Parkour, what is it?
Parkour is an obscure sport that uses an environment and its contents as its course. The environment can be a city or urban area, forest, desert or mountains. This sports origin comes from military obstacle course training. Performed solo, or in a group The goal is to move through a chosen area or “course” as quickly as possible using many different movements to navigate an obstacle. For example, if a bridge is part of the course, a run across it will suffice. If a wall is part of the course, climbing or jumping is necessary. Other movements involved in Parkour are swinging, vaulting, rolling and crawling. the sport got its origins in France in the 1980’s running, and has been made popular in the 1990’s and 2000’s through television and movies using the sport to capture exciting scenes.
Parkour is a fascinating way to get an effective workout. The estimated calorie burn from an hour or Parkour is estimated at 300-400 calories. It is a discipline that warrants the practitioner to creatively and logically move from a complex setting to another. This sport is an art that comprises of climbing, swinging, running, rolling, and jumping through obstacles.
The practitioners of this sport use their own strength without the help from usual gym equipment. You have to physically overcome any challenges that serve as a blockade to your given route.
Since . This sport is simple, and you can practice it with other practitioners or alone in any urban space anywhere. All you need to do is imagine your environment differently. Try to find out a new and efficient method to navigate through, around, or across it as fast as possible.
The word Parkour is gotten from the French word “parcours du combatant” meaning an obstacle course. It is adapted from the military training course introduced by Hubert Kounde. The name is used to summarize all physical training like running, jumping, running, balancing, and other athletic personal advancements. It looks like a form of martial art although it’s non-combative. This sport is created in France by a former military officer Raymond Belle. However, in the 1980s, his son David Belle with his group of friends known as the Yamakasi upgraded it. These young men fine-tuned the moves to what it is today. They used their self-styled brand all through the 1990s to 2000s when it became popular. Its popularity comes as a result of advertisements, films, documentaries that feature Yamakasi.
The Ideal Environment for Parkour
The ideal environment for Parkour is anywhere there is space or where you have obstacles to cross. Urban environments come to mind since they usually have the required space and obstacles. However, most of the urban environment may not be safe for a beginner. That is why it is advisable to practice Parkour in controlled environments such as
The forest serves as an excellent choice of public space to do your training course. Inside a forest, you can get different sizes and shapes of trees for climbing which will also have different sizes of branches for swinging. In addition, boulders can be found for jumping. The forest can have a vast amount of built in natural obstacles to increase the challenge of the course.
You can move through the forest as you wish with minimal urban disturbance. It is the perfect place to upgrade your improvisational techniques and flow. Also, you can utilize the rocks, streams, logs, and bridges to serve as obstacles a platform. In the case of a fall, the floor of the forest can provide you with cushioning support.
• University Campuses
One of the best places where you can practice this sport safely is in a college campus. Their architecture and spaces are usually complex and interesting to warrant ample experimentation. When you come to various campuses, you can see stairs, rails, elevation changes, and ramps to occupy you for a while. One of the drawbacks will be campus security. More than likely, non students will be able to run around on college campuses, but if the campuses are open, such as being in a city center, you can have a great mix of an urban course but in a contained environment.
It is true that the playgrounds are often filled with child-sized equipment. However, you can still use them as a Parkour training set. Playgrounds already have the built in structures for jumping, and climbing along with the open space to run. They usually contain rubber underfoot or soft mulch for cushioning in case of any accidental slips or falls. The only downside to using the playground for Parkour is the presence of the children. Maybe, by having children watch Parkour in action, their curiosity can help bolster the future of the sport.
• The Beach
Another interesting environment for Parkour is the beach. The sand provides the forgiving surface while the terrain provides the much-needed space. Although it may be difficult to find structures for climbing, the wide open space will provide a great substitute for flips and other gymnastic style moves. Don’t forget your sunscreen and water shoes.
• The Gym
If you want an environment that is superbly controlled, a gymnasium is your best option. In this environment, you will get balance beams, trampolines, and mats. As a result, it is the most efficient and safest environment to brush-up your skills. For instance, if you accidentally fall off during Parkour, you wouldn’t be hurt badly. Gymnasiums can also provide instructional training on how to perform the jumping and tumbling moves while decreasing the chance of injury.
Parkour practitioners have trained their body to do stunts which might look crazy or hair-raising. However, they still follow a series of guiding principles. Although the training course may intimidate onlookers, the practice is quite simple. Almost anyone can become a Parkour athlete if he or she is ready to make out time and effort. Parkour centers are opening up all across the country which concentrate on learning how to run through obstacle courses and improving your finishing time while doing so. These centers also concentrate on teaching about recovery and self care such as foam rolling and facial release , since these moves can take a toll on your body. In addition to Parkour centers, there are also trampoline centers that are opening up around the country which can allow you to learn and practice the tumbling moves that are a Parkour center point.
Flexibility and recovery
Parkour is an intense sport and requires a lot from your body. Being flexible is a necessity to be able to perform all of the acrobatic moves related to the sport. Warming up and cooling down properly help maintain your flexibility and level of performance. Stiff muscles don’t’ move well, and to perform this sport you will need to move as freely as you are able. In addition, recovering from all of these moves is necessary to be able to continue to perform at your highest level. Learning about myofascial release will help you enjoy the sport for a long time. Learning how to use foam rollers and massage balls appropriately to address trigger points will allow you to recover from feeling the burn of an intense workout. Starting out with dynamic stretching helps to start a workout off right. Since Parkour is an all body workout, all body parts should be warmed up before starting. When the workout is complete, static stretching of those same areas will help recovery for the next session.
