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Parkour basics – kick off your New Year with a new sport

By Keiran Hawke Subscribe to RSS | May 16th 2012 | Views:
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New year means new beginnings in many ways and a popular way to start the year is to start a new hobby. One which requires little equipment to start with is parkour – you only need a pair of sneakers that have a good grip, loose t-shirt and tracks pants. The environment is anything you find in urban surroundings, so you don’t need to travel to far-away places or specially designed training fields.

It may look easy, but to be good at parkour (in Finnish: parkour) takes dedication, discipline and practice. Traceurs (those who practice parkour) have worked hard for a number of years to perfect their fitness and technique. But this dedication never stops, parkour is a constant work in progress.

Wikipedia states that parkour is of French origin in which participants attempt to pass obstacles in the most smooth and fluid manner possible, using skills such as jumping and climbing, or the more specific parkour moves.

The obstacles can be anything in one's environment, so parkour is often seen practiced in urban areas because of many suitable public structures that are accessible to most people, such as buildings and rails.

The basic moves of parkour have names but the deeper idea behind the whole sport is that you don’t perform pre-defined movements, rather than use your own body and creativity as a combination of overcoming any obstacles. Typical traceur moves are vaults, handstands, drops, various kind of jumps over gaps, rails or to and from walls.

Parkour might look like something that only the seasoned stunt men or gymnasts perform when you look at the most daring videos on Youtube or see it done in a movie. However, having low level of fitness is not a barrier to starting parkour, you can begin at whatever level you feel comfortable with, try vaulting small fences or climbing tiny walls or even just practice your jumping on firm ground to work on your balance.

The kind of fitness most useful for parkour is strength in your arms to lift your body weight, and power in your legs to jump. Use body weight exercises like push-ups and chin-ups to improve your upper body strength and endurance.

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