How to Get Started in Parkour or Free Running

Three Methods:Teach YourselfGroup Training and CoachingCommon Methods For Succeeding in Parkour

If you've seen people doing crazy jumps over railings and through cities, these trained experts are probably practicing either parkour, or free running. Parkour is a form of movement that stresses efficiency and speed, requiring you to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible whilst co-incidently interpreting jumps and flips and tricks into your route. Free Running is similar, but it also involves aesthetic movements such as flips, spins and many other forms of flair. Read on to find out how to get started in either of these two methods.

Method 1
Teach Yourself

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    Get in shape. You must have endurance. Work on basic calisthenics like push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and squats. These are the basic building blocks for practicing parkour. Experts say you should be capable of performing 25 push-ups, 5 pull-ups and 50 full squats before you formally get started in parkour.
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    Practice landing and rolling moves. Parkour entails a lot of vertical movement. High jumps can be painful if you don't know how to land properly or safely fall, then end with a move.You should start off with a jump between 1/2 a meter to 1 meter. Land on the front part of your feet with your legs bent and if you have jumped from a higher distance then perform a forwards roll.To do this roll you should roll on your shoulders not your back if you roll on your back you may do serious damage to your body.
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    Practice vaulting, jumping and climbing maneuvers. These more difficult maneuvers are designed to get you up and around obstacles in the urban landscape. As you begin to practice more frequently, you will learn which moves you prefer and develop your own unique style for practicing them.
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    Practice regularly. Like all sports, parkour requires regular training to be effective, otherwise your skills will drop off. Practice at least two or three times a week, and make sure to maintain your basic skills while moving on to more difficult maneuvers.
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    Use self-exploration. Begin to drill the techniques that you have created, establish new ways of moving through experimentation, and find new paths and environments to master through self exploration. When you are in tune with yourself, no one knows what works better for your body than you.
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    Pick a point and do whatever it takes to get there. Start with a slow, safe pace. Trace a path between two points over and over until you are a master of your territory. You should notice a gradual increase in your speed, endurance, and the ease with which you transition between obstacles.
    • This progression can take hours, days, and even years depending on the path you choose, your natural ability, and several other factors. The important thing is to continue progressing no matter how slowly. This method is the essence of Parkour, and will lay the foundation to understanding it.
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    Develop your personal style. Approach obstacles in a way that is unique to your body and abilities. The common movements employed by others do not necessarily make sense for you. That is precisely why it does not make sense to rely on videos as a way to learn. Once you have overcome this mental obstacle and risen above the poor standards set by many others, you can take your training in many different directions.

Method 2
Group Training and Coaching

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    Start to train with other people. Getting together with a small group (2-4 people) can shed new light on your training regimen. New people offer new ways to move, different paths to take, and constructive criticism of your methods. Since you have already developed your own style, the ideas offered by new people can only expand your possibilities.
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    Use training as a collaboration. Be sure that ideas are not stifled and no individual person sets the bar of what should work for everyone. This method works best as a creative discovery between friends. On the other hand, if you followed someone else's method from the beginning, you could be stuck with a style that does not actually make sense for you.
    • Remember that while large gatherings have the potential to be an extension of the smaller training and discovery sessions, too often they devolve into a roaming herd that quickly grazes over obstacles while looking for the next big trick. Understanding Parkour through self discovery is the sure way to avoid falling victim to this Personal experience makes a traceur and his Parkour unique.
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    Get a Parkour coach. This option can be helpful to someone who does not know how to condition themselves or prevent injury. However, experimenting by yourself first is highly recommended. By entrusting your early development to a stranger, you run the risk of following a path that is completely wrong for you. A good coach will help you get started and drill you in the essential moves necessary to begin parkour and will also teach you how to stay safe. A good coach will set you down the path of discovery and help you form your own style, while a bad coach will set you down their own path.
    • As Parkour gets more popular, an increasing number of people are trying to cash in as coaches. Be wary of anyone who does not offer their services for free at least part of the time. A coach who is still connected to the community through free outdoor training sessions is a good bet.

Method 3
Common Methods For Succeeding in Parkour

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    Tread lightly. Some surfaces take damage more easily than others. Be respectful of where and how you interact with your environment, and take responsibility if you accidentally damage something. Check out the surface you are on or will be going on before trying anything remotely dangerous on it. Importantly, that surface may also be slippery, fragile or unstable so survey the area first. If you slip or something moves/breaks under you it could cause a painful fall.
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    Get the proper gear. You won't need much. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and an outfit you're comfortable moving and exercising in.
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    Begin by choosing A and B. Try to trace a path from A to B. Go through the path and do everything that feels natural in that situation. Parkour is not a set of vaults, movements or "stunts." It is a way of moving, and moving is always changing, and no set motions could be ready to meet the quota. A good way to find ways to get there is trying different ways and consider what is efficient and fast.
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    Develop flow. This is what separates traceurs from your average trickster or acrobat. Flow is the flawless transition from one obstacle to the next, to the point where there might as well not be any obstacles at all. Flow can be practiced simply by adding good form and correct technique, thus creating fluidity to all of your movements. This includes soft landings (as opposed to stomping down or falling).
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    Exercise regularly. Make sure to keep yourself in peak physical condition. Traceurs and traceuses use most of their body in order to navigate any obstacle. This level of involvement requires total body fitness.
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    Practice regularly. Find a spot that you can come to every day to train. Good areas include diverse obstacles (walls, rails, etc). Your overall goal is to find creative ways to make it through the "sea" of obstacles using your body in any way necessary.


