Avatar photo

By Sean Van Staden

Columnist


A Better You: Discover the thrill of parkour

The year 2020 is about having more fun.


If you are tired of the old boring gym, or maybe you don’t see yourself squeezing into those tight cycling shorts then perhaps, maybe taking up Parkour will help. I’m pretty sure some will be asking “what is Parkour?’ right now, so here’s the low down. Parkour is an extreme sport and a form of art that has been popular in the United States and Europe for over a decade now and its popularity among athletes continues to increase as we learn more about the sport, its movements and purpose. ============= Parkour venues in Gauteng CFC Parkour - Sandton Kaizen…

Subscribe to continue reading this article
and support trusted South African journalism

Access PREMIUM news, competitions
and exclusive benefits

SUBSCRIBE
Already a member? SIGN IN HERE

If you are tired of the old boring gym, or maybe you don’t see yourself squeezing into those tight cycling shorts then perhaps, maybe taking up Parkour will help.

I’m pretty sure some will be asking “what is Parkour?’ right now, so here’s the low down.

Parkour is an extreme sport and a form of art that has been popular in the United States and Europe for over a decade now and its popularity among athletes continues to increase as we learn more about the sport, its movements and purpose.

=============

Parkour venues in Gauteng

CFC Parkour – Sandton

Kaizen Parkour – Braamfontein

Jozi x Parkour – Bryanston

==============

The sport involves using your body to move efficiently and swiftly through any natural or man-made environment.

Practitioners of Parkour are referred to as “traceurs” and the goal of a traceur is to develop his or her body while using a variety of different techniques and skills in order to achieve a certain level of mastery over the natural obstacles around us every single day.

Traceurs are the masters of chase or escape, getting from point A to point B over any obstacles as quickly, and as smoothly as possible, adding some fun and dimension to your life by using outdoor environments to expand your workout space and making the outdoors your playground.

Objects, pavements and buildings become a three-dimension tool for you to play, just like a kid again.

This is when you burn the most calories, when you play, as a 20-minute cycle or gym workout already puts you in a neg-ative state of mind, as you are thinking “will this will be the longest 20 minutes of my life”?

Parkour workout benefits

High intensity workout for a short duration of time.

  • Burn anywhere between 400 to 800 calories per session dependent on the intensity of the workout.
  • Feel like a kid again, scaling ledges, walls and benches.
  • Make better use of your body’s ability to move freely while moving your own body weight for ultimate efficiency.

Building muscle

  • One of the best ways to train for explosive power and strength is by the use of plyometrics. Plyometrics is defined as exercises that enable muscles to develop strength and power in a short period of time.
  • The gluteal muscles, hamstrings and quadriceps are all involved in the varying degrees of plyometric work with smaller muscles coming into play to complete these movements efficiently like your hip flexors to lift your legs high enough to get onto the box or over the obstacle which you are completing.
  • The quadriceps are involved in extending the knee when jumping or sprinting, but also plays a key role in decelerating an athlete on a jump landing or directional change movements.
  • The hamstrings powerfully extend the hip for explosive jumps and sprint acceleration but also flex and support the knee for different movements. The gluteal muscles also play a big role in decelerating an athletes’ ex-plosive jump and during agility movements.
  • As you can see there are big muscle groups being used for plyometric/explosive movements and this may cause a certain risk of injury.

How to avoid injury

  • Find a good “traceur” in your area with knowledge on different people trying parkour out for the first time.
  • Complete a good warm-up before starting your training session to ensure muscles are prepared for the movements they are expected to make.
  • With various degrees of movement, our core need to be strong enough to control our bodies as they move in different directions at different speeds etc.
  • Ensure that your diet includes enough protein for muscle repair and building to keep up.

REMEMBER!

The year 2020 is about having more fun.

Its about playing as well as getting toned and in tune with your body.

If you are hating the exercise you have chosen right now and trying to find excuses as to why you shouldn’t do the said exercise then, basically, you haven’t found your passion or something you enjoy.

My suggestion for this year, is, find something that you love and something which you can play again that has the benefits of good  cardio and good workouts to keep your health and life in check for 2020.

Sean van Staden is a sport scientist. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanVStaden or visit advancedsp.co.za.

For more sport your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

Read more on these topics

Sean van Staden Sport columnists

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits