How to Get Your Body in Shape for Parkour
Parkour, or freerunning, requires a large number of physical skills, including strength, cardiovascular conditioning, agility and balance. Work on developing these skills to get your body into shape before embarking on difficult parkour moves. Practice parkour moves in a systematic fashion, starting with beginner versions and then slowly graduating to more advanced techniques.
Increase your cardiovascular endurance to prepare for the demands of parkour. Improve your aerobic capacity by performing regular cardio workouts at a moderate to vigorous intensity. Incorporate jogging or running into your regimen several days a week in order to build stamina and prepare for the constant movement and running that parkour requires. Start by performing intervals of running and walking, and over a period of several weeks, gradually work your way up to an hour of solid jogging.
Strength train at least two times per week. Perform regular strength-training sessions to build the strength necessary for difficult moves such as the wall leap and wall climb. Incorporate body-weight movements such as squats, pushups and lunges. Add plyometric moves, such as jumping squats and leaps, to simultaneously increase strength and explosiveness.
Perform agility drills to develop your ability to change direction quickly and seamlessly. Use drills such as leaping from point to point, marked by either cones or real-world markers such as sidewalk cracks or potholes. Focus on landing lightly, and swiftly changing direction with each hop. Include exercises on an agility ladder in your workouts. Consider enlisting in the help of a sports-conditioning coach for assistance with building skills.
Hone your balance skills by performing drills on balance beams, parking lot markers or low railings. Practice leaping from one beam or railing to another and walking down a narrow beam swiftly and gracefully. Add core strength-training moves such as planks and stability ball exercises to further improve your balance.
Train consistently to develop the physical skills and the mental fortitude parkour requires, recommends American Parkour. Work diligently on your fitness skills a little each day, because parkour revolves around two key elements, according to American Parkour: progression and repetition.
Consider training with a partner to boost motivation and for spotting one another during difficult moves.
Exercise extreme caution when practicing parkour moves and advancing to real-world obstacles, to reduce the risk of injury.
Sunny Griffis, a certified performance technologist, is a fitness coach who has been a professional writer since 1998. Her work can be seen in online and print publications such as "Family Fun," "Cappers," "Rutherford Woman Magazine" and "Healthy Family Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in metaphysics from AIHT, and a CPT certification from NFPT.