Anyone interested in the sport of parkour probably has at least an inkling of the physical conditioning and stamina required to practice it. It’s not like you can just get up off the couch after five years of inactivity and start leaping over walls, climbing the sides of buildings, and doing backflips onto balconies across the street. If you want to tackle the art of parkour you’re going to need strength, endurance, and insane coordination. In short, you’ll have to get fit before you even start to think about practicing parkour. But there are several ways to train your body effectively to take on the tasks that the sport demands. Here are just a few ways to condition your body appropriately so that you can begin to prepare for parkour.
1. Balancing exercises. Toning muscles is important to parkour, but even more essential is good balance. Without it, you’re likely to hurt yourself whilst jumping, tumbling, and landing. This means that you have to really work your core muscles (abs and back) and the best way to do it is with balancing exercises (which force you to engage your core). You may want to consider utilizing balance and stability equipment (balance balls and trainers) in your home for safety purposes (rather than practicing on a ledge, for example, where you could fall and hurt yourself).
2. Boxing workout. You don’t necessarily need to purchase a ton of boxing equipment or go to town on a heavy bag to adopt the training program that helps boxers to shed fat and target and tone every muscle group in the body. All you need is a basic all-around routine that includes intense cardio (running, jumping rope, etc.) and strength training (pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups – all the ups). You want to get in shape without bulking (since heavy muscles will be harder to drag around the city) and this workout is great for overall conditioning.
3. Squats and lunges. A lot of the power required for parkour comes from your legs. There is quite a bit of running and jumping involved (not to mention landing), so well-muscled hindquarters are a must. And there’s no better way to build up the muscles in your legs than by using the weight of your own body with a variety of squats and lunges. Over time these exercises will become less effective, at which point you may want to consider adding some hand weights to your routine.
4. Climbing. It’s not enough to leap onto the wall of a building; you’ve got to be able to pull yourself up. So engaging in targeted climbing exercises (whether you’re using a fabricated rock wall or the read deal) could help you to build upper-body strength through more dynamic movements than say, pull-ups.
5. CrossFit. This is another total-body workout, but unlike others it forces you to push yourself to the max every time with rounds of intense circuit training that include both cardio and strength exercises. You’ll engage in running, jumping, climbing, rowing, swimming, and even parkour (amongst other things). In short, it might be the best overall fitness routine for anyone interested in getting in shape for parkour.