Friday, November 02, 2007

When Worlds Collide

My bedroom walls may well have seen more blood, sweat and tears than the Saw and Hostel franchises combined over the past 4 years.

In this torture chamber/laboratory, that also has a bed, I have tried and tested many different exercises, apparatus, angles, reps, weights and a vest, on a quest, to find the absolute way to prepare my body for Parkour. The problem was always having to wait to see what effect these exercises would have on my ability to move when I went outside to train technically.

Through speaking and training with more experienced traceurs, experimenting on my own and reading a lot of material on the subject, I have finally settled my mind on the best way to prepare my body for Parkour. This is not some new discovery or a secret being unveiled, as many people will already practice this form of training and you can find details about this elsewhere, but this information seems to be fragmented and spread across a dozen forums amongst the arguments and hostilities often found there. The reason that I am writing this is just to bring the information together and share the method with people who do not know about it or have been scared to give up their current training plan to try it (as I was). It is also to state that I think it is the best way to train physically for Parkour. This is not so much a recommendation for newer practitioners to Parkour, as it will take a solid strength foundation to train in the way I am suggesting in this post. If you undertake any of the advice in this post without a certain amount of prior training and conditioning then you are very likely to pick up injuries and cause more damage in the long run.

I have received many emails in the past asking for physical training advice and even requests to create an entire weekly training plan for people to follow but it is nearly impossible to really help these people without meeting them and knowing their current level and ability. This article should help all of them to progress physically without having to worry or even think about it too much. It should hopefully provide a simple solution that is better in the long run than a fixed schedule.

When I was beginning my training and up until around 2005, everyone in the UK was still experimenting with physical training and its relationship to technical ability in Parkour. Compared to the information, videos, articles and advice available now, 2003 was effectively the dark ages of Parkour in this country. It would have been even worse for guys like the Saiyans who started quite some time before me, so I have a lot of respect for those guys who were slugging it out and trying their best with minimal help from any sources in France.

Most of you have probably heard of (or may even taken part in a) Hell Night. These were physical battles alone or alongside some fellow warriors and these training sessions really developed my strength and endurance. But it also had a negative consequence, which is why I stopped doing them. I was gaining a lot of bulk that I did not really need. Although I thought this increase in size was good at the time and would improve my technical ability in the long run, time has proven that I did not need this extra muscle, as I am leaner now than I was following the 20+ week program, yet stronger and faster than ever before. That is not to say that I regret creating Hell Night - quite the opposite in fact, I think that I needed it to develop an understanding of my body, my limits and most importantly to build the mental fortress that is still with me today when it comes to pushing through pain barriers.

Although I would still recommend some type of loose weekly program to people who are just beginning their training and need to concentrate on building an initial foundation, I think a more organic approach to this is necessary rather than ‘X’ sets of ‘Y’ reps of ‘Z’ exercise.

Being a bit of a planner when it comes to this kind of thing, I used to create very complex and diverse weekly training plans to stick to, where I would train legs on a certain day, arms on another and train technically on certain days. Using this method, everything was structured and being controlled. It had its advantages as I could record progression by counting the reps and sets and seeing a gradual increase in my ability but it had more serious disadvantages. The main problem was that if a body part was still sore and tired when it came to the day that I planned to exercise it, the training I did on that day was damaging to my muscles, which were still in need of rest and repair. I was following a regime more suited to a predictable machine than an ever-changing and complex organism.

The mistake that I was making was not listening to my body. I understand better now that the body is very good at letting the brain know its current condition and we should always listen to it to see how we feel and adjust our training accordingly. If something hurts or feels stiff then it needs rest and/or time to repair. If you exercise fatigued muscles then all you are going to gain is an injury and you are wasting time and energy.

Rest is equally as important as work in Parkour. Finding the balance is vital to your progression and longevity.

