How to Learn Parkour

So you’re interested in learning Parkour and looking for tips on how to get started? That’s awesome! You’ve also stumbled upon the best online articles to help you get started. This blog post will help you get started with some basic techniques.

Before we get into the moves, let’s talk about what Parkour even is. Simply stated, Parkour is all about overcoming obstacles and is often called “The Art of Movement.” Parkour practitioners are often drawn to the sport because of its themes of self-reliance, fitness, and self-expression. If you’re interested in learning more about Parkour, please check out >>this blog post<< that goes more in-depth about the history, culture, and philosophy of the movement. With that said, let’s jump right into some basic parkour techniques!

Before we jump into it, don’t forget to follow this blog to keep up to date with the latest parkour news.

Landings

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Parkour athlete demonstrating proper landing posture in Washington, DC. 

Proper landing technique while practicing Parkour is paramount for joint longevity, injury prevention, and proper strength training. The most important thing about landing properly is to align the bones and joins such that your toes and knees are pointed forward. Often times, new practitioners will have “baby deer legs” or pigeon-toed feet when landing. This can be bad for your joints, and it’s important to stop these postures before they become habitual.

An easy way to learn to land properly is to study proper squatting form. If you’re landing straight on, these postures should be the same.

How to fall

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Jereme Sanders vaulting into a controlled roll upon landing.

Falling is an important part of learning parkour, and it should be trained just as much as the regular techniques. In a nutshell, make sure to land with your feet on the floor and try to disperse and absorb the impact of your fall. Here’s a video on some general tips and techniques for falling.

Vocabulary tip:  The art and practice of falling safely is called Ukemi. 

 

Balancebalance

Balance is one of the most essential parkour skills and while it has a high skill capacity, it’s fairly easy to pick up. The most important thing for balance is making sure that your feet are firmly planted on whatever you are balancing on. I like to focus on keeping my center low, so staying in a crouched position can be beneficial to stabilizing.

Lastly, try to keep the core muscles activated and stiff. This should make balancing a lot easier. Here are some balancing drills that have a pretty low barrier to entry. One more point: start balancing on objects low to the ground. Once you develop the confidence and bailing skills, try taking those drills to taller objects.

 

Vaulting & Climbing

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Parkour athlete Lorena Abreu performing a safety vault. 

Mounting and vaulting in Parkour is an extremely diverse and versatile subject. To keep things simple, I’d like to talk about some general rules when it comes to getting over obstacles. First, and most importantly, try to avoid using your knees! Knees are fragile and offer a poor connection to the ground (which offers poor balance and reaction options) so we want to try to use primarily our hands and feet when climbing and vaulting things. Here’s two easy and safe vaults to learn that will see continued use throughout your parkour career. Here’s an effective breakdown of the wall climb as well.

Jumpingjump

Jumping is fairly straightforward, and we’ve already covered how to land properly. For parkour, debatably the most important jump is the “precision jump.” This is where you jump from both feet and land on both feet to something precise. Some important bits to keep in mind when jumping is to make sure that you are using your arms to generate momentum and have proper timing on your arm swing. However, a visual representation is going to do a lot more to than this text body will do to teach you, so here’s a more in depth look at the subject.

Where to train parkour

Parkour training largely takes place outdoors. The sport was born outdoors and most of an athletes training should take place outdoors. The most common places you may see athletes training online may include spots like schools, university campuses, parking structures, public parks, and anywhere else interesting architecture may be found.

Keep in mind, many property owners are now going to allow you to do parkour on their stuff. The vast majority of “good” parkour spots are on private property. We, of course, do not recommend that you ever trespass, but if you find your self in a sticky situation, please be respectful and leave politely if asked to do so.  #LeaveNoTrace

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Athlete Jimmy Davidson training balance skills at an outdoor park in Temecula, CA

Parkour Gyms: PK Gyms are an awesome way to meet people that also train parkour, learn from experienced coaches, and connect with the greater parkour community! There are lots of benefits of being part of a gym setting, and if I was going to plug my gym, (Which I am) our facility in Murrieta, CA and our upcoming facility in Riverside, CA are awesome places to train!

gym
Freedom in Motion Parkour gym in Murrieta, CA

Try Some Challenges!

Want to try out a few parkour movements for yourself? After you learn some basics, come back and check out our movement challenge articles. They contain a volley of movements ranging from easy to expert, they may be useful in tracking your progression and gaining a sense of what to learn next. Check out Spot Movement Challenge No. 1. 

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Athlete Jacob Blake performing a kong vault.

Train Safe!

These moves and concepts are just the beginnings of the literally endless ways to move your body. Hopefully, you’ve been inspired to learn some moves and start practicing the fundamentals! One thing that always gets me motivated is watching people who are really good at moving! Watching other athletes creative styles is a great way to improve your own techniques and creativity. Want to see some fun-to-watch athletes that we recommend? Click here for a blog post we did about pro parkour athletes.

New Parkour Gym?

Remember when I was talking about our upcoming parkour gym in Riverside? If you’d like to help us open our doors quicker, here’s the link to our fundraiser! You can get some awesome rewards for contributing, and you’ll be helping the parkour community grow and spread knowledge worldwide!

 

Share your experience

Are you a parkour athlete? Are you a friend or a family member to someone interested in Parkour? Is this your first time ever learning about this sport? Have any questions or need help? Sound off in the comments, and we’ll try to help you out the best we can.

Let us know about your experience in the comments below!

Don’t forget to follow our blog for future articles and updates.

 

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