Using the Park to Aid Your Training, Not Impede It

Date Posted: 2013-03-04

So unless you've been living under a rock, you will know that we have a brand new parkour park. This has been a dream of ours for a long time and after 2 years of campaigning, it's finally here. It provides us with a near perfect environment to hone our skills, as well as a place for new traceurs to find their feet think the park is a fantastic addition to what we can provide, and gives everyone other practitioner in the area a place to gather.

However, I do have one major worry, and that is with how attitudes to training may change with the opportunities that the park gives us. For example, there are many bollards scattered around the park, which gives rise to possibly hundreds of potential precisions, cat leaps, strides etc. Now on the face of it, this is exactly what we want, a set of peogressively more difficult movements that allow us to improve and continue to use the park without it getting dry. On the other hand, the immediate availability of another bigger, harder (and sometimes more dangerous) jump can be our downfall from a training perspective. Amidst the excitement of Saturday's opening, it very quickly turned into 'who can do the biggest precision' or 'who can front flip out of this precision'. This kind of training is a sure fire route to chronic injury, such as knee, ankle, and wrist injuries.

Whilst on the high from completing a new jump, it is easy to forget that perhaps your body is not strong enough to cope with the stress that you are putting it under (we are all guilty!). Coming back to the park, it is so easy and tempting to move onto the next biggest running precision after landing the one you've been working on. Running precisions in particular are one of the most dangerous moves to drill at your capacity, as the incredible momentum you achieve whilst doing them can cause havoc with your knees. Just think back to all of the 'first' traceurs such as David Belle, Sebastien Foucan, The Yamakasi, and that they are all still training successfully into their fourties, whereas nowadays freerunnera are disposable, and often leave the scene after 2 or 3 years with injuries. This is purely down to the individuals training styles, the old school traceurs would stick a small precision 10,20, 50 times before moving on, and they still have perfect technique now, and are still as strong as ever.

What I am trying to say is that the park is an amazing tool to help us advance, but it could be a curse. We want our community to thrive, not dwindle down to the few that trained properly. Whilst at the park, take the time to stick the precision that you are trying, then repeat it again and again. After you've done the cat leap, climb up and over the wall, and down the other side. This type of training will improve your strength and general parkour and save you from unwanted injuries. Remember one of the focuses of parkour 'être y durer', and enjoy your training for a long time to come!

Kieran

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