If you’ve seen someone running through the city leaping over walls, doing flips and launching off of any object in her path, she probably didn’t just rob a bank. No, she isn't batman either. She’s probably just exercising and doing so in a much more efficient way than the runner far behind her. Parkour is a type of exercise that was developed in World War I to get from one place to another in the most efficient way possible. Parkour requires agility, strength, balance and stamina -- and a lot of it. So before you try to launch off the building, prepare your body first.
Run. Regardless of the amount of obstacles in your path, the core of parkour is running. Begin by running for five minutes and then walking for two minutes. Do this for a total of 20 minutes. Work your way up to be able to run continuously for 40 minutes. Run up stairs and hills to increase your stamina.
Do strength training. Include pushups, pullups, dips, squats, lunges, box jumps, crunches, reverse crunches and planks in your program. Use a barbell to do the military press and deadlift. Begin with a small weight on the barbell -- around 10 pounds -- and increase the weight by 5 pounds each week. Your legs, arms and abs must be strong for parkour, so the more repetitions you can do and the more weight you can lift, the better. Start small, meaning one set of 15 repetitions of each exercise, and work your way up to three sets of 20 repetitions to avoid injury.
Try plyometrics. Plyometrics are explosive exercises that use movements that are also employed in parkour. Jump rope for five minutes and then jump side to side for five minutes. Squat to the ground and jump as high as you can into the air. Repeat this movement 20 times. Do a pushup and then stand up and jump into the air, doing this movement 20 times.
Stretch. Include leg, back and arm stretches in your daily routine. Flexibility is key to successfully doing parkour without injuring yourself.
Balance and Agility
Step onto a stair that is about 1 ½ feet high with your right foot. Jump into the air, reaching your arms into the air. Land with your knees slightly bent. Repeat on the other leg.
Stand on a wide staircase. Place your right hand on one step. Place your left hand on the step above it. Shift your weight to your hands and lift your legs off of the ground. Move your legs to the steps above you. Move your legs to the steps below you. If you are not confident with this movement, have a friend spot you in case you fall.
Practice walking on rails. Start with curbs and slowly increase to slightly higher rails -- up to 1 to 2 feet off of the ground. Do not try to walk on high rails, as you could fall and injure yourself.
Stand on the balls of your feet. Squat until your bottom touches your heels. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Stand up and put your feet flat on the ground. Repeat the move 10 times.
- Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.
- Parkour can be dangerous; do not try any dangerous jumps or flips unless you are a professional.
Though constantly traveling the world, Julia Williams is based in Chicago and has been writing since 2006. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting. She is also a licensed fitness instructor, specializing in Pilates since 2003 and has written hundreds of articles on exercise and health.