You’ve most likely seen videos of people flipping through the air, bouncing off of walls and seamlessly jumping off of buildings, thinking “How in the world do they do that?” In this article, we’ll be answering that question, and giving you the steps on how you can gain those skills as well.
Parkour is the latest fitness craze that’s sweeping the world, but it’s more than that. Often classified as a discipline, art and philosophy, it is hard to collectively describe all elements as it varies between places, groups, and people. For this article, we’ll be focusing on the fitness aspect of it.
One of the main ideas behind parkour is that there shouldn’t be anything that gets in the way of your natural movement. Parkour enthusiasts try to move quickly and fluidly through an area, often an urban landscape, by jumping over obstacles such as walls and railings, and leaping across open spaces, like stairwells or between buildings. They are known for finding fast-thinking, creative ways around anything in their path.
To put it simply: parkour makes your everyday movements more fluid and efficient, allowing you to accomplish tasks faster and more easily than before.
Parkour is for Anyone & Everyone
The sport of parkour was established in the 1980s in France. A group of nine individuals under the collective name ‘Yamakasi’, most notably David Belle, came together to create the basic outlines of “Art du Deplacement”, the original name of the sport. Popularized in the ‘80s and ‘90s in movies and films, it is more commonly known these days by the name of “parkour”. There is a subdivision as well, called freerunning, which we’ll explain more about, too.
The best thing about parkour is that it uses your natural environment to keep you healthy. That means you don’t need any extra equipment or special classes, although some people use gyms and indoor spaces to practice. There’s no wrong way to do it. No one will judge you for your form—jump higher if you want to jump higher, jump lower if you want to jump lower. And if you have hopped on one leg instead of two, that’s totally fine! The only thing that matters is that you’re willing to move.
Use Parkour Moves to Improve Your Fitness
Here are a few ways to improve your fitness with parkour:
- Parkour makes you stronger: Parkour training will build muscle mass while improving your cardiovascular health and stamina. There’s no better way to get a good workout than by using your body weight and gravity to propel yourself from one spot to another.
- Parkour improves endurance: Because parkour involves moving fast over distances, it will challenge your endurance levels and help increase your body’s ability to perform at peak levels for longer periods of time.
- Parkour increases flexibility: The moves used in parkour also stretch out muscles and joints so that you’re less likely to be injured from everyday use. This makes you more flexible overall, and helps you avoid injury during physical activities and increases your flexibility and agility.
Get in Shape With Parkour
Parkour can be practiced by all ages and fitness levels, but it’s best that those new to this type of training start with basic exercises in order to build strength, flexibility, and awareness. Once they feel comfortable doing these movements, they can move on to more advanced training sequences.
One form of parkour is freerunning, and is a bit different from parkour. It is often considered either a sport or a performance art, or both. Freerunning uses many of the same movements, but adds more of an artistic flair than parkour, in which the main focus is getting from point A to point B the quickest. Both of these methods use the same principles: training should be done with efficient movements that help you adapt to your environment.
How do you Start Parkour Training?
Training to become a successful traceur — the name of a person who takes part in parkour or free running—can be challenging, but with the right plan, you can get there.
- Get comfortable with heights: Hang out in high places and practice going up and down. You don’t have to jump if you’re not comfortable with it.
- Pick up a pair of good shoes: The surface you’re jumping on will determine what shoes you should wear. Look for shoes that have a flexible sole and plenty of arch support.
- Start on a soft surface: Jumping off a roof or building is not a good idea if you don’t know what you’re doing! Try jumping off of small things, onto grass, or indoors.
- Build up your strength: Jump and land on one leg, then the other, over and over again until your muscles are used to the stress.
- Try harder tricks once you’ve mastered the basics, like jumping from one building to another or over a series of obstacles.
Parkour has 7 basic movements that you need to master:
Once you master these 7 movements, you’ll really be good at Parkour.
Join a Local Club or Group
Another way to start learning parkour is to find a local group or club in your area. Before joining these groups, you should know what you want to get out of it: whether you want to do it just for fun or because you want to practice self-defense techniques later on down the road, or both.
There are a few different types of groups that teach parkour skills. Some are beginner groups that focus on teaching safe ways to execute basic moves like rolls, flips, and vaults. Others are more advanced groups that have higher expectations for their students, many of whom already have some experience with parkour. The best type of group for you depends on where you’re at in your training and what your goals are.
You can do it, too!
You’ve seen them on YouTube and Instagram—those people jumping off buildings, running up walls, and flipping over trees. And they make it look so easy. You wonder if you have what it takes to do the same moves. It turns out…you do!
In fact, parkour is one of the best ways to get fit and gain some cool skills. It’s great for building strength and endurance, working your core, burning calories, and giving you an adrenaline rush. And it’s super accessible—you can train anywhere you want.
The next time you’re wondering how to get fit in a fun way that doesn’t feel like a chore—try parkour!
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