Parkour Training – The Art of Moving (Freerunning)
Parkour, or freerunning, is loosely defined as the art of moving. Parkour involves using one’s body and objects in the environment to navigate physical obstacles. In essence, a practitioner of Parkour (a traceur), will run, jump, climb or perform other gymnastics type movements to get from one point to another. Parkour has a particular focus on speed and efficiency. Parkour training emphasizes functional strength, conditioning, balance and coordination. A tracuer must be keenly aware of their surroundings so that they may rapidly navigate a path.
David Belle’s Parkour
David Belle is the founder of parkour. Trained in gymnastics and martial arts, Belle strongly believed in building functional strength. Belle began working with others to train them how to get from one point to another and back again using some key basic movements. Belle stressed that parkour was not for showing off but for being used in critical situations. Parkour is therefore considered a discipline rather than a sport.
Training for parkour can be difficult due to lack of publicly available obstacle courses. Generally an urban environment provides plenty of challenges where you can design your own obstacle course. However, practitioners must show respect for public and private property.
There are plenty of basic movements that you can use to practice parkour. Good practice will involve obstacles that require balance, leaping, landing, swinging, rolling, or vaulting. You should take care to begin with obstacles that are not overly challenging. Trying to jump over buildings on your first practice session would be quite dangerous. Injuries are prevalent even when you start slow.
Prince of Persia Workout
A staple of Jake Gyllenhaal’s workout to prepare for his role as Prince Dastan in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time was parkour. He trained directly with David Belle. Jake began by doing gymnastics routines. Jake advanced to performing jumps on harder surfaces and even did some of his own stunts in the movie. Jake credits parkour for helping him to get in phenomenal shape for Prince of Persia.
Functional Strength – What You Can Gain From Parkour
Parkour relies on functional strength to get from one point to another. Your body must be in peak physical condition to perform parkour movements. You need to have a combination of strength, stamina, power and speed. Parkour makes for an excellent workout as you are forced to use your body in the most efficient and functional way possible.
Parkour training is highly challenging, but it is a workout that can really help you get in great shape without requiring any special equipment. There may be limitations on where you train and how you train in the beginning, but it can be a valuable discipline to learn if you have patience.