I first covered some of my initial thoughts on Parkour in Etre fort pour ĂȘtre utile. In particular I still believe in the definition:

Parkour is navigating any environment quickly, confidently, and efficiently with only the capabilities of your body.

What do I get out of parkour?

In short I believe I am getting a lot out of it. Exactly what that is seems to be hard to define in one or two sentences. I'll attempt to answer by giving a brief overview of my approach to parkour.

First, parkour is only an extension of the rest of my training. I am not spending hours each day on developing the skills. I have no desire to attempt jumps or drops from ridiculous heights. My primary focus is not on becoming an exceptional traceur. It is a vehicle for variety, enjoyment and development of skills that I would otherwise be unlikely to develop.

Currently I am only working on the basics. In fact, I think I will only be working on the basics for quite some time. These include the run-of-the-mill vaults, wall runs, hurdling, underbars, rolls and essentially techniques that do not put me at significant risk of injury. These are a skill set that I find difficult to develop. There are two main reasons behind this. The first is a certain amount of explosive power is required. This has always been a weak point for me. Blame it on genetics, it has never come naturally. The second is I find I tend to have a lack of confidence in my abilities to perform a number of these skills. This in turn leads to hesitation or lack of commitment in vaults or the like, which makes them even harder to perform.

The personal difficulty I find in these skills is part of the appeal. Working hard is yielding results that I can see. Over certain obstacles I am now very confident in clearing them without a problem. Improvement builds motivation. I just love getting better at something.

It keeps the mind working. I am still a geek at heart. Something that gets my brain working under pressure has appeal. Trying to find the most efficient or quickest way through an environment, while the body is working under a substantial physical load just screams fun at me. It is something I enjoy in orienteering as well. Just with parkour, that environment now has a vertical element as well. Fences, stairs, walls, ditches or railings no longer confine me to move a certain way around them. There are now so many possibilities over, under, through or past them.

There is a carryover into race skills. While not obvious at first glance, they are there. Parkour develops the ability and mindset to maintain motion. A change in direction shouldn't result in a stop and turn, but rather a smooth and seamless redirection of energy into the desired direction. Combining this with the increased proprioception and kinesthetic awareness developed, racing that requires agility or changes in direction gaining appeal to me. I used to very good at running in straight line only. This is changing for the better.

The explosiveness developed through the various plyometric, sprinting and eccentric skills required of parkour are translating into the ability for sudden and substantial increases in pace. I am finally developing some sort of final kick. These skills are also translating into triathlon or duathlon transitions. The running access or egress to and from the bike should be enhanced. Of course, to be able to use all these extras, I need to develop my basics of racing through more specific training. No good just having the icing, if there is no cake to put it on.

In the end, I am enjoying parkour from both a mental and physical outlook. It also seems to be adding a little to my racing set of skills. If it wasn't fun, I wouldn't be doing it.


  1. Fun is a good enough reason.

    I've got to admit, I'd rather try Parkour than boring old box jumps and plyometrics to develop explosive power.

    You should try the steeplechase!


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