I’m a fan of Parkour, and though I always try and stay objective in my writing, I think you may already know where this article is going to go.

I love the gym, I always have. I started work in a gym, cut my teeth on treadmills, leg presses and pec decks, but the fitness industry is so in flux that to stay relevant you have to move forward.

Utilising your body weight

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Over the last few years, I think we can all agree that body weight training has really pushed it’s way to the forefront of many peoples schedules.

When you eliminate equipment from your workout, you might find a lot of redundant pieces of kit in your gym.

When you find a discipline that requires a huge focus on body weight training to accomplish it, you can understand my reasoning behind the benefits of something like Parkour.

If you are unsure of what exactly Parkour is, take a look through my other articles on WatchFit, and you should find a more generalized piece on what it actually is.

A daily routine

In the gym, we may spend some time doing cardio, before moving onto our regularly scheduled program. Monday may be arms, back and chest, Tuesday may be legs, you all know the drill.

With your trusty program, you move on auto pilot through your session while plugging into your favourite music channel as you go.

It’s a tried and trusted formula, and that’s great, however…

In the meantime, let me try to explain what you may need to work on if you fancy learning Parkour.

What we should be aiming for

Good core stability is essential when practicing your moves, so working on your core is a must. Increasing strength through your core in the gym can be a laborious task when compared with Parkour training.

Whether in a gymnasium or outdoors, using your core to balance or to hold a position, is a challenging proposition.

Parkour practitioners will spend hours trying to perfect leg raises from a hanging position using a bar or a rail.

parkour_4In the gym we may use a chin up bar to work our arms backs and shoulders, but in Parkour we work on our arms, backs and shoulders while constantly using our core.

Hanging from a bar or rail, and lifting both legs up and forward to waist height, we work all of the above, and in Parkour, it is an unmissable part of training that must be done to help in long jumps and standing jumps.

In the gym we may use certain machines to work our upper body strength, but in Parkour, working on the Tuck Planche will engage our core while we use our arms, shoulders, back and chest.

With your palms on the floor, bring your knees in towards your chest and try to lift yourself off the ground.

Parkour vs. the gym

In Parkour this exercise is designed to help with handstands, vaults and climbs and the better you get at this, the more power you will have in movement.

Because it’s essential for the sport, it is practiced to perfection – something that can be overlooked in the gym.

While many gym bunnies may skip leg day, in Parkour training, it’s simply not that simple.

The importance of building strong powerful leg muscles, that aid in standing and moving propulsion leaps, is a must.

When in the gym, we may move between leg stations, when we can be bothered. In Parkour we simply must work those legs as much as possible.

It’s rare in the free running world to see people with over developed upper bodies, and under developed legs.

Pistol squats

Exercises such as Pistols are the bread and butter disciplines for the Parkour community.

Stand with all your weight on one leg, then squat down while extending your other leg straight in front of you.

parkour_6This incredible movement, the Pistol, challenges leg muscles to the max, while also making you focus on your core and balance.

It takes a long time to get comfortable with this move, you are relying solely on your own bodyweight and core, there is no frame to hold you in place, so getting it right is up to you.

As Parkour relies on incredible core and leg strength, this movement is never neglected or skipped.

There is no ‘leg day’, it’s always ‘leg day’

Depth jumps are another great way for building those quads up, and working on cardio. No bar bell across the shoulders required.

You may see free runners repeating this move as they strive for perfection.

From a small wall, step off and land, bend the knees then jump into the air again.

The benefit of parkour

As simple as that, it is repeated to help with height jumps and propulsion’s, but it has the added bonus of really challenging the leg muscles and increasing your cardio.

This advanced move is learned from the smallest of drops as it is very high impact and has to be built up to.

The higher the wall the more stress on those joints, but when approached correctly it takes out another boring session at the gym.

So you see, as far as free runners are concerned, there are so many ways to achieve a gym body, while training for Parkour.

It’s no surprise that beginner Parkour classes are still springing up all over the world, as interested people start to see the sport as a way of keeping fit, either outdoors or in specialist gyms, free running is an exciting and exhilarating fitness experience that when embraced correctly, could change your fitness regime forever.

Connect with  Expert Louie Fecou

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