The other problem with such a strict and planned approach to training is that you end up doing the same exercises each week. The body loves to be active and it is good at rebuilding muscles after they have been broken down, but when you target the same muscles from the same angles every week, the tendons and joints surrounding those muscles begin to suffer as they can not heal in the same way that muscles do. It is therefore important to really vary your exercises when you train to avoid overuse injuries such as tendonitis.
Not only is performing the same exercises each time determimental to your health, it can be very laborious for the mind. You should regularly challenge both your body and mind by keeping the exercises spontaneous and interesting. If you can, train and spend time in new environments and you will begin to notice new technical possibilities too, all things to keep your mind busy and your routine fresh. There is nothing worse than dreading an upcoming workout because you know how hard it was last week. Do something new this week, surprise yourself with improvisation and as long as you work hard, this is a positive and productive way to train.

Before newcomers to the discipline discover the benefits of additional strength training and conditioning exercises to improve their Parkour, they just move around doing new jumps and finding new challenges. This is fine for a while but when they reach their first plateaus, most begin searching to find a tool to speed up the conveyor belt that is transporting their level onwards and upwards. This theoretical conveyor belt used to travel at a furious pace in the first few months of training, and they want that back when they hit the plateaus. Once they find the tool to do this (additional strength training), many put all of their energy in to this new solution hoping it will bring them the same rewards that they used to see when they first started training. The reality is that we never progress as fast as we did back in those first few months, when our minds were sponges and we were plunged in to the Parkour pool head first. Just like children learn more in the first few years of their lives than they will when they enter adulthood, there are no preconceptions and everything is absorbed.

But this is hard to realise at the time of our first slow down period and we become desperate to get our training ‘back on track’ – even though there is actually nothing wrong with it and this period is completely normal.

Once the benefits of strength training and conditioning are discovered and we begin to make progress with it, we notice how this is affecting our technical ability, as we can suddenly jump higher, swing further and run faster once more. New doors and possibilities open up to us and we find ourselves progressing at a faster rate again.

Eventually on this path I came across another difficult, yet well concealed obstacle that proved a challenge for me to overcome until recently. An obstacle that I can best describe as a colourful tree called ‘S.A.C’ that sat on the edge of a vast and dark forest called ‘Parkour’. As I walked towards this metaphorical forest (my first few months of training), overcoming smaller trees and obstacles on the way, I was suddenly faced with the imposing forest itself (my first plateaus). My initial reaction was to walk the perimeter to find an easy way in (to find a fix to that which is slowing my progression) until I came across the S.A.C tree. The Strength And Conditioning tree offered a path deeper in to forest. This is a bright, attractive and healthy way to progress further in Parkour so it is an obvious route for many people to take. But what we need to remember is that this tree is still an obstacle regardless of how attractive it is.

It can be very easy once we reach the forest to stand too close to the Strength And Conditioning tree because it seems to offer us so much. But what we need to remember is the reason we approached the forest in the first place when we were learned of its existence. When you first saw Parkour or heard of it, you did not consider the brutal training needed to become the best you can be, you wanted to fly, to be set free and be able to do all of these amazing things that these other people were doing, whether for your yourself or for other people.

I once stood so close to this tree that I could no longer see the forest behind it. My mind was consumed with my body becoming stronger that I almost lost sight of the overall goal, which was to progress deeper in to the forest and develop my ability to move and overcome all obstacles in my path. My technical ability suffered a bit of a setback and I was becoming nothing more than a guy who worked out a lot and occasionally did some proper Parkour - this was not right and obviously did not last long. I had to rethink and shift the balance as I was spending around 80% of my time strengthening and conditioning my body, overtraining and not having any energy to train techniques. By week 20 of Hell Night perhaps only 20% of my time was spent training technically. So I stopped Hell Nights and began to explore what my new body could do technically and it took a while to synchronise everything again.

For a while quite recently I followed a slightly more organic regime in which I would train either upper or lower body depending on which felt ready - and if they were both tired, I would simply practice balance and foot placement drills. I trained technically on a regular basis too but I still felt that there was a distinct difference being made between the physical and technical training days and that they were not being integrated enough.

