Everything You Wanted to Know About Parkour: Benefits And Drawbacks

benefits and drawbacks of parkourObstacle courses can overwhelm. They are not for the fainthearted.

The high speeds and possible injuries that come with Parkour training are daunting for some. This discipline, like all others, has benefits and drawbacks. Those who want to take it up can use a few helpful suggestions.

What is Parkour Training?

Parkour is a training discipline that draws on movements similar to those used in military obstacle course training. Its goal is to get from Point A to B, through an obstacle course, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Participants, known as traceurs, run, climb, vault, swing, jump or roll. Bearing safety in mind, traceurs try to keep their momentum. Movements are repetitive.

A Brief History Of Parkour Training

French Naval Officer Georges Herbert was an early forerunner of Parkour Training. While serving the French navy in World War 1, he developed and promoted athletic movements based on those used by indigenous Africans. He sorted these movements into ten fundamental groups, including:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Jumping
  • ¬†Quadrupedal movements
  • Climbing
  • Balancing
  • Throwing
  • Lifting
  • Self-defence
  • Swimming

Raymond Belle and his son David developed the discipline further. After being sent to a military orphanage when he was seven, Raymond realized that he had to train hard to survive. He used a training method known as “Parcours”.

David, a gymnast, later learned about Parcours and began similar training. Initially doing so by himself, he began to work closely with his father and cousins Sebastian Foucan, Chau Belle Dinh, Williams Belle and others.

They founded Parcour training on the principles of honesty, humility, respect and diligence. The motivation of participants was thoroughly assessed. They allowed no lateness for training. Traceurs had to respect their health.

They considered movements that resulted in injuries as failures.

Humility and respect for others was important. No traceur could feel superior over others. (link)

The Benefits of Parkour Training

Traceurs will attest to the amazing benefits of Parkour training.

These advantages explain why participants continue with it, despite pain and injury:

A healthy body

One of Parkour’s benefits is that it nurtures health and physique. Certain Parkour movements promote muscle development.

As muscles use more proteins, they develop more ability to produce force. Traceurs eventually gain better control of their bodies.

The training also develops the nervous system. During training, the nervous system receives input from the eyes, ears, skin and vestibules. Parkour enhances the nervous system and fine tunes motor skills.

Confidence

It also increases confidence. Many traceurs say that they have done things which they never thought possible before. When a person does not feel confident about accomplishing a task, he only needs to remember how he overcame obstacles during his training. (link)

Nurtures Creativity

During a Parkour training session, participants have to think of creative ways to overcome unexpected obstacles. Parkour is a way to develop quick, effective creativity. (link)

Thinking On Your feet

Improvements to the nervous system allow traceurs to think more on their feet. Traceurs have to make decisions to overcome obstacles quickly.They are more able to improvise at important points during work presentations or respond quickly in emergency situations. (article)

Positive Attitude

Traceurs form a gracious community, with members taking care of each other. No one can criticize others or complain during training. Parkour inculcates values of respect, humility and a positive attitude to life.

Parkour Training Drawbacks

Training methods are not without flaws, and Parkour is no different.

Motivation

Traceurs who are new to the method may find it difficult to start. Limited resources explain it, and it is not easy to translate it into practice.

Collaborating

If there is no traceur community living nearby, finding others to train with is a task. It is not easy to convince others to take up a regimented, physically demanding discipline.

Weather

Snow makes training difficult for traceurs. It can become too cold to train outside, and training indoors is costly.

Injuries

Unless a traceur physically conditions himself, he can expect a few cuts and bruises during training. Having said that, these are not a problem if he does not attempt movements that are too physically demanding. (link)

Who Gains Most From Parkour?

Parkour training benefits everyone, but there are some who will draw even more from it.

Athletes

Athletes, especially those who have to go over hurdles, will benefit from Parkour training. The training will make hurdles an easy obstacle to overcome. Parkour training will enable runners to move faster than before.

Organizations/Groups

Collaboration is an important part of Parkour training. Organizations can make it a regular team building activity. It will enable co-workers to synergize and relate to each other with more respect.

Anyone Who Needs to Develop Motor Skills

Parkour training enhances body control, and muscles develop more strength. It fine tunes motor skills and coordination.

Anyone Who Needs Self-conditioning

As training progresses, traceurs will learn body conditioning techniques and develop skills to protect themselves from injury. Anyone who wants to develop self-conditioning techniques should try it. (link)

What To Consider Before Taking Up Parkour

The benefits of Parkour training are clear. A potential traceur, however, has a few points to ponder before starting.

Location

The first of these is finding places to train. Those new to Parkour training may grumble that there is no available training ground.

Scour the neighborhood and look at it through the eyes of someone who practices Parkour. Walls and ledges on the street may serve as obstacles. As time progresses, traceurs may discover new objects that they can uses as hurdles.

Conditioning

The next is body conditioning. Exercise, which needs discipline, is never fun, so people would rather avoid body conditioning if they can.

However, it is not possible to complete impressive jumps without conditioning. Traceurs can incorporate hundreds of fun, body conditioning exercises into their training routines.

Coming to Terms With Fear

Parkour involves having to overcome a few dangerous hurdles, so it is important to conquer fear. While it is important to practice safety and self-preservation, fear can hamper progress. As training progresses, traceurs find that these dangers are no longer scary.

Collaborating

If possible, find a small group of two to four people to train with. Collaborators can suggest new ways to move and offer constructive feedback to improve performance.

A search via Google will show the available Parkour training groups in different locations. A search on Facebook will point traceurs to communities in their areas as well.

Starting Parkour Training

With those thoughts in mind, one can start Parkour training. To begin, potential traceurs should take these steps.

1. Body conditioning

Body conditioning has to become a regular part of a Parkour training routine. Overcoming obstacles takes endurance. Basic calisthenics such as sit-ups, push-ups and squats help.

Running often is essential. Running is indispensable to Parkour training, as its goal is to complete courses as fast as possible. It is important to run between 11 to 16 km per week.

A healthy diet is essential as well. Traceurs should have a balanced diet of lean proteins, vegetables, fruits and legumes. They should avoid processed foods that are high in fat and drink lots of water.

2. Practice Different Moves.

Parkour entails high jumps and other demanding movements. These can result in a lot of pain, so it is essential to practice landing and rolling. Traceurs should begin by jumping over a half or one meter distance and land on the soles of their feet. They should do forward rolls when jumping from heights.

In addition, they should practice vaulting, jumping and climbing moves. Traceurs may develop their own style of performing them over time. Many suggest running up to short walls, kicking off with one foot, grabbing the edges and jumping over.

Parkour training has a few flaws, but anyone can enjoy it. All it takes is a little resilience, determination and discipline.

Here is the cool video to watch to get motivated – enjoy:

YouTube Preview Image

Read our parkour shoes guide here

If you enjoyed this article please consider sharing it: