Training for Parkour
Most people who start training in Parkour just want to start doing those big jumps they see on TV or Youtube. It’s exciting! But first you need to train your body to be able to endure that kind of abuse. Believe it or not, us traceurs do a lot of conditioning and strength training to be able to pull off those athletic moves.
The lower part of your body is responsible for everything related to jumping. From precisions to the form required to do a frontflip. Thus, it’s very important to start conditioning your legs right away. If you are just beginning your Parkour training, my advice would be to start conditioning your lower body first, before you even attempt to perform Parkour.
There are a lot of exercises to do for lower body strength. The most common, range from jogging to jumping with weights in your backpack. But let’s see a short list you can actually do anywhere:
- Calve raises – Standing on a step, block, chair or other firm stable object. Stand so that the ball of your feet is supported and your heels are suspended. Lower down so that your calves are in a stretch position, then extend your feet to stand on toe. This can be done with your feet turned in, out or neutral.
- Hopping stairs in one leg – Fairly self explanatory. Jump up stairs in one leg. This is one of the best ways to develop strength and power in your legs. Don’t forget to switch legs!
- Running stairs – Continue the exercise, running up stairs (or steep hills). This is one of the best ways to supplement the one legged stair jump.
- Squats – Keeping your back as vertical as possible, bend down. During the squat phase your heels should remain on the floor. You can vary the exercise by touching the floor with your fingers and then springing in a stretched position.
- One legged squats – Stand on the edge of a mid-thigh height block. Again, keeping your back straight, bend down on one leg. Your opposite leg should be brought as forward as possible. Alternate, do one for each leg, until you reach the end of the ledge.
- Plyometric jumps – Stand straight, legs together. Jump upwards, rebound back on the ground. Bring your hands forward for stability. Done in quick succession this helps develop explosive power for jumping and vaulting.
- Block Jumps – Stand in front of a waist high block and jump on it and remain on the top of the block. This will help develop strength.
- Block Jumps (One leg) – Same as above. Stand or run against a waist high block and jump on it, but instead, use only one leg for your landing. Remember to remain on the top of the block.
- One leg precisions – Stand on a pole, or ledge, and jump in precision using one leg. This will develop your jumping distance. Very important for strides and two legged precisions.
- Precisions – Continue the one legged precisions with normal precisions. Remember to increase the distance constantly to force your brain in developing the technique necessary to control the movement.
- Pistols – They are the same as the one legged squats. The difference is that they are done faster and the repetition is done on the same leg (No leg switching this time).
- Balance on rails – This is a great workout, not only for muscles in your legs, but your abs and your overall balance. It’s very important to have balance in Parkour, so this exercise should be done regardless ofÂ the part you’re conditioning.
Other exercises you can do, not included in the video done by TraceurZeno, are:
- Mountain Climbers – Start in a push up position. Bring one leg forward to a tuck position, then in quick succession switch which leg is tucked. (This will work your shoulders a bit as well.)
- Pit Jumps – Just jump up and down in a pit, on a worn resi-pit, or other very soft non-rebounding surface.
- Sprints – Run as fast as you can. Should be done in intervals. eg sprint a certain distance, jog back to the start point, sprint again. Repeat.
- Squat Jumps Across the Floor – Start on one side of the floor/room. Bend down and leap as far forward as you can. Be sure to fully extend your body into a slight arch as you leave the ground. Challenge yourself to cross the floor/room in as few jumps as possible.
- Wall Sits – Sit with your back against a wall. Legs will be bent at about 90 degrees. This isometric exercise helps build primarily quads and glutes.