Fastest Growing Form of Exercises – Parkour


Remember the story of the elephant and the blind men? Each blind man was presented with a different part of the elephant’s body to examine, and then asked to describe the animal.

The answers were as varied as the body parts: tusk, trunk, ear, tail, foot. There could be no agreement on exactly what type of beast the elephant was because each was examining it from a different angle.

Trying to figure out exactly what Parkour is can be a similar challenge.


If you make your decision about Parkour based on the media attention it has received or the action movies that have highlighted young people leaping from rooftop to rooftop or using walls as springboards for creative back flips, then you’ll think it is only for crazies with death wishes.

And you’ll then have made the same mistake as the blind man who describes the elephant based on one of its extremities.

fitness2xtreme-images-parkour-10--fluid-movement-flAt its core, Parkour is a discipline, a route to fitness that can be practiced by young and old for the purpose of moving more easily within our environment.

Its application can be as gentle as helping a senior citizen learn how to handle a fall without hurting themselves, or as extreme as helping a Death Race participant vault seemingly impossible obstacles without blinking an eye.

Really take on Parkour and practice it and you will find yourself with a whole new understanding of your body’s abilities and a sense of self-confidence that will allow you to traverse your world in an entirely new way.

You’ll also find yourself addicted.


In many ways, Parkour is similar to the martial arts. Its study involves learning a series of motions and exercises that include rolling, jumping, running and crawling, and each of these essential movements is practiced over and over until they are perfected and become second nature.

fitness2xtreme-images-parkour-20-zen-2-flAs they are learned and mastered, the exercises are varied to make them continually more challenging – instead of jumping from a height of two steps, you expand to three, then four, onward and upward – a squat and roll turns into a leap and roll and then a dive followed by multiple rolls.

As you grow stronger and more practiced your moves become freer, and as you become more comfortable with the exercises you are constantly expanding the challenge and competing against yourself.

Eventually the movements become so natural that they become more art than exercise and more mindset than sport, and you will be looking at the objects around you in terms of how you can play off of them, as though the world is a playground.

From refining individual movements in varied and random situations, the traceur progresses to combinations of movements that become more and more complex while also becoming smoother and less defined. Ultimately, the traceur pursues a mind state in which the individual movements lose their significance and are replaced instead with constant motion through any chosen environment. It is much like a martial art where you learn forms to master the basic movements only to gradually disregard these individual elements in pursuit of total mastery of the body and mind. –Jesse Woody at CrossFit


One of the aspects of Parkour that does not often get communicated – largely because it is not as much fun to use in commercials as crazy or dangerous acrobatic stunts – is how very scalable it is.

Like Crossfit, anybody can do Parkour training no matter their level of fitness.

Young and old, fit and fragile can reap the benefits of increased strength, flexibility, and perhaps most importantly – confidence.

fitness2xtreme-images-parkour-scaling-the-building-flLike Crossfit, Parkour practice consists of functional exercises that are designed to complement the steps you take in your everyday life just as much as they elevate the skills that extreme athletes need to navigate an unpredictable obstacle course, or that elite forces need to evade hidden enemies.

By virtue of the way that Parkour enthusiasts use the environment around them – which is constantly changing – its very nature instills adaptability. Parkour enthusiasts learn to view their surroundings and assess how to turn obstacles to their advantage, so that when they encounter a challenge they see nothing but opportunity.

Parkour is a natural confidence builder, as it slowly takes you from not being able to do much to being able to do things that you never would have guessed possible. When you look up at a wall that you know is higher than anything you’ve ever been able to scale before and you commit and manage to make it over, you feel like you can accomplish anything. After a while, that feeling starts to bleed out into the rest of your life. Adam at Road to Epic

Parkour skills are built one upon another in a natural progression. Start with a squat and then progress to falling into a roll. Perfect the landing and roll and move on to a roll with momentum.

Just as you couldn’t walk before you could stand up and you couldn’t run before you could walk, in Parkour you learn each basic move and then expand upon it. As you learn more and more moves you are also building your overall body and improving your technique and strength, and more importantly, building an understanding of how each move you have mastered can help you relate to the world around you.

fitness2xtreme-images-parkour-40-climbingYou find yourself assessing your surroundings in a whole new way as your faith in your own abilities grow, and the resulting lack of fear is what has attracted so much media attention: it is fascinating to watch real people behaving like characters in action movies, diving over fences headfirst and leaping long distances from great heights, but that is exactly what Parkour, when practiced and mastered, can deliver.


The basic moves in Parkour are so universal that they are used by everybody: they are needed in both our everyday lives and in extreme situations such as military maneuvers, and the practice regimen that is prescribed to perfect the techniques instills not only accuracy and strength, but also confidence.

Jumping is practiced not only for height and distance but also for precision landings, and a single practice session is not over until you have hit a target a minimum of twenty times.

Vaults are a science unto themselves, with moves ranging from a lazy one-handed vault that requires a minimum of momentum, to complicated reverse vaults that allow a continuation of momentum one hurdle to the next.


As each of these skills is mastered they are added to each other to create new ones. So that a move such as the Tic Tac or wall run, which involves running and then leveraging a vertical surface like a wall in order to bypass tall obstacles, is actually a combination of moves. Viewed on its own, the Tic Tac seems impossible; built into your toolbox as a natural progression from learning vaults and the use of momentum it feels natural. Climbing, swinging, running and crawling are all gradually added into the mix, and you end with an encyclopedic, automatic knowledge of the different ways that you can combine your strengths to get over, under or through any obstacle.


At first glance, Parkour can feel quite intimidating. Spend a few minutes watching YouTube videos of Parkour challenge races and you may have to pull your jaw up off of the floor, because it truly is amazing to watch real people hurtling through the air, tucking and rolling and popping back up to throw themselves at a wall.

Parkour is not a skill that can be picked up overnight; it requires hours of practice and real concentration and devotion before you transition from mechanical to dynamic.

But it is easy to see how, once progress is made, it would be difficult to stop, and it’s also easy to see how, once learned, it would turn a mud run’s flame pits and haystacks into tinker toys.

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