Before picking up the movements of Parkour, it is a wise idea to get a good base level of conditioning, which can be done via strengthening exercises and other fitness related exercises that will help with Parkour.
As a beginner, it’s highly recommended to learn how to perform the basic movements properly with good form and technique. As you progress, you move on to more complex movements. This is known as ‘Progressive Movement Training‘. This is used not only for Parkour, but it’s a method of training used for all other applicable sports and physical activities.
The idea of it is to start off by learning how to do a very basic movement with proper form, and slowly adding more steps to it, to build up to the movement you have been aiming to do. Take for example, if you’re trying to learn a “Kong” vault, you can try to practice the proper positioning of the arms and feet, and the launch off angle, and gradually move on to hopping off a little, before moving on to doing a partial movement of it (getting the feet to tap the obstacle, then eventually to stand on the obstacle, etc). It is similar to a baby learning how to walk for the first time. They crawl first, then gradually try to walk for a few steps with a little support, then with no support, and eventually to walk a short distance on their own.
An example of the ‘Kong’ vault
Eventually with more and more practice, the movement will become like second nature to you.
‘Progressive Movement Training’ is the core of Parkour training/practice whenever you get out there to train. Do it with caution, discipline and dedication. Of course, you’ll need to ensure that you’re using the right techniques when executing the movements.
Using Progressive Movement Training to improve overall fitness
When you go out to your nearest neighbourhood park, it is not uncommon to notice recreational exercisers – They jog, stretch, do push ups, sit ups, etc.
But what I’ve noticed is that these people often work in the ‘grey area’ and do not make any significant improvements due to the type of exercises they are doing, how they are doing them, and how often they are doing them.
Let’s look an example:
A person who exercises once a week, doing all the typical exercises stated above and stopping when they get tired, who seeks to lose fat and get fitter overall.
Their typical workout session will look something like this:
- They stretch by bending over reaching for their feet, stretch their arms by folding them overhead, etc.
- They jog until they are tired before stopping to rest.
- They do push ups, sit ups etc until they’re tired and stop.
And they can’t seem to get any real results.
So what’s the problems here? They are working in the ‘grey area’ and not doing enough to address their weaknesses and what they should be working on.
The solution is simple:
- They should be doing relevant stretches – stretch tight muscle groups that needs to be more flexible (eg; chest, shoulders, hip flexors, abs, etc)
- They should be doing relevant exercises – To strengthen muscle groups that have not been used too much and are required to be worked on in order to avoid imbalances, get fitter, etc.
- They should gradually increase the difficulty of their workouts until they reach their desired fitness level.
- They should be doing the workouts more regularly, and generally start to become more active
- They should adopt healthier and more nutritious eating, coupled with healthy lifestyle habits (including ample sleep). If exercises done are relevant, their workouts will be more efficient, and can be done more regularly.
In summary, in order to improve, one must do relevant stretches and exercises, progressively overload by increasing difficulty towards desired fitness levels, do the workouts regularly, and changing their overall lifestyle to be healthier and more active.
By Glen from Training By Glen