Parkour is one of those things that everyone knows about but very few people have tried.
Images of young people hurling themselves across rooftops, performing gravity-defying leaps and acrobatic sequences you’d expect in Olympic gymnastics are all part and parcel of the parkour ideal.
The spectacle of the sport is now firmly entrenched in mainstream consciousness, everyone knows what parkour is in its most intense portrayals, but is that really all it’s about? A bunch of kids literally using the world as their playground?
Well, let’s take a look at what this odd sport really is
Parkour is actually a martial art believe it or not.
By definition, a martial art is a physical discipline used to train soldiers or servicemen for tactical advantage in battle situations.
It is derived from Mars, the Roman god of war. Unlike most martial arts, which are combat-focused, parkour was developed to equip soldiers with the ability to navigate the battlefield efficiently from point to point.
The military assault course is a result of this training methodology. Military assault course training would eventually spurn it’s own civilian pass time in the form of obstacle course races.
Parkour was developed and originated in France after a french military fitness expert named Georges Herbet witnessed the movement patterns of Congolese tribesmen during hunting missions back in the colonial era.
He adapted these movements in what was called “The Natural Method” which later became known as “le parcours du combattant”, translated from french simply means military obstacle course.
The root phrase “le Parcours” would later be colloquialized into le parkour or just parkour and would soon take over the streets of France
Today parkour is practiced all over the world and even has training agencies that offer legitimate certifications for experts who want to share their skills.
For some, it has become a lucrative career with opportunities in film stunts, media work, and brand deals.
However, parkour still has its roots as a functional mobility training method. Being originally known as the natural method, it has some qualities that the everyday person can access for their health and fitness goals.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at parkour for the everyday person. Unlock the potential this seemingly crazy adrenaline-fueled sport has for normal fitness practice and show you that you don’t need to be a teenage ninja to train like one.
Parkour is definitely fun to watch. When considering how often it’s used in high stakes action scenes in movies, it’s entertainment value is undeniable.
But it’s also fun to do, even if you’re not scaling buildings.
Parkour training involves a freeform expression of movement. You get to explore your body within your personal limits and not based on a set standard.
This allows you to literally start anywhere and work your way up while discovering a personal and creative way of engaging with your body and the energy it uses.
Parkour is fun and empowering when you literally tackle obstacles as a method of training
Many of the techniques in parkour require balance and coordination in order to pull off efficiently and effectively.
A lot of the training will challenge your proprioception and engage deeper motor units in subtle ways, allowing you to gain a better grasp of your body within a physical space as well as the link your mind makes with your body.
Parkour is a great fitness method because of how scalable it is.
It is completely reliant on body weight, so how intense you train solely depends on how hard you decide to push yourself.
You can go all out for a high-intensity workout, or you can focus on slower, more controlled movement, focusing on strength, balance, and endurance.
Parkour is a great musculoskeletal adaptation stimulator.
The types of movements and forces introduced to the body can have a profound strengthening effect.
With mindful progression, parkour can turn your bones and joints into steel and produce strong dense muscle.
This stimulation through mechanical stress must be done with proper care, patience, and guidance. Strength and conditioning protocols with long term progress are the best and safest ways to harness this training effect.
Parkour is a full-body, bodyweight discipline. You are constantly moving and shifting your weight through dynamic planes of motion.
This naturally leads to some serious functional activation of muscles you typically wouldn’t engage in.
While you won’t be leaping from wall-to-wall in everyday situations, the ability to govern and control your own body weight in pretty much any position will give you a functional advantage in life that you will soon learn to appreciate even with something as small as standing up from your desk.
So parkour is a bit deeper than a daredevil street sport, it has many layers of practice, some of which can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone.
The benefits of functional fitness that come with parkour are profound and shouldn’t be ignored if you’re looking for a fun way to get fit.
Just make sure you train with a qualified expert for correct and safe guidance.