But now my training has changed yet again and it has been simplified even further. My physical training is directly linked to my technical training in a way that is so obvious, I am surprised that it took me this long to subscribe to its many benefits.

My new training regime allows me to progress deeper in to the forest towards my goals but with deeply ingrained lessons carved in to my calloused hands to remind me of what I learnt back at the perimeter, climbing around in the S.A.C tree for so long. It taught me that I needed to find the balance in my training.

This method that I am talking about states that the body becomes good at doing what it does. Repetition of technical movements, done in a controlled and focused manner is the best way to get better at those technical movements, but at the same time, this repetition of technique is the best way to build the muscles needed to do the technique better.

Take the following as examples...

-To improve your Parkour ability, doing 50 precision jumps near your maximum distance is more beneficial for you than doing 50 squats, it is also a great deal harder and will target exactly the muscles you want to build.

-Doing 25 arm jumps followed by a climb up each time is more beneficial to your Parkour than doing 25 pullups and then doing 25 pushups or dips.

-Repeating many laches is the best way to prepare your body for, and improve, your laches.

-Repeating running jumps is the best way to prepare your body for, and improve, your running jumps.

This list could go on and on.

Drilling a lache immediately followed by a muscle up is much more beneficial than just repeating the muscle up. Just by adding something simple to it turns it from being just a physical exercise in to a physical exercise AND a technical one, since a lache followed by a muscle up is something you could well be called upon to do in an emergency situation. It is unlikely that you would suddenly find yourself hanging from a bar or branch ready to muscle up, you have to arrive there somehow so we should bear this in mind and practice this too.

If we focus on what we are doing and really work hard on these repetitions, training like this physically is in my opinion far more beneficial than doing singular bodyweight exercises. You will use more muscle groups in unison, develop your technical ability, have more fun and be less likely to reach a plateaus in your training due to the almost infinite variations of exercises you now have available to you with no additional equipment needed.

In the past I trained my legs using pistols, squats, one-legged glute raises, calf raises and a whole host of other exercises. These have all no doubt contributed to my current jump distance but in a less efficient way than if I had targeted the exact muscles used in the way they would be called upon during Parkour training itself. It would have been more efficient to repeat the actual jumps I wished to do over and over again.

I had tried repeating jumps in the past with moderate success but never really committed to it fully or considered it as a viable or complete replacement of my old regime of using bodyweight exercises. So on Wednesday of this week I decided not to do any pistols, calf raises or any other singular motion. I would simply repeat jumps. It is now Friday and my leg muscles still ache from that session. Climbing or descending stairs is quickly met with fresh reminders that I worked my ass off in that session and targeted specific muscles that had never before been worked the way they were that night.

In the image below I have illustrated the jumps that I repeated...

+First I repeated the standing jump on the red line 100 times, 50 times in each direction. Going from the lower wall to the higher one is quite close to my maximum jump distance.

++Then I repeated the standing jump on the yellow line 100 times, 50 times in each direction.

+++Finally I repeated the standing jump on the white line from the floor to the higher wall 50 times.

This type of training was extremely refreshing to me and it was amazing to think that I was working my muscles harder than before and in a way that was also directly beneficial to my technical progression.

Another way you could implement this concept of training and see immediate results, is to find a rail that you can only just jump on to from standing and repeat jumps on to it from the floor each week. When you can jump over the rail, you have progressed and need to find a higher rail. How much simpler can training towards a goal become than that? It is an instant way to monitor your physical and technical progression without having to wait and go outside to test your new muscle gains after a gym workout or doing lots of pistols. It is using all of the muscles you need to use to develop your standing jump ability, without adding unnecessary bulk.

Also, your body does not know what Tuesday, March or 3pm is. It has no concept of the system we use to record and organise our time so it is completely unnatural for it to stress the same muscles on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6pm every week and expect the best results. The body does not work this way. If you really broke them down on Monday with a new exercise then it might take until Thursday before they have healed completely and you should not try to force them in to more training when they are not ready. It is now my opinion that strict training schedules and plans can be dangerous things if taken too seriously.

