Basic Parkour Techniques: How to Get Started in Parkour
An introduction to the basic parkour techniques you need to know...
So, you’re after some basic parkour techniques? Presumably you’re looking to get involved in parkour, or you’re looking to tone some of the skills you've been building up.
Well, good on you. You’re asking the right questions. Gone are the days where people were asking ‘what is parkour’? These days, people are asking about the difference between freerunning and parkour, about parkour videos, parkour fails, parkour in London and parkour around the UK.
People are becoming educated in the discipline, and it’s becoming wonderfully uncommon to hear the word batted around in everyday conversation as a consequence.
Of course, people also asking about basic parkour techniques, which makes us happy, because it means that the sport of parkour, which has been booming for over a decade now, is continuing to grow even further.
Now, if you really want to get involved in parkour, you should really check out a parkour class. There are plenty of them about in the UK. We're not experts here at Mpora and can only outline some basic techniques, which we don't advice trying out without an expert helping you out or giving you tips.
If you're looking for some entry-level information though, you're in the right place. So, without further ado, let’s get started...
Basic Parkour Techniques: Balancing
Everything comes down to balance in parkour. Running, jumping, climbing and vaulting are all core skills of the practise, but without the right balance, you’ll never be able to really perfect them, let alone link them together.
Some of the best ways to improve your balance include challenging yourself on simple surfaces like rails or curbs, or working in the gym with balance beams. If you’re looking for other activities or sports that will help your balance, try a session or two of yoga or see how you find slacklining.
Basic Parkour Techniques: Running
Parkour is all about getting from A to B as efficiently as possible, and making use of your surroundings to do exactly that. If you’re surroundings are just one wall between A and B, sure you’re going to need to vault it, but the bulk of the journey is going to be about your sprint and your running abilities.
Sprint training can prove imperative for parkour. It helps increase your lung capacity, your all round fitness and will be absolutely essential if you are going to make parkour a new hobby or passion.
Basic Parkour Techniques: Jumping
Precision jumping is another key feature of parkour. It’s great to get yourself along to the gym and use a jumping box to perfect your precision. Training in such a way, and moving the boxes further apart and using bigger and more challenging features will help your jumping to no end.
When you are confident with your jumping, try running jumps, making sure you stop exactly where you mean to and building from there, and then take it outdoors. This will mean that when you have to jump from wall to wall, you’ll have the confidence not to go under or overshoot.
You should also look into practising the tic-tac jump, which involves kicking off objects to reach higher objects above. This is best done outdoors, on walls, or even trees. This will prove crucial for quickly overcoming large walls and getting past features that would stop others from getting through. And you'll feel like Super Mario.
When you’re looking to take on a gap, remember the ‘cat jump’ technique. This is useful for when a feature is too high for you to land on it on your feet. You’ll end up hanging from the wall or feature here, with your legs downwards and your toes pointed into the building, giving you the grip to climb onwards. This is incredibly dangerous of course without appropriate strength and training, so don’t try without practise from lower, safer levels.
Basic Parkour Techniques: Dropping and Landing
Dropping from a level significantly higher than your landing zone can be dangerous, and you’ll need to build up to it slowly and steadily, so that you have the confidence and technique to make sure you don’t get hurt.
So, what landing techniques do you need to know? Two-foot landings and rolling landings can both be useful, so you need to work on both, and work on knowing when to use each.
The two-foot landing can be worked on in the gym on the same boxes used for practising jumping, and also of course on pretty much any street corner.
You need to let your body come down to your legs and get your hands on the ground when landing, spreading the impact and lowering your centre of gravity. Make sure you’ve stopped completely and with stability, or else the fall could hurt.
The rolling landing can be harder to practise. Rolling is a technique used after dropping from height. Basic technique is to tuck the head into the armpit, make yourself into a ball and then look to land rolling on your shoulders, not causing any head damage or even contact. You should roll diagonally to spread the contact and let you bounce back up. Practise at first through running jumps and build from there – don’t rush this one or it will be dangerous.
When you master it, you’ll be able to quickly transition back into a run and it’ll be a move that lets you take your parkour movements to new levels.
Basic Parkour Techniques: Climbing
Another essential, climbing again relies on balance and will see you combine the aforementioned tic-tac jump with upper body strength and technique.
If you’ve got a bouldering wall near you, we can’t recommend highly enough heading along and learning the technique – climbing is not about brute strength, it’s about using your body in the most efficient and practical way possible.
Be sensible. Don’t climb outside of your skill level and don't climb higher than you know you can jump down. The tic-tac wall run will serve you well here, and with good arm strength this should come naturally.
Basic Parkour Techniques: Vaulting
This is often the part of parkour that looks coolest, so obviously, you’re going to want to get it down. Vaulting over objects can give you the fluidity to your parkour looking smooth, and the best place to practise is the gym, with a beam ideally. If you don’t have that access, find a small wall and practise using that, but – yup, you guessed it – be careful!
Typically, you’ll put your nearest hand on the object to be vaulted and jump the rest of your body over, but there are various forms of vaulting, including putting both arms on the feature and taking your legs into your body as you jump through them. You normally won’t be vaulting anything over one metre – you should be tackling those kind of objects through climbing techniques – but these are great to know for when you’re out in the run.
Those are some of the basics. If you want to get involved in parkour, get expert help from the likes of Parkour UK, Parkour Generations or any of the other numerous parkour classes in the UK. They'll guide you more than we ever could!