Parkour Conditioning - Drew Taylor 24/12/09
Conditioning is an important aspect of your training. Although movement training can directly increase muscle mass and power, conditioning can help speed up the process and allow your body to keep up with your skill related improvements. Without any preparation for parkour practitioners are highly susceptible to injury, especially when dealing with great impact. Not to mention that without the necessary power there is a limit to your ability. When starting Parkour any kind of conditioning will make some difference.
A lot of the time on the internet when practitioners are looking for parkour conditioning resources to give them an idea of a suitable workout routine, they are just given individual exercises with no information on how often to use them, or how long for. Hopefully this article will help you understand the theory behind conditioning, and teach you how to build your own specific training regime. The template routine use only bodyweight exercises. This means you don’t have to buy any weights, membership to a gym or any special equipment –just like parkour!
When creating any workout routine, it’s important to bear in mind what you want to gain out of the workout. Common aims for parkour conditioning might be something along the lines of faster climb up, or jump further. Although these are goals, they’re not specific enough to be rewarding. Being able to jump a foot further would be a better goal as this can be measured and definitely achieved.
Key areas that are essential Parkour are as follows; power, agility, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. Training programmes should focus on improving weak areas from the above, conditioning should be included as part of your training to improve power.
Basic Principles for Training
The fundamental movements of Parkour use arm and leg power. Strength can be defined as the ability to generate large forces regardless of the speed of contraction, power as explosive strength. Power and strength are often incorrectly thought as of the same. It’s possible for someone with great strength not to be powerful, yet power requires a certain base of strength. Parkour requires forces to be exerted at a quick rate to generate momentum. Therefore power is vitally important to any Parkour training; however it is important to have a base of strength developed before or along with power.
Two main principles that would lead to increased strength and power are overload and specificity. Overload can be understood as the principle of applying stress that is greater than normally experienced. Overloading is necessary because the body only improves when it has to, if it is experiencing stress that it can’t deal with it needs to get stronger in order to cope with it.
Specificity is the principle of performing exercises as close to the actions the power is required for as possible. When the body adapts by getting stronger, the adaptations are specific to the action. The specificity applies to the actual movement, the speed and frequency of contractions. This means that when training to increase power the exercises should resemble the movements they are required for.
The basis of power training should be based on sets of maximum repetitions. Maximum repetitions are the maximum amount of a given exercise in a row physically possible for you. Three sets of maximum have proven to be the most efficient way of building power. Exercises should be performed as quickly as possible in order to build explosive strength.
Keeping it Simple, Template Routine
To start you off, here is a template programme for beginners to follow. Of course it’s adaptable for you if you feel any changes are necessary.
- Push Ups 3-4 sets of maximum repetitions (resting 1-2 minutes between sets) vary width between arms
- Pull Ups 3 sets of maximum repetitions (resting 2-3 minutes between sets) focusing on pulling as quickly as possible
- Forward Squats 4-5 sets of maximum repetitions (resting 1-2 minutes between sets) focus on moving both ends of the femur simultaneously
- Ankle Raises 3-4 sets of maximum repetitions (resting 2-3 minutes between sets) focus on constantly keeping your heels raised off the ground
- Twisting Crunches 3-4 sets of maximum repetitions (resting 2-3 minutes between sets) focus on using core muscles
- Plank 2 sets of holding for 1-2 minutes (resting 2-3 minutes between sets) if you have any back problems, avoid this exercise
- Leg Raises 3 sets of maximum repetitions (resting 2-3 minutes between sets) focus on using lower abdominals
Conditioning can be used as an aspect of your training. It’s important to remember that we’re not designed to spend all day in the gym exercising for hours and hours. Parkour conditioning should be done irregularly (progressively more regular) and intense in order to build muscle in the most healthy way. When accompanied with the correct diet, you will find that your maximum repetitions increase, and parkour movements become quicker and less tiring. Exercising damages muscle’s it’s important to rest enough, and eat well to make sure the tissue repairs how it should do.
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