Not only does your body have no concept of the time that our brains do, it has no idea what a pushup or a weight is. It simply breaks down when in use and rebuilds itself stronger to protect itself from the same abuse next time. So with that in mind, doing pushups will make you better at pushups... doing pistols will make you better at pistols... and therefore it is no real surprise that doing precision jumps will make you better and doing and resisting precision jumps.

I am now completely stopping the conventional singular exercises as a test. No more sets or reps of pushups, pullups, chinups, pistols or glute raises etc. Just repetitions of basic movements that use exactly the same muscles used in those exercises mentioned, but in a way that will directly benefit my technical ability. Sure, my climbups can become better by doing pushups and pullups, but not as good as they can become by actually doing climbups. This principle will be applied to all techniques and exercises. I will still use those movements to warm up my body as they are simple, quick and less stressful for the body than many other techniques, but my focus will be shifting to much more repetition of technical movements.

The method was talked about by Stephane Vigroux in 'Le Singe Est De Retour' but despite having seen that so many times, it never really occurred to me just how widely used and successful this method was for him. I know from other sources that this is a very popular way to train in Lisses and the one that David Belle has taught other people who came to train with him.

I am not completely against the traditional exercises that have brought me this far in Parkour, they certainly have their uses in building strength, endurance and speed. I also definitely see the benefits of certain exercises such as quadrupedal walking, the muscle up and shimmying or climbing. I just aim to avoid the singular, more isolated exercises that make it very difficult to see whether they are actually helping or hindering your progression.

It is at this time in my training that I feel the need to connect what was previously two conflicting worlds for me. I need to amalgamate my physical and technical training for the benefit of my overall goals.

I think this method of training could benefit a lot of other people who are still searching for the perfect way to train for Parkour, so I wanted to bring together all of these ideas in to one place for people to look at. Read it if you like, take from it what you wish and discard anything that you don't feel will work for you. Good luck and feel free to leave your opinions here!

Here are some quotes in support of the concepts and methods mentioned in this post:

Stephane Vigroux - "There is one jump there. But if you repeat it many, many times, you are working physically."

Stephane Vigroux - "When I'm training everyday, first thing I just do a little check up of me, and my body, so ok today, how I feel? How is my mind first? Am I lazy or not? How are my legs? My arms? And when I've checked everything, I plan, not the training, I just plan the way I'm going to train. I mean more leg exercise today or more arm exercise and I define if I'm going to train physically or more technically."

Thomas Des Bois - "be careful of rigid training programs, they can get you injured if you train too much. I prefer "listening" to my body and seeing what i can work on presently. If my arms feel tired, i'm not going to work on them. That way, you can prevent long term injuries."

I will post again with my findings in this training method when I have fully explored it and tried it for a while. You may have noticed I also made a few template change to my blog, I thought I should tidy it up a little bit in celebration of its first birthday, it has been exactly a year since my first post!



Thomas said...

Great post man, very well written, as always. It's cool to follow your training evolution and i'm sure it benefits many people.
Can't wait to read the next one !

RunninglVlan said...

Good article for tracers who are still searching their way how to improve their body and not to injure it. I will also try this methode, hope it will help me!
Thanks for advice and Happy Birthday to your blog! =)

Anonymous said...

Hi Blane!
I'm traceur greco from Greece...
I think that this kind of training that you suggest is for those that have reached in good shape by doing bodyweight exercises.
I think that, cause you can't do a plance if you have not the strength to do 30 pull-ups...
Although, i think that is a very good example of training for those that have exercised enough their bodies through bodyweight exercises and they feel ready to go a step further with their tecnique!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I ve been following your blog for some time now , and i really like the articles.There is truth in what youre speaking.I also think that there are some stuff we can only do (we dare to do) if we have experience , if we train for a while. Like , before 3 motnhs i did not dare to do (i felt that i cant) one jump , and now i just feel ready and when i see the jump , i jsut know i can make it.With doing the stuff that directly affect your technique , you practise muscles and bones and all the stuff , and with doing some other bodyweight exscercies u practise probably only muscles.
Still , some of exscercises are good for emdurance.I really dont like ecscercises when i have to use weigths or something cept my body to improve my strengt , cause i think that is unnatural , and i bulid unnecesary bulk.

