Parkour for Beginners - The

Parkour Beginners

563951_10150945793471471_1138130638_nIn parkour, practitioners learn to turn the world into a playground. But they should also learn to use common objects like trees, rails, benches, and walls as exercise equipment. Even though I recommend some basic weightlifting for intermediate and advanced athletes, parkour beginners should start out with bodyweight exercises only. After all, you should not be moving around additional weight without a good understanding of how to move your own body. In this article, I have compiled a list of the best exercises for beginners in parkour. Looking for even more on the subject? Check out my book, Parkour Strength Training.

Monkey plants are an intense exercise, useful for building general fitness and specifically upper body pushing strength and leg power. Think of them like a box jump on steroids or an obstacle-based burpee. Adding the use of your hands and covering more vertical distance means that more work is done and you get a better full body workout. Monkey plants bring you to a standing position on top of an obstacle — useful as you transition into a jump or run. The monkey plant also progresses to other skills like top-outs and kong vaults.

Easier Progression: Ground Kong
Harder Progression: Running Climb-up

The forward walking lunge is a common exercise used to develop single leg strength. Despite the countless techniques in athletics that involve jumping or landing off one foot at weird angles, most people tend to focus most of their energy on bilateral leg exercises like squats and deadlifts. The strength built from lunges directly applies to movements in parkour such as doing a one footed running jump or a tic tac. Additionally, the forward walking lunge is a good exercise to develop the posterior chain which is the main contributor to jumping and sprinting power.

Easier Progression: Static Lunge
Harder Progression: Bulgarian Split Squat

The handstand is an important fundamental of gymnastics, and should be in parkour as well. Handstands increase upper body strength, spatial awareness, and balance. Also, the handstand is a great way to become familiar with controlling the body in an inverted state, making it a vital introduction to tumbling and acrobatics.

However, it can be dangerous and frustrating to try freestanding handstands when first starting out. To develop a handstand in a more efficient manner, begin by practicing against a wall. New practitioners should start out with the stomach against wall version because it promotes better alignment and technique.

Easier Progression: Straight Arm Front Plank
Harder Progression: Freestanding Handstand

One of the most fundamental movements of parkour, the broad jump is applied during gap jumps, precision jumps, arm jumps, and more. In addition, the broad jump is a great full body exercise for developing power, strength, and overall body coordination.

Easier Progression: Air Squat
Harder Progression: Consecutive Broad Jumps

Knees to elbows is a great core exercise with perfect application to a fundamental skill needed in parkour; the ability to lift your knees toward your chest. In order to do many techniques including underbars, pullovers, and laches, you cannot rely on only lifting your body with your arms, you must also learn to lift your body with your core. Additionally, the movement in which you bring your knees to your chest is found in many other movements including back flips, vaults, and jumping.

Easier Progression: Hanging Tuck-up
Harder Progression: Toes to Bar

Slightly harder than basic push-ups, the wall dip is a more applicable pushing exercise for parkour practitioners. The wall dip is an upper body exercise related to movements such as vaults and the second half of a muscle-up or climb-up. The wall dip builds pushing strength needed for generating power in a vault or a climb-up.

Easier Progression: Jumping Wall Dip / Negative
Harder Progression: Demon Dip

While kipping pull-ups are generally more related to practical parkour skills, dead hang pull-ups also have their place. Dead hang pull-ups are harder and will develop strength in the back and arms faster. Beginners should build a solid strength base through the safer and simpler dead hang technique and then learn to kip.

Easier Progression: Jumping Pull-up / Negative
Harder Progression: High Pull-up (Dead Hang, Chest to Bar)

Quadrupedal movement, moving on four limbs, is widely used in parkour as both a conditioning exercise and a practical technique for movement. The most basic form of quadrupedal movement is the reciprocating, forward-moving variation. Like all quadrupedal movement, this technique is a great full body exercise and it develops coordination and weight transferring skills needed for other movements. In parkour, quadrupedal movement is useful as a means to get under or through small spaces, navigate across irregular surfaces, or provide extra security and stabilization when moving at heights.

Easier Progression: Straight Arm Front Plank
Harder Progression: Cat Balance

The vertical jump to soft landing is a parkour specific spin-off of an already well-known and useful exercise, the vertical jump. Vertical jumps build explosive jumping power while the soft landing develops the eccentric leg strength and coordination needed for stronger, safer landings. Additionally, the goals of softness and silence help a practitioner focus on proper landing technique.

Easier Progression: Air Squat
Harder Progression: Tuck Jump to Soft Landing

Air squats are a fundamental leg exercise that should be mastered before moving on to more difficult exercises. Similarly, the squat is a fundamental technique that should be mastered before doing any high impact jumps and landings. Doing squats just past 90 degrees helps to build up strength in the posterior chain and also help flexibility in the hips and ankles. If you want to do parkour for a long time without crippling overuse injuries, you better master this fundamental leg exercise.

See also

Source: parkouredu.org
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