The beauty of parkour is that it enables us to differentiate between factors of a given challenge that are both within and out of our control. Weather and climate may not always be convenient for us, but we can make sure we are energized, nourished, and fit enough to overcome them with a little training. Likewise, external factors to our practice can make us stressed or less focused, but we can find ways to manage stressors so they do not interfere with our performance.
Dress to progress
You will want fairly lightweight running sneakers with some traction. For serious traceurs, sneakers specifically designed for parkour may be the best option. If you need help choosing what shoe is right for you, don’t forget to look at our Ultimate Parkour Shoe Guide. Clothing should allow a full range of motion without getting caught on objects around you.
Stay in shape
In addition to regular parkour practiceyou will want to incorporate complementary exercises into your regular workout regimen. Situps, pushups, and squats are some of the more popular ways to not only stay fit, but to stay fit for Parkour.
Learn how to fall
Parkour may eventually mean complex jumps, backflips, and aerial stunts that require a healthy respect for gravity. In all landings, it is important to keep feet shoulder distance apart, and never to touch down with the entire foot. By landing on just the balls of your feet, and keeping them at shoulder distance, you reduce the impact absorbed by the rest of your body, primarily the knees.
Learn the basic land for low-altitude maneuvers. Landing on the balls of your feet, bend your knees deeply, with your hands flat between your feet.
Practice landing rolls. Rolls should start with the right shoulder and end with the left hip. Balancing on the balls of your feet, reach down and place your left palm on the floor. Begin the roll by tucking in with your right shoulder, and roll through your left hip. You should land in a seated position.
Tie landing moves in with the other maneuvers you are learning, and know which landings are appropriate for specific exercises. If you can, practice landing on a gymnastics mat or a trampoline before hitting the ground with them.
Find a place to practice
The gym may be a great place to get started, especially if it has mats or empty studios for dance or Pilates. As you progress, the park, your local campus, or a backyard garden will offer the obstacles traversed by seasoned traceurs. Buildings should be left to high-level and expert practitioners.
Set realistic goals
Despite one of the most appealing aspects of Parkour being the concept of performing great physical feats with seeming little prep time, remember to set realistic goals when beginning any new physical activity.
Start with running and some simpler jumps before you take on anything too complicated.
Learn wall running. A thick outdoor stone or concrete wall with no ceiling is ideal. Start by running up to the wall. When you are close enough, propel yourself upward by kicking the wall vertically at about knee level. Until you are comfortable completely ascending the wall, just keep landing on your feet after kicking off from the wall, and make sure you are kicking youself up, not backwards, and only touch the wall with the ball of your foot. When you are confident with the maneuver, reach up and climb on top of the wall.
Practice a basic two-handed vault. Find a sturdy railing other hurdle-like object that is secured to the ground. Run up to the railing, place both hands on it, and jump with both legs off to one side, propelling your body through the vault with your hands. End with the basic landing movement.
Set responsible limits
Do not attempt an obstacle or maneuver that is more complicated than or unlike anything you have done. Avoid trespassing, abandoned buildings, or other unsafe or illegal locations. If your practice is outside, only practice in weather conditions you are comfortable with, and dress for the occasion. Be mindful of people, animals, and property in the area you are working.
Consult a doctor or your instructor before attempting to train on your own. Feedback from health professionals who are familiar with you is an important step in determining whether it is safe for you to practice independently, and, if so, what types of exercises should be performed or avoided.