Best Parkour Shoes
Parkour is a pretty equipment limited sport. The only thing you need is a cool route to run and some shoes to run the course in. the type of shoes you need depend largely on the course you want to run. If running a course in the city, then regular running shoes should be fine. If running in the forest, a pair of trail running shoes should suffice. Of course, barefoot shoes if both varieties can also be chosen if desired. The features you should look for in buying shoes for this sport are:
- Shoe soles that feature a tread pattern to maximize chosen running surface
- Shoe construction that provides stability and support to assist with quick changes in direction. Often, lightweight shoes help with this.
- Insoles and outsoles that provide cushioning to absorb the impact from jumping over objects
- Flexibility to allow your foot to move during the extreme movements
- Price – Shoes with these attributes are available in many different price ranges
Things to Consider before Buying Shoes for Parkour
When you want to embark on this intense sport, you need to have the appropriate gear on your feet. That is why your shoes should be selected with care to avoid making mistakes.
The sole of your Parkour shoes is what will provide you will the required cushion. While searching for shoes, make sure that the insoles are comfortable for you. Many shoe manufactures have technology built into soles to help with comfort and stability, but they may not agree with your foot anatomy. Trying out different models may be necessary. Out soles provide the necessary grip for the environment of the course. Performing Parkour in an urban area will call for shoes with regular running soles. If running in the woods, trail running soles would provide the necessary grip for the terrain.
• Weight & Construction
Generally, shoes that are not heavy are known for their shock absorption. A lightweight running shoe can help in increasing speed. The heavier the show, the less ” feel” you may have. Think of it like a car. Generally, heavier cars don’t handle the road as well and have less feel of the road. If ” road feel” is your desire, then a lighter shoe may be the choice for you. If you lean toward needing increased cushion, then a heaver show can provide you with the cushion you need to make you feel comfortable. For new Parkour athletes, a heavier show with more stability features may be more suitable. Once you become more seasoned in the sport, the desire for a lighter shoe with more feel may be desired for faster results. Additionally, since this is a tough sport, looking for shoes that meet the weight requirement but are well constructed will allow you to take on the rigors of a course for as long as possible. Of course all shoes wear out, but choosing a well constructed shoe will allow you to go farther between shoe replacements.
When you want to buy your Parkour shoes, it is advisable to buy a pair that has the most features for your budget. If a compromise is needed, make sure its a feature that doesn’t effect your performance or comfort. The old adage “you get what you pay for” is definitely in place here.
Our Parkour Shoe Picks
We chose 4 different shoe models that cover the gambit from regular running, to trail , to minimalist. Hopefully these suggestions will help you make a choice based on your needs and preferences:
New Balance Fresh Foam Gobi Trail
The Fresh Foam Gobi provide rugged but classic good looks for running in the woods. Available in Blue/Red or Black/Tan, the studded grip provides great traction on wet surfaces. The mid sole cushioning provided is plush but lightweight, helping to meet your running needs. Amazon’s rating is 4.5 stars, with most reviewers commenting positively on the true to size fit and the comfort while running on and over rocky surfaces.
Adidas Terrex Climacool Voyager Water Shoe
In looking at the Climacool Voyager, you can’t tell they are water shoes. Possessing the traditional look of running shoes with a knit upper, the voyager features an out sole ideal for wet traction, drainage in the sole and mesh in the upper to help keep your foot dry. The average rating on Amazon is 4 stars. The review comments revolve positively around the fit and speed of drying. Most users feel that the shoe fits as expected.
New Balance Minimus 10v1 Trail
The minimus trail is a low rise trail hiking shoe that features Vibram shoe technology to allow the barefoot feel while trail running. The mesh upper allows quick drying to take place. The durable construction allows for longevity in tough conditions. Most customers say that the shoes are true to size, so keep this in mind when ordering. The great thing about New Balance shoes is that they come in standard and wide width, allowing for a great foot for a majority of athletes. The shoes are rated 4.5 out of 5 stars, with many users commenting about the tight fit across the forefoot of the shoe. This is where the consideration of choosing the wide width may be beneficial.
New Balance FuelCell Impulse
The Fuel Cell impulse are running shoes made for neutral runners, which means a stride that is fairly normal, where the foot strike is from the heel to the toes. The technology in the mid-sole allow energy to be transferred forward to help launch the next step. The cushioning is effective but lightweight for comfort. The outsole provides 2 different tread areas for traction and speed. The shoe runs on the small side, so consider ordering the next 1/2 size up, or the bigger width. Many customers have brought these shoes to replace the Vazee’s, citing a similar look and feel. Most customers also state that the shoe is true to size.
Since Parkour training has become a trend recently, it is advisable to use a good pair of shoes for best performance. You will be assured of safety since their flexibility and stability will help you improve your movement and will provide you with the cushioning that comes in handy for the rough terrain courses. When choosing shoes, remember to choose the features that will help your performance the most. Shoes can get expensive, but remember, you get what you pay for. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find a pair of shoes that aren’t reasonable in price, but you definitely shouldn’t sacrifice comfort for price. Well made shoes will show in their construction and longevity, to allow you to use the running and trail shoes for a long time.