  • No matter what happens always remember to never give up, if parkour/free running is something you love then getting hurt is just one lesson of what not to do. After math out.
  • Always warm up and stretch. Try to stretch all the muscles in your body. Loosen all joints (especially the knees and ankles). A good way to do this is by rotating each joint.
  • Drink lots of water and eat healthy foods before doing this such as fruit, veggies, etc.
  • If your hands hurt (sting) or get blisters after a session of Parkour/Free running, it's probably a good thing. When they heal up, they will be tougher the next time and you will be able to train for longer without your hands giving up on you. This is from delicate skin meeting more than what it is ready to take, the outer layer breaking and when grown back can take more strain.
  • Avoid large jumps until you learn how to properly deal with the smaller jumps.
  • Observe your surroundings before you begin running.
  • Make sure that all your gear is tight and fixed. You don't want any mishaps.
  • Take a break when you are sore. This means that your muscles have broken from the strain, as with any good workout, and need to rest. Go grab an energy bar and take it easy.
  • While it is important that you take your training seriously and that you try to develop your own style, there are certain basic things that you need to know before you can truly reach your full potential.
  • Practice speed and endurance. Parkour is about moving and quickly adapting to your environment. Going slow isn't Parkour.
  • Take your time. If you get injured from something you saw coming, you may take more risks with quick thoughts or sudden doubt.
  • Although there are certain tricks that one can incorporate, finding your own way over any given obstacle will allow a higher level of diversity and give you greater options.
  • Sweats are a good clothing option, very loose and comfortable. Don't wear shorts because if you make a mistake you could scrape up your legs and seriously injure yourself.
  • Practice on the floor so that when you transfer the skills into the more difficult locations, you know what is and isn't physically possible.
  • Practice on a soft surface if you are a beginner.
  • Eat healthy and stay fit, you don't want the cheeseburger burger you ate to slow you down.
  • Be aware that you might get seriously injured performing these movements.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. This does not mean jeans. Jeans are totally inappropriate for parkour as they greatly restrict leg movement and are actually rougher than most people think.
  • Only stretch after warming up your muscles. Stretching tense muscles will actually decrease strength and effectiveness by as much as 30%.
  • If you are an asthmatic, make sure that you are not wheezy, as it could drastically affect your run.
  • If you're going to parkour, practice your jumps on a trampoline.
  • With Free run and parkour, just think of yourself doing it and landing it 10 times better and say to yourself that theres no such thing as failure.
  • Don't give up on this. The only way to be good is to keep trying.
  • Don't do anything advanced, like a tall and dangerous jump, until you know exactly what you're doing. You can and will' get injured.
  • Lots of exercise gives you more agility and strength to do tricks.
  • Never try to do something like a back flip if you can't do it. Try it on something soft before you try it on something hard.
  • Make sure you drink water, soda contains sodium which has the effect of alcohol dehydration that's will make you feel sick even if you don't like water force yourself to drink it when you are thirsty that will help your body know it's good.
  • Put chalk on your hands before climbing. It will reduce the sweat on your palms so you get a better grip.
  • Make sure to choose if you want to start with parkour or free running. This makes it more simple to learn the basics.


  • Always carry a cellphone. If you or someone else is injured badly, then you will want the emergency service access! This is especially important if you are alone.
  • Before doing a jump or other stunt check if you have everything secure. You don't want your cellphone to fall out when you jump.
  • Be aware of how dangerous this discipline can be. If you are just starting out, stay off rooftops and keep everything within your control. A major part of the discipline of Parkour is slow progression, and body control. Be safe and in control.
  • Scout your route. You don't want to go up and over a wall, only to find something sharp/toxic/hot/deep etc. on the other side.
  • Don't bug other people when they're about to do a big jump - they'll just get agitated and might fail the jump as a result.
  • The best judge of your abilities is you. If you think that something is out of place or not right, just stop and get someone to help you.
  • Don't do anything big when hungry, thirsty or tired, as you may fall into a faint.
  • If there is a jump ahead that you're not sure you can make, don't try it!
  • You might fall and hurt yourself, so be as careful as possible when starting out.

Things You'll Need

  • Clothes-- nonrestrictive, yet protective
  • Running shoes (medium sole thickness)
  • Fingerless gloves

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Parkour