The art of parkour is a full-body discipline that can help you stay in shape and regulate your body weight. A parkour workout involves nearly every muscle in your body and covers several problem areas, like your mid-section, arms and thighs. While you build strength and muscle tone, you'll also shed pounds of unwanted fat. Try this complete body weight workout three days a week and you'll quickly notice the results.
Running off the Weight
At its core, parkour is a runner's sport. The emphasis should be placed on moving forward and not bounding up and down. By keeping your body in an S formation, you maintain proper running posture and maximize your movements. Start with walking in long, deliberate strides. This will stretch out the muscles in your legs. Perform this walking warm-up for approximately five minutes. Next, increase your speed by leaping forward with every stride. Progress from a long leaping walk to a steady jog. Maintain your pace for at least two minutes. Then, break into an all out sprint, breathing deeply every fifth or sixth step. Repeat this circuit three to five times to increase your cardiovascular health and burn tons of calories.
Vaulting to a Healthier Body
Parkour vaults are a great way to lose weight and target your body's midsection. The reverse vault crosses over an obstacle by swiveling the body 360 degrees. Find a 3 foot rail or use a sturdy block in your local gym. Stand directly in front of the obstacle and place both arms down at your side. Put your left hand on the obstacle first and swivel your body to the right. Place your right hand on the obstacle as you turn and bring your legs down on the opposite side. Perform 12 to 15 repetitions of this exercise, alternating from your left to right side. Once this exercise is no longer challenging, try using only one hand to perform the vault.
In parkour, climbing engages both the upper and lower body. Start by climbing a vertical rope using the pinch method, pulling up with your arms and pinching the rope between your thighs. Expand and contract your entire body like a caterpillar, worming your way to the height of the rope. Next, approach a ledge or wall that is at least an arm's length taller than your body. Leap to the edge of the wall and grip the ledge with your hands. Pull your body up with your arms and use your feet for stability. In parkour, this is called a muscle up. Perform 3 to 5 circuits of this exercise routine to tone up your arms and shoulders.
Quadrupedal movement is one of the best training techniques in parkour. It involves traversing obstacles by using both your hands and feet. Like a cat, you crouch down to the ground, lowering your center of gravity. Keep your back straight and run as fast as you can, mimicking the movements of a four-legged animal. This strengthens tensor muscles all over your body, increases your overall sense of balance and promotes quicker reaction time. First, perform five cat leaps to your left and five cat leaps to your right, exploding from the quadrupedal position. Then, move forward along the ground for a duration of no less than two minutes. Perform the same movement backwards for two minutes. Run this circuit three to five times for a total body burn.
Frederick S. Blackmon's love for fiction and theater eventually led to a career writing screenplays for the film and television industry. While living in Florida, Blackmon began exploring issues on global warming, health and environmental science. He spent two years as a Parkour and free-running instructor as well. Now he writes everything from how-to blogs to horror films.