Training for parkour requires a moderate base level of fitness. Most athleticism in parkour relies on your body's ability to support and lift its own weight, in addition to speed and agility exercises. For this reason, weights and gym equipment are unnecessary for parkour, though training in these areas does not hinder practice.
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You need ample upper-body, core and leg strength to practice parkour meaningfully. Prepare your body through mastering push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and squats. Push-ups develop general upper-body and back strength, while pull-ups work key muscle groups used in climbing, mounting and muscling up and over obstacles. Sit-ups help develop your core muscles, which stabilize the other muscle groups in your body. Squats build your leg strength, which will greatly assist you in jumping, sprinting and climbing. American Parkour suggests you begin practicing parkour with a base fitness level of 25 push-ups, 50 body-weight squats and five pull-ups.
Maintaining and improving your cardiovascular fitness will ensure your body is prepared for parkour training. While any form of cardiovascular activity is beneficial, running trains your body best for parkour activity. Practice sprinting short and medium distances of 50, 100, 200 and 400 meters to build strength in your legs. Mix in jogs or runs of longer distances to build your overall cardio strength. Focus on maintaining an elevated heart rate for at least 20 minutes.
Parkour shares a variety of mutually beneficial skills with gymnastics. Both sports utilize many of the same muscle groups. The agility and precision developed through training devices such as balance beams, parallel and uneven bars translate easily to the urban obstacles of parkour. While it is not essential to be proficient in gymnastics before practicing parkour, training in similar activities to develop some of the same skills will benefit any traceur.
Parkour vs. Free-Running
Free-running is a sport that has much in common with parkour. Parkour focuses mainly on expressing freedom of thought and expression through movement. Because of this, parkour lacks predefined moves or routines and instead encourages traceurs to use their imagination and talent to propel themselves around and over obstacles to define their own path in life. Free-running lends itself to a competitive atmosphere where participants focus more on flourish, strength and style.