Tag: ankle conditioning
Parkour WOD 5
What are we training?: Landings.
This will not be a WOD to practice safety rolls, but one to practice landing at the end of a jump or precision. This should be how you land from most level movements, i.e. not from a height. You should ALWAYS roll when jumping or falling from any height greater than your shoulder.
How can you practice it?:
Landings are all about progression. You cannot start running and jumping off things without proper landing mechanics and without building up your muscle and tendon strength in your legs, ankles and feet. If you cannot perform 50 body-weight squats in a row without stopping, and without perfect form, you should not be landing from anything higher than 2 feet.
A parkour landing should begin at the jumping/precisioning point. Always make sure that you are landing in a safe area. Know what type of material you are jumping from and landing on (e.g. landing on slippery materials requires you to land perpendicularly to the ground so as not to slip forward or back). Also, you will always jump from your take-off point. Don’t just fall, even if you are at a height. I almost ruined my money-maker when I fell face-first off a wall when I just kind of fell and my toes clipped a recessed stone lip. Clear your feet from any obstacle at the beginning of the movement by getting some altitude.
The reasoning for this is several-fold: 1) You will increase the height and distance of your jump by not leaving your feet behind you; 2) you will be able to pick your landing point and place your feet with more accuracy (if you jump with your feet trailing behind you, there is an increased chance of missing your precision point); and 3) you are in perfect position to absorb your landing with your legs.
You are not locking your knees, but keeping them slightly bent. You are almost reaching for the ground with your feet. You land on the balls of your feet and absorb the impact by going into a squat. You actively resist the fall by pushing against the ground as you come to a stop.
You do NOT land on your heels. You have a very large bone in your heel (the calcaneus) and it will hurt like a mother if you land directly on it. If you are practicing landing and it hurts you are doing it wrong. Stop what you’re doing and look at the movement again. Take this slow. You do not want to blow out your knees.
You do NOT keep your legs super loose and let your momentum take you all the way to the ground. Some people are super flexible and just collapse into themselves. Don’t do this. Use your quads and hamstrings to slow down the landing as you fall.
Why is this important?
Safety. Parkour is an incredible activity that can change your mental paradigm and how you look at the world. There are few things as satisfying as hitting a parkour movement for the first time. The other side of this coin is that parkour is dangerous. You can seriously hurt yourself doing the smallest movements if you do not pay attention to your surroundings or perform the movement properly. You need to be able to land properly and without hurting yourself.
Now, why is this landing safer and better for traceurs? Let’s do some physics.
The purpose of the parkour landing is to decrease the amount of force being applied to your body. Force is bad, mmmkay? Too much force puts unneeded stress on the body and its joints and bones which can result in injury and/or discomfort. Force can be described as:
F = m * a
m = mass and a = acceleration.
Further, acceleration can be described as:
a = (delta)Velocity/time
(delta)Velocity is the change in speed.
Hopefully our m is constant (if not you should probably go to the doctor, stop accelerating at near light speed), so the parkour landing is effectively reducing the force on our bodies by decreasing our acceleration.
Acceleration is decreased primarily via the extension of the legs. This gives the body a larger distance to travel prior to the ultimate stopping point (when movement is completed), and it also allows the traceur more time to slow his or her momentum going into the ground (by resisting the fall with your legs).
Another way to think about this is to imagine you are jumping from something and you land with your legs straight and/or locked. The impact is jarring because you come to a very quick stop, i.e. acceleration is very high as your speed changed very quickly over a short period of time.
By landing with your feet extended and then continuing the fall through that initial contact with the ground, you are extending the amount of time to complete the movement while also experiencing a decreased change in velocity. With ?Velocity being smaller and time being larger, acceleration has decreased, thereby resulting in less Force being applied to your body.
One tip that really helps with landing and reducing the force of the landing is to land with “ninja feet”. If you can land without making any sound then you are distributing the force adequately and safely.
3 rounds of 10 push ups, 10 sit ups and 10 air squats
On the minute, for 10 minutes, perform an increasing number of broad jumps. In your first minute, perform 1 broad jump, in the second minute perform 2 broad jumps, etc. After you have performed the required number of broad jumps rest for the remaining time in the minute.
On the minute, for 15 minutes, perform an increasing number of broad jumps. In your first minute, perform 1 broad jump, in the second minute perform 2 broad jumps, etc. After you have performed the required number of broad jumps rest for the remaining time in the minute.
On the minute, for 20 minutes, perform an increasing number of broad jumps. In your first minute, perform 1 broad jump, in the second minute perform 2 broad jumps, etc. After you have performed the required number of broad jumps rest for the remaining time in the minute.
Read this ZombieFit Post on Ankle Conditioning
Perform 100 calf raises (50 each leg) x 2
Perform 100 toe raises (50 each leg) x 2
So while I was doing the posted WOD two days ago (the 21-15-9 of precisions, double unders and pull ups) I completely bailed on the third precision of my first set of 21. It brought to mind two things:
Ankle Conditioning. This is extremely important in parkour. You MUST have strong ankles. There are several ways to achieve this, but I’m only going to talk about the two I think are most important.
1. Strength training. Strength training, specifically weight lifting, has been proven to increase bone density. When your bones are more dense, i.e. thicker, they are stronger. If you don’t believe me, believe the Mayo Clinic. By performing heavy weighted movements, such as the squat, deadlift, weighted pistols and clean and jerks, you will increase your bone density in your lower body. It should be obvious that the stronger your bones are, the more difficult it will be to injure them.
2. Conditioning your tibialis anterior and calf muscles. The goal of any traceur is not to land on the heel or midsole of the foot if at all possible. You should always try to land on the balls of your feet. By doing this, you are distributing the force of the impact up through your musculature instead of you skeletal system. As I’m sure you’re aware, muscles are more elastic than bones. They can distribute force better and with less injury. In order to properly condition your tibialis anterior (the front muscle on your shin) and your calf, all you need to know are toe and heel raises. You can do these at home, in school or even waiting in line at the grocery store. Here is an awesome video showing how to properly condition your ankles:
When I bailed I was jumping six feet across and up about half a foot to land on a ledge. I half-assed the movement, for whatever reason, and my back foot landed sideways, with the outside edge bent inwards and impacted the ledge. Needless to say, this hurt. Luckily I was able to walk it off and complete the workout. I believe that I did not hurt myself solely because of the ankle conditioning mentioned above. But this brings up something that I wanted to talk about.
This isn’t about a relationship or a loan term. It is about committing yourself to every move you do, no matter how small. Not only is this the smartest thing to do for your physiological health, but also as it helps you to build that internal discipline necessary to become better at parkour.