1. Basic Parkour Is Child’s Play
It’s using your environment to be more active – an adventure you relished as an inquisitive kid but forgot when Instagram and Candy Crush took hold. “You can practise in parkour centres with big foam pits but for the true experience you need to explore your city,” says practitioner and coach Chris Keighley (parkourgenerations.com).
2. Practice Develops Instinct
Wall spins take commitment. Pull out too early and you’ll slam into the wall like a bag of bones. “Spinning upside down can be scary,” Keighley says. “Though we want to move instinctively, it takes years of practice to execute.” Build up to the real thing with palm spins, mimicking the rotation with your hands on top of, instead of flat against, a low wall.
3. It’s a Method of Self-Improvement
“The most inspiring individuals are the originators, Sébastien Foucan, David Belle and French group the Yamakasi, who are in their 40s now but still train hard every day,” says Keighley. The best can hit standing broad jumps of 3.5m. Bashed shins and shredded palms are par for the course, like a bloody nose in boxing.
4. Core Strength Is Vital
You need a towering vertical jump and strong core to give you a chance to complete a full spin once you leave the ground. Think dynamic woodchop abs moves, not just static planks. “Without any background in sport you’d need years to nail it, but if you’re already fit and strong you could learn it in months,” Keighley says.
What It Takes
- Core strength
- Leg power
- Four months’ practice
Difficulty rating 6/10
“Parkour and freerunning are two names for the same discipline,” says Keighley. It originates from a training programme for French Special Forces known as parcours du combattant or “path of the warrior”. The strictest definition: “the act of moving from point A to B using obstacles to increase your efficiency”. Why take the stairs when that drainpipe is begging to be scaled?
Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix (opens in new tab). Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.
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