questions that most beginners ask is whether parkour is for them. The answer to this is that parkour is for everyone, but it also depends on the mindset to find your own strength and weakness and to improve it. Hence, a lot depends on the perception of the traceur and not on how harsh the urban environment is.
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Physical Preparation for Parkour Strength Training
Before you can get out in the real world to try those attractive jumps and parkour moves, you need to make sure that you are prepared for it. Parkour requires both mental and physical fitness and therefore you need to prepare yourself to ensure that you are able to take on the challenges ahead. A lot depends on your physical strength and stamina because even if you are mentally ready you need to have all the muscle power and strength to pull off those jumps and acrobatic moves and improve your parkour skills.
Here are few tips on how you can improve your body stamina and shape that will help you further to try your moves during parkour strength training.
The best way to start is to improve your cardiovascular endurance. This is really important because parkour requires running and jumping around the urban environment and therefore you should have the intensity to handle all that in your parkour classes. To improve your aerobic activity you can start with cardiovascular workouts. You should also incorporate running and jogging in your daily routine so that you can gradually build up the stamina to run more and prepare for the constant movement of the body. If you are unable to do that, you can try running and walking alternatively to build up the stamina. Don’t expect immediate results, but gradually you will see that your body will get used to it.
Parkour strength training sessions are also important because you will need body strength for some intermediate moves like leaping and climbing up the wall. Focus on exercises that can help you to build body strength and for that you can try pushups and squats. When you are able to do that you should move to jumping squats or air squats that will take you a lever higher and ensure that your body strength has improved. Doing air squats helps in building up strength and providing flexibility in the hips and ankles. You can also try depth drops which will help you to build strength and improve coordination for safe landings. You may also try dead hang pull up, quadrupedal movements, wall dip
Agility is important for parkour and when you are parkour strength training you will have to move from point to point in a matter of seconds. For this you need quick body movements and focus which can come through parkour training exercises that involve quick body movements and changes in direction. You may look out for some assistance on how you can incorporate these direction changing exercises in your daily routine. For better agility you can try broad jumps and knees to elbows.
Parkour lessons are incomplete without honing your balance skills and therefore you also need to prepare your body to balance. Walking on low railings and leaping from one railing to another requires effort and balance. Once you’re done with preparing your body you need to keep repeating it to master it.
Mental Preparation for Parkour Training
One of the biggest challenges that you need to overcome while parkour strength training is your fear. It is your fear that will make your heart beat faster and harder and make your leg twitch before you make that jump, so you have to overcome it by going out and trying those parkour moves.
Another thing that matters when preparing mentally for parkour training is that you don’t have to compete with others. You’re just a beginner and it will take time for you to develop those parkour skills that others can do easily. Don’t compare and compete with fellow traceurs and learners, instead focus on improving your skills gradually. Be patient.
Stay determine no matter how long it takes. You cannot master everything in a matter of days and weeks. Don’t copy others and try things that you do not believe in or for the sake of impressing your peers and friends.
Enjoy your moves and have fun rather than performing under pressure. In parkour there is no competition so you have all the time to hone your skills and develop them at your own natural pace. With time, practice and determination you will be able to perform advanced level parkour skills at some point in time. You have to be the best judge of doing only what’s within your ability.
Once you’re prepared physically and mentally and done with parkour training for beginners, get out and try some basic parkour moves. You can also checkout for parkour clothing and parkour shoes and accessories that you can get.
Where Do I Start Practicing & Learn Parkour?
While most people do join some group that can help them to learn parkour moves, there are many who are not sure where to start. In fact, many beginners never know the best spots in their locality where they can practice initial and basic parkour movements. However, you can start any place where you find obstacles because that will help you to take on the challenges and ensure that you learn all the tricks and moves correctly. Since you are just warming up you can choose simple locations that have simple railings and not so high spots to jump around to ensure you learn how to land safely. This will help you to jump and cross obstacles safely as you progress.
You may also search for local parkour community online on social networking websites so that you can join them and learn more from them. You can interact with them and participate in their training sessions and informal meetings. Always keep changing your environment because that will help you to adapt to different conditions and urban settings and help you to improve your parkour skills and moves.
Getting Ready for the Basic Parkour Moves
Once you’re ready for the parkour training you need to get on with some basic movements which you need to master first to ensure you move up the level in the right way and also keep yourself safe and away from injuries.
Anybody can jump, but it takes skills to land properly. It is therefore important for you as a beginner to learn parkour basic movement of landing. This will help you to reduce wear and tear of joints usually associated with vaulting and jumping. You may look for some parkour shoes to provide you the right comfort and grip you need while landing. When you’re landing you need to land on the ball of the foot and not on the hells or the toes. You can then roll the heel down gently. Once you’ve landed make sure that your knees are at 90 degree angle considering that straight legs are 180 degrees. Keep your hands forward to ensure that you land safely.
When you’re starting to learn parkour, you will fall while trying some of the parkour moves. Although, this sounds scary it is a part of the learning process. However, what you can do is you learn how to roll in all directions which will help you to minimize the injuries. You can learn rolling at home as well, if you want. To do this, you can mark a straight line on the floor. Now get on your knees and keep the line in the center of your body. Place both your palms on the ground on the left side of the line and roll. Now try the same placing both your palms on the right side of the line. This will help you to take all the impact on the hands and shoulders rather than on your spine.
The moment you jump, you have to be prepared for safe landing, but most landings end up unbalanced and that can lead to injuries. Hence, you have to be sure about how you will balance yourself. Try walking on the rails or on curbs and see if you can keep yourself well balanced. This will require some practice so make sure you take your time and perform the balancing act well. Wall running is something that you can try to improve your balancing skills, but make sure you don’t push yourself hard.
Aerial aerobatics and jumps attract many people to learn the art of parkour, but jumps aren’t as easy as they seem. It is therefore important to learn the art of jumping and safe landing that will keep you going and improve your parkour moves. To begin with you can jump from the ground level with a stand. When you have tried and mastered the art of standing jumps, you can move to running jumps and jump from 1 or 2 feet to avoid serious injuries.
To overcome low level obstacles you need to master the technique of vaulting. Initially you might not be as quick and athletic as other traceurs around, but that will come with practice. A vault usually begins with a run followed by a jump over the obstacle using your hand. Before you focus on trying vault steps you can try ground kongs and crab walk that can help you to get into familiar positions to learn vaulting. Keep the obstacles as low as possible to start with and then increase the height of the obstacle as you progress.
As you regain strength and understand the basic movements of parkour you need to focus on climbing for difficult and higher obstacles. There are various climbing moves like cat leap, crack climbs, climb downs and climb ups. Since climbing involves vertical movement you need to be careful about how high you climb initially. You don’t want to risk yourself and push yourself too hard which can lead to serious injuries. Try with a few feet off the ground to start with and then move up higher as you master the lower levels.
To conclude, basic parkour strength training requires mental and physical fitness, determination, patience, and focus. Since you’re new to parkour you need to start improvising and learning at your own pace and not rush through things and moves you are not sure about. You need to overcome your fears and inhibitions and see urban environment not as obstacles, but as stepping stones that will help you to move ahead as you keep progressing each level. Once you have mastered the basic parkour moves, you can move ahead with intermediate parkour training.