(sorry for bad english)

Marko , Croatia

Ilia said...

Hey Blane.
I'm Ilia, from Israel.
I just want to thank you for writing so much helpful information.
I spent a year just jumping around until I started reading an this blog and I enjoy every moment.

About the post...
Its pretty smart the "listening to your body" thing.

Not that i really understand, but I think that as a beggining for the training, some "regular" strength exercises are good to prepare the body for the kind of you suggest.
Maybe I'm wrong and maybe this makes you a little bit angry after writing an entry that long but I'm still a little bit skeptic.

Thanks again, love your blog, please keep writing, Ilia.

Unique said...

Stephane Vigroux - "There is one jump there. But if you repeat it many, many times, you are working physically."

I use to always rewind that part trying to figure what he means by that. So happy your so involved in helping others. I will be putting this iin my training. Thanks!


Chris 'Blane' Rowat said...

Hi guys, thanks for the feedback. I've added a few other useful points to my post that Thomas suggested to me. I found them interesting and think it helped expand my article so I wanted to share them.

It's true that you should have some level of foundational strength so that your muscles have some ability to withstand a more intense exercise like this. But this article is definitnely aimed at slightly more experienced traceurs looking to progress.


Belo Horizonte - Brasil said...

Hi Blane..

congrats for the post and for the blog anniversary..

this blog is almost becoming a world forum, i see post from everywhere, i'm proud of you, bro. Good job spreading the word.

I'm also trying to find a balance between technical and physical trainning.

But i have to spend a lil'more time on the S.A.C. tree for now, lol.

Cheers form Brazil.

Unknown said...

wow!....ok..well i guess i can erase quite a few weighted training items and weights from my X-Mas wish list. a lot of what you posted is really hitting close to where i was thinking. But i wasn't sure about any of it.
hm now only if i can find somewhere to do this type of training...crap! Gretna Ne sucks for this type of discipline!, oh well i can find something. Oh and i recently went and signed up for martial art classes at a place(dojo?) thats only a block from my house, i really hope this will help me get over my very serious confidence issues.
Anyway, Awsome post man, very, very, very helpful!

Anonymous said...

great man, quality everytime, im sure this will help a lot of people, its given me a kick up the ass to not just get ingrained into a routine and keep an eye on what i am doing,
much luv,

Anonymous said...

Great post! Blane thanks for sharing all these helpful tips! Hmmm, I would like to try your method of training but, since you said that this is aimed at more experienced traceurs, I'm scared to try it out. We must have at least how many years of training to using this training method?


4564984680464 said...

Hi Blane.

Always an inspiration (i think thats been the first line of all my comments since I first started reading your blog)

It was you that inspired me into strength and conditioning (oddly enough) and you to whom I have referred to when thinking about my reasons for training. I find your attitude towards training to be similar to mine (in as much as I can take from your posts).

I am far further back in the "forest" and am still enjoying my first swings in the S.A.C tree as it were.

But I do see repetitions as the natural progression. In fact to some degree I already use them as you can see in the video on my blog.

I am actually a little suprised as I have to say that in my mind I had pictured you using repetition more so already anyway.

I will be very intrigued to hear the results when there is no additional training to support.

Good luck

Glen Junkie said...

This definitely made me thought twice about my training. Great post man. Nice blogskin by the way.

Anonymous said...

Just a simple, back to the basic THANKS for that one =)

Anonymous said...

Great post,i think its gonna help me alot with my training , thanks man ,your blog is great! keep it real ,Joako from Chile .

Zahid said...

You really help to benefit a lot of tracuers all over the world. And i really wanna thank YOU for that wonderful post.

Soilwork said...

It's quite good to read this, and very funny 'cause last week i was saying exactly the same thing to Thomas, that was one of the most important thing i learnt with him while his trip to brazil.

