Learning Parkour

By | April 20, 2018

The extreme sport has been featured in commercials, YouTube videos, and numerous movies and television shows. The sport takes dedication, but anyone can get started in it fairly easily.

The first obstacle to overcome is the mind. You have to adopt a playful attitude to truly enjoy the art of parkour.

The sport emphasizes a sense of fluidity, freedom and fun, unlike the hyper-competitiveness of many other sports. It focuses on overcoming various obstacles in as rapid and efficient a manner as possible.

Accept the basic philosophy of parkour. The overall goal is to move from one point to another as efficiently as possible; with obstacles serving as both challenges to be overcome and tools to further propel you on your way.

Traceurs, or practitioners of the sport, speak of it as much as a lifestyle or an art as a sport, which is part of the appeal to those who wish to participate. The leaps, vaults and tumbles that comprise the art make for an exquisite spectacle.

Practice basic athletic fundamentals. The sport uses general physical fitness as a starting point for its disciplines, specifically sit-ups, squats, push-ups and pull-ups. Practice these activities–emphasizing clean, proper techniques when you do so–until you can perform them easily and without undue stress.

Before you can get started in it, you should take on a friendly and communal mindset, mixed with a liberal amount of child-like wonder. Work on basic calisthenics: push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and squats.

These are the basic building blocks for practicing the sport. Experts say you should be capable of performing 25 push-ups, 5 pull-ups and 50 full squats before you formally get started in parkour.

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Practice landing moves and rolling moves. The sport entails a lot of vertical movement and high jumps can be painful if you don’t know how to land properly.

Walk before you run, which in the case of parkour means know how to end a move safely. Move on to vaulting, jumping and climbing maneuvers.

With rolling moves under your belt, you can advance your training to more difficult maneuvers designed to get you up and around obstacles in the urban landscape. There are quite a few maneuvers, and as you go along, you will learn which ones you prefer and develop your own unique style for practicing them.
Find a good location to practice the sport. For beginners, this usually means locating a gym with soft pads and places where you can practice without getting hurt.

Public parks and other places work well too, though you should watch out for bystanders who might inadvertently get in the way. Work on rolling and landing maneuvers.

The basics of parkour stress safety, which means knowing how to land before you jump or vault so high that you hurt yourself. As you grow more confident in your ability to land safely, you can move forward to higher and more complicated jumps.

When you are ready, you should advance to vaults, jumps and leaps. There are literally hundreds of variations on parkour moves, which you can experiment with once you have mastered the basics of rolling and landing.

You can even join a parkour club or organization. Others in your area interested in it can provide support and people to practice with.

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They also might know good places to go and can demonstrate different maneuvers which you might not be aware of. Expand parkour into other areas of your life; after all it is a philosophy and not just an activity.

Traceurs claim that it helps them frame problems logically and seek innovative solutions to all manner of problems, not just those affecting it specifically. It also stresses community over competitiveness, unlike many other activities.

Like all athletics, parkour requires training to be effective and if you don’t keep working at it, then your skills will drop off. Practice two or three times a week at least, and make sure to maintain your basic skills while moving on to more difficult maneuvers.

Jack R. Landry has been writing about the exercise and health industry for years. He recommends using treadmills to stay healthy and fit.

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