Rest Day and Parkour Safety

by on Jul.25, 2011, under Rest day

Today is a rest day!

On a very serious note, this article came to my attention and I wanted to make sure that everyone reading this site understands one thing about parkour.

It can be dangerous.

Granted, parkour is safer than a lot of other sports due to the dedicated training that its practitioners undergo, but it can still cause severe injury. Here are some rules that can keep you safe, while still allowing you to become proficient at parkour:

1. Learn how to properly land and safety roll.

If you are new to parkour you should spend the fist couple of weeks to months just practicing landings and rolling. If you cannot safety roll on concrete do not attempt any drops higher than your shoulder height. This is an essential skill and should be mastered prior to attempting any parkour movement at speed in the outside environment.

2. Don’t take any falls till you’ve mastered rolling and have the appropriate conditioning.

If you’ve learned the safety roll and have it down, then you’ll want to start taking falls. Even with an awesome safety roll, you still need to support the force of the impact with your muscles, tendons and bones. A lot of people that are new to parkour do not have any prior athletic experience. It takes time to build up the functional strength necessary to perform parkour safely. Remember, parkour is about efficient movement. Tearing your ACL or breaking a leg is not efficient. Take your time when learning parkour. You have the rest of your life to get better at it.

3. 100% confidence.

Only perform a move you are a 100% confident of completing. The biggest cause of parkour injuries, in my anecdotal experience, is a person not committing themselves to the movement. This causes them to bail halfway through, or not get the speed and power necessary to complete the movement. Even if you are doing a movement for the first time, you need to be 100% confident that you can perform it.

4. Don’t practice parkour from an excessive height.

There is no need to practice parkour from 4 stories above the ground. You can perform all those moves from the ground level or from a 1st story (NOTE! DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY MOVEMENTS AT ANY HEIGHT UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN PRACTICING PARKOUR FOR A SIGNIFICANT PERIOD OF TIME AND HAVE THE REQUISITE ABILITIES AND ATHLETICISM TO MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT DIE). There is an exponential difference in the amount of force from a landing at 10 feet versus 20 feet. The everyday traceur does not need to practice at these heights.

5. Don’t be stupid.

Parkour is a very intrinsically driven activity. Only the traceur or traceuse about to perform a movement knows how they feel about it or if they have the skills necessary to not hurt themselves. Don’t do something just because your friends tell you to. Don’t over-extend yourself. Don’t train when injured. Have a healthy respect for parkour. You can severely injure yourself doing a precision, let alone a kong-to-cat over a 12-foot gap. Be smart and don’t let the thrill of doing a movement for the first time impact your health and well-being.

/End rant.

If anyone has any questions about the above, or feels I’m completely off-base, please let me know. I’d be more than happy to discuss this with anyone.

Train smart and train safe!