Everybody here in Brazil can tell the change we had after meeting Thomas and adapting our trayining system to the Parkour focus.

Now days i just train non Parkour movements for strength in 3 cases:
1- i don't have time enough to drill parkour movements, so i can work muscles very hard in 30 minutes or less, and i love the complete fatigue feeling.

2- beginners trainings, i still think they have to buld the base before drilling movements

you can put another Thomas quotation there, and it was what made us change here.

"If you want to get strong for parkour, make it with Parkour"

or somethinglike this...

Really good writing here, just think you should make sure beginners should still try to work on their base using regular exercises, before starting jumping and drilling jumps, it can previne lots of injuries!


See you


Anonymous said...

Hi man im kokeiko

A thousends of thanks for the post, it be very inspirator to me and to my training

i hope i metting with you one day but first i need to training to much

Thanks again

Anonymous said...

Great writing there :) It's interesting to see such different developments in your training, compared to the ways 'we', in the Netherlands, are used to.

I've been a fan of repeating movements since one of my first trainings. Since then it has really shaped my way of training and made it feel indeed like taking the two seperate parts together. Unfortunately, I didn't have the basic strength and understanding of my body yet, which led to me getting a little carried away a few times. My body protested and I ended up with a knee injury.

During the recovery process, I fell down the S.A.C. Tree and hit every branch on the way down. If my physiotherapist would be female, I'd marry him. I'm now making my way up the tree again, while realizing I haven't truly listened to my body at all. Only to my mind, telling me I could still get so much stronger and better. The limits of the untrained body won't allow you to go as far as you think you can. I guess it's all about falling and standing up again, that teaches us so much more about ourselves than the 'perfect' training schedule.

Actually, the few times I've injured myself have been the most useful experiences to me in training. I would do most of it again hadn't I done it before.

After conversing with a physiotherapist a few times I've also taken up on barefooted training, which really helps understanding the impacts your body has to take when practicing parkour. I've just recovered and built a lot of muscle over the past 3 months, only now do I realize what I missed back when I started. I'm going to put it to good use during training, but my body tells me it also needs many more strengthening exersizes. I'm wondering if any barefooted training you might've done, has also helped you realize more what kind of forces a traceur endures and if that knowledge has changed the way you train or perceive training.

To everyone:
Good luck training and have fun! :)

Anonymous said...

Another great article Blane :)
P.S. I'm still working on my planche :D I'm closer and closer, but not close enough :D
Take care

Bruno Campos said...

These past few days i've been giving some thought to this post and discovered that it brings some very important insights and ideas to my perception of Parkour. Just has you´ve done before, in posts like "dilution", this text sum's up a great deal of things we probaly agree with but have never seen clearly explained, not even in our own minds.
I would say that i am now somewhere along the climb of the S.A.C. tree (particularly good metaphore) and can relate to many of the things you said about it. The conclusion that I draw from all of this is that altough it makes perfect sense that a more usefull training, oriented to those drills that are after all the essence of Parkour, is a great proposition, I still feel that the path of conditioning is one trough wich I have to go, at least for now. I feel that there is still much to be done.
What as changed is that I will now keep my eyes open to the moment when this training is no longer the most effective and something else is needed. When this moment comes I now know what it is.. Thanks, keep it up!

Natural Athlete said...

Good article Blane I think that the dicotomy between Conditioning and technical training you see talked about in parkour circles is very arbirtary and I hope you article will help people see that. To improve at parkour the most important thing you can do is practice parkour and to truly benefit from that training it needs to be both dedicated and methodical put also intuitive and based on the athletes biofeedback as opposed to specific scheme of repetitions or training focuses.

The flip side to that though is that as well as specific physical adaptions there are general capacities necessary for optimum performance in parkour and the movements used in parkour are not always the best for developing these characteristics. If parkour is your goal it should be heart of your practice but there is also value in understanding what that training is not optimal and what to use to develop those other capacities. For instance, while a standing jump is the best training for standing jumps that technique is dependant on general strength in the legs and the deadlift and squat are superior for developing the overall strength and muscular balance of the legs to the standing jump at least from my understanding.

