The Ultimate (and Failproof) Guide To Parkour For Beginners
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If you use the internet then you have probably come across parkouring videos sometime in your life. If you’re like me though, then you have probably got really obsessed with these videos and didn’t stop watching them for weeks on end.
Again, if you’re like me, then you probably thought to yourself “How hard could this really be?” and then went outside to have a try at parkouring. You either injured yourself, or disappointed yourself when you found out how impossible even basic parkour tricks are.
This article is aimed at explaining what parkour is to the absolute newbies as well as explaining how to get started to the regular newbies. Let’s begin.
What is Parkour?
Parkour is the art of getting from point a to point b in as little time as possible. It’s about pushing your body to the limits to overcome obstacles quickly and efficiently. Parkour is not about doing dangerous things that you’re not comfortable with or haven’t practiced throughly. It is also not about doing back-flips off everything just because you can. There are plenty of reasons (such as competitions and making cool videos) that would require a traceur to do unnecessary flips. However, if you’re learning parkour to get from point a to point b, those things never matter.
Parkour: Freerunning art that gets you from point a to point b. Can be a hobby, a sport or a master-criminal get-away plan.
Traceur: A male that practices parkour or knows how to parkour.
Traceuse: A female that practices parkour or knows how to parkour.
Getting Started With Parkouring
Before you start parkouring you should condition your body to above average athletic abilities. You should be able to run 2 miles in under 14 minutes as well as being above average in calisthenics. Calisthenics is a form of exercise that uses the body as a weight and varies from pull ups to hand-stand push ups. Calisthenics will build up your muscles in the places you need them for parkouring and not in the places you need them for huge muscle.
Even something as simple as running up a wall and climbing it is really difficult if you don’t have above average athletic abilities. Also since parkouring is freerunning, running is a major prerequisite. If you can’t run 2 miles in under 14 minutes you will not be able to run up walls and use your body efficiently and effectively. Â To be successful at parkour you need to adopt a Jason Statham attitude to maintaining your body:
But weight lifting just for the sake of heaving iron? Pointless, says Statham. “Muscle-men grow on trees. They can tense their muscles and look good in a mirror. So what? I’m more interested in practical strength that’s going to help me run, jump, twist, punch.” – Menshealth.com
So Statham uses plyometric exercises which involve jump training and exerting maximum force out of your muscles in a short time; and you should too. With calisthenics, plyometrics and cardio work you will be on your way to becoming a good traceur. You won’t even need much effort to learn parkouring if you’ve already put effort into building your body.
If you try parkouring and are not above-average in your athletic abilities it might take you a couple of months to perfect your freerunning capabilities. However, if you start freerunning and you’re already in an amazing shape, you could probably perfect your freerunning within a couple of weeks or less. If you were going to become a basketball player you could do it even if you were 10 pounds over weight, but being above-average won’t hurt.
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I don’t need to tell you anything more. There are hundreds of popular videos on YouTube that will teach you anything from running and rolling (yes there are videos on the basics of running), to advanced things like wall runs that end in back-flips. Just search for “Parkour tutorial” or “Parkour lesson” and you will get everything you need to learn. Obviously, don’t do anything you’re not comfortable doing.
Many cities in the U.S. and Europe have parkour parks that are ready for you to start using. A lot of traceurs have hate for these parksÂ because they are “not the real thing.” Bollocks. People used to hate Tony Hawk because he was a park skater and he didn’t skate in the streets like all the other “thug-skaters.” Look at Tony Hawk now.
The point is this: You can learn how to parkour anywhere you can find walls and obstacles. You certainly don’t need to pay to get into a small concrete parkour park. However, it’s not the park you’re paying for. Many of these parks have special group or individuals lessons that teach you how to parkour. Not to mention that they have special trampolines and equipment that conditions you to back-flips and other dangerous things you shouldn’t try on your own.
If you’re hard and tough then go parkour in the streets. Maybe you’ll get arrested and maybe people will look at you like an idiot. If you’re a rational person that has no idea where to start with parkouring, then just go to a nearby park. It’s that simple.
Article written by Octavian Ristea.[shareaholic app="share_buttons" id="4703992"][shareaholic app="recommendations" id="4704000"]
What a great beginners guide! Great advice and a fantastic article!
I found calisthenics particularly interesting, pointing to the fact that stabiliser muscles and core muscles are more useful than just large biceps.
I once was on holiday and witnessed what it means to be physically fit vs. just looking fit. In the resort where I was staying there were some pretty serious and steep looking climbing walls. Easy, medium and hard levels. The instructor when he first saw me asked which one I’d like to climb and I asked to start on the easy wall. It was tough and I teamed up with a another guy to climb the medium level difficulty wall which we made – after burning ourselves out 100% and reaching our physical and mental limits.
In between climbs I watched over-confident guys trying to impress girls around the pool by opting to climb the hard level wall first. They’d swagger over, harness up and try and make eye contact with any hot female in the vicinity. The instructor put up no resistance to this, as if he welcomed anyone not respecting the level of fitness needed for climbing, as I think it entertained him, and it certainly entertained me and my resort friend. This hard level wall started as a virtual overhanging rock and I didn’t see one guy (or woman) get more than 10 feet up before looking like a disabled chimpanzee with piles, hanging in mid-air saying ‘Okay, I want to come down now.’
We resisted climbing that hard wall as we got to know how hard it would be, then the instructor, letting us know that he appreciated our respect for the level of fitness needed, invited us to try just for a laugh. We didn’t even make it past the overhang, but we had a laugh doing it. The important thing is that we respected the altogether different fitness level and specific training needed for climbing. This enabled us to form a good friendship with the instructor. I’d done boxing when I was younger so had a kind of William Shatner boxer’s build and the guy I teamed up with was a big guy, a lot bigger than me, but that’s no match for strength training and activating core muscles and stabiliser muscles trained at all angles for a particular and specific activity like climbing or parkouring.
That’s why I respect parkouring athletes and enthusiasts as I instinctively know that if I tried this without preparing and training I’d end up in the local hospital for sure.