What is Parkour and Why Should You Care?
You've probably seen videos of people running, catapulting, jumping, rolling, cartwheeling, and backflipping on, up, and around buildings. These real-life spidermen weave in and out of urban landscapes with astonishing flexibility and skill. This dare devil looking sport is known as parkour, which is a training discipline that teaches movements developed from military obstacle course training. On the field, the main point of the practice is to aim to get from one point to another in a complex environment, using the fastest and most efficient route possible — a route which often involves overcoming various common objects. Parkour practitioners essentially turn structures into their exercise equipment and the world into their playground. But, how can this be relevant to your fitness routine?
For many of us, maybe even most of us, parkour may seem to be above our fitness and skill level, but don't think that means you shouldn't give it a try. Parkour is an excellent form of exercise because it works all parts of the body. There’s a reason most parkour practitioners you see in videos have rippling muscles — real body strength is needed to perform the maneuvers necessary in parkour.
How Does a Beginner Get Started?
The good news is that you need not be a heavily muscled person nor a parkour veteran to benefit from the workout parkour can offer. By training yourself in the basics of parkour, you’ll build up great leg strength, upper body strength, flexibility and power. The physical benefits will show naturally, as you look leaner, meaner and more muscular. Here are a few basics to get you started with parkour.
This seems like an all-too-basic exercise, but its benefits cannot be overstated. The lunge is a great exercise to develop single leg strength. The lunge is used by parkour practitioners to develop jumping and sprinting power.
Knees to Elbows
This is a great exercise that provides core strength, key to parkour. To do knees to elbows, simply find a bar and hold onto it with both arms. With your legs bent and pressed together, use your core muscles to lift your knees to your chest. Lift them as high as you can. Be sure you aren’t using your legs to lift your lower body up. You need to use your abs and upper body to do so.
Everyone always trumpets the benefits of squats and that’s because they really work! This exercise is a classic for everyone from Olympic athletes to bodybuilders, and it should have its place in your workout as well!
To do an air squat, stand with feet hip-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides. Then, bending your knees, push your butt and hips out behind you like you would if you were sitting on a chair. Sink as low to the ground as you can (without touching it). As you sink down, raise your arms in front of you so that they are parallel to your hips. Then squeeze your core muscles to come back up. Repeat. And remember — be sure to keep your weight on your heels all the while!
A Basic Parkour Training Routine
Parkour is an exercise of free movement. It’s creative, free-spirited and interesting. Whether you want to launch into learning parkour full-time, or simply want to get some great moves into your workouts, use this basic training routine to spice up your week.
- 10 air squats
- 10 push-ups
- 10 knees to elbows
- 10 pull-ups
Do two sets of these every other day and we guarantee you’ll soon see results!
Approach Parkour with Caution
Just as you would any other exercise routine that is new to your regime, take care to approach parkour with proper preparation and ease yourself into the discipline. We suggest seeking coaching from an experienced parkour practitioner, especially in the beginning. Just as with most exercises, if done haphazardly, parkour can result in injury. Good luck and have fun!
RX Fitness is Here to Help
RX Fitness Equipment has everything you need to get started on the right path. We carry a full array of accessories; mats, resistance bands, medicine balls, jump ropes ... everything you're looking for to make your exercise routine as productive as possible. If you're considering parkour, we also work with hundreds of instructors and personal trainers if you need a referral. And don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, on Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.
Contact us for a free consultation or stop by any of our three store locations and take something for a test drive. We’re here to answer your questions.