SQUATS = BIG JUMP
An introduction to resistance training for Parkour... by Callum Powell
Note: I am obviously not a powerlifter nor a fitness coach. I'm just someone who trains Parkour that wants to be the best he possibly can be at Parkour who realises that resistance training can help in multiple ways. So I'm going to try and explain and 'sell' weightlifting to you the best I can with the limited, basic information I have read, heard, tried and ultimately seen positive results from. If you're interested in trying lifting after reading this, please do your own research and from a reliable source because to be honest, I still consider myself a noob on the subject, I still have a lot to learn and I don't consider myself the most reliable source.
Resistance training in Parkour is greatly overlooked by practitioners. Even by most of the guys that work strength training into their training. It's said that the best way to get better at Parkour is by training Parkour. This is true on the technical side and of course the strength side to some extent, but when it comes to getting a bigger jump, making your body cope with the impact you're putting it through and overall longevity, power lifting is a great supplement to your training and to unlock your potential. These are quite big things in our sport that I assume the majority of people value. So why is resistance training so underrated in the community. Don't think that it's not a natural thing to incorporate weightlifting. Athletes everywhere from so many other sports use it. Sprinters, basketball players, rugby and American football players etc use power lifting for maximal gains. If they're competing they want to do all they can to have the upper hand against their opposition. If you want to be the best you can and see maximal gains in Parkour then what is wrong with it?
Most have probably seen some traceurs uploading videos of themselves doing squats, cleans and jerks and stuff but have thought “it is probably good for me, but I don't think it's worth the time or money to get into.” There isn't much to it to be honest. It's not like taking a leap of faith into the deep end. Nowadays I spend around 2 hours in a gym that costs me £4 a time. I'd usually go to this gym once a week. That is 2 hours of my time a week which is absolutely nothing in exchange for the gains I take from it. I have been lifting on and off for around 2 years and around the time when I am lifting I feel so strong. I jump further and take landings better than I ever did before.
Here's a clip of some dude doing the highest and most sketchy backtuck ever. Forget technique, this guy has some serious legs!
So! Let's get on to how to increase our jump. Jumping power comes primarily from the extension of the hips. Hip extension is controlled by the posterior chain which is your glutes, hamstrings, calves and lower back. I think the simplest lifts that are great at engaging these muscles are squats, deadlifts and Bulgarian split squats. I'm not going to explain the technique for these exercises when you can go on Youtube and watch tutorial videos and stuff. But I can't stress enough that you need to learn them properly before you start adding heavy weight. As I said these exercises are very simple exercises to learn but can do more harm than good if performed with bad form.
Now, there's how much weight to lift and how many repetitions and sets. Jumping is a fast, explosive movement. You want to produce as much force as possible in a short amount of time. In that case you wanna be lifting heavy and producing as much force as possible and you don't wanna be lifting for more than 5 reps. If you're lifting for a high amount of reps and with a lower weight you're training more for muscular endurance which isn't going to be at all as effective for fast twitch, explosive power for meaty pk n all that.
Now onto landings and longevity. If your legs are stronger you can absorb landings better. So if your legs are stronger you will last longer in Parkour without injury. If you're landing and your muscles aren't strong enough to take the impact then the impact after time is going to do some damage to your joints. Everybody knows someone who has or has had some type of knee injury like tendinitis. You may be more likely to get similar long term injuries like tendinitis due to genetics but I think the more strength you have to protect from impact the less likely injuries like that are going to be. Landings engage the quads a lot more than jumping does but the same exercises as jumping will help your landings and your resistance to impact.
That pretty much sums up this short introduction to power lifting. Once again make sure you're lifting with proper technique. Go and do some research. Go try it and unlock your potential.
Stop whining about your pathetic standing jump and do something about it!
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