There is value to many different methods of developing fitness and performance the idea is like bruce lee said "Take what is useful discard what is useless."

I think it depends very much on were you are at physically for track athletes they find that the largest deterrent to speed for most people is simply lack of relative strength in their legs. Beyond a 2.5 to 3 x times bodyweight squat/deadlift there is diminishing returns in trying to gain more strength and other adaptions become more important. To make a novice athlete faster its mostly matter of making them stronger at the same weight, but for an elite athlete the adaptions are more technical mental and specific to the sport. I think the same is very likely true in parkour the biggest difference between a beginer and a good traceurs is one of general physical capacity, the biggest difference between the good traceurs and the elite guys mental gains and specific physical adapations to parkour you can only get by doing parkour. Thats my observation anyways I am still feeling the need to get stronger we will see how I feel once I have accomplished that goal.

Another thing I found interesting that you touched upon was rest. I think for most beginner rest is not as big an issue as it is for more advanced guys. The nervous system and brain have to be trained to allow the body to work harder. When you are beginner your work capacity is often much more then your brain wants you to think it is. As you approach your physical capacity you the signal to noise ratio with soreness becomes much higher and you need to start listening to that voice that says take a step back. Thats something I feel like I am learning right now, when to take a step back how to listen to myself.

Anonymous said...

This is Jake from Canada. Great inspirational post. Tons of respect here, you are a real rolemodel for me. Ive been thinking along the same lines as some of the points in your article, but very cool to see it expressed better. Thanks for the help and for the ideas!

Anonymous said...

You know, this is pretty much the way I trained when I first started parkour earlier this year. But, I started playing on the S.A.C. tree after reading how you and others train. I mean, the videos spoke for themselves. I'm unfortunately stuck to the tree now, have been for three months, due to a foot injury. When I get back to movement drills, though, I'd like to try this way again, because I'll have a better base this time around. So thanks for the post, it's good to know my first training method wasn't useless.

Rachacuca said...

wot up, Blane?
i didn`t find your email, so i`ll write it in here.
i`m doing a free entry parkour videos exhibition on my city soon.
And i want to show them your videos, the escape artist, docendo discimus and the PINWC.
Is that ok?
i`m wondering if you have them avaiable on megaupload, rapidshare or somewhere else.
please return me ASAP.
thanx in advance.
my email:

Chris 'Blane' Rowat said...

Hi guys, thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to this discussion, I'm glad the article seems to have been useful to so many. It's great that we can share our thoughts and opinions on this in one place.

I wish you all great progress however you choose to train, if you find this method particularly useful, leave the details of what you did here for others to try. :-)

Special thanks to Rafe (Natural Athlete) for the excellent and wise words. Your blog and general experience is very interesting, I hope you don't mind that I've added a link to your blog from mine.

Rachacuca, I've emailed you. ;-)

So far, training this way has been really refreshing and productive for me. It feels as though I've gained a lot of leg strength already, in only two weeks.


woody said...

I have to been listening to my body, i don't make my self condition on a set time, set days of the week. I will be interested in what you find after doing no conventional exercise. For now i still think I will repet moves/jumps and do specific strength training as I like the results I am getting at the moment. However It does sound so obvious as a great way to train. I decided the other day that I should traverse etc more, instead of using a powerball or such exercises.

Unknown said...

Its an honor Blane glad you found my thoughts of interest. I'd love to chat with you about training some time. I should go update my blog.

Natural Athlete said...

The last comment was me signed on to a different account in case the were unclear.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm traceur from Moscow & I want to thank you for this very usefull article! Keep on improving your parkour! Thanks a lot for your advices that really help people in there way of parkour

Biow said...

Hi. My name is Alexey. I from Russia. After your last clause about trainings I have a little got confused and I do not know as me to act further. I am engaged on your system of training from ten kilogram in a waistcoat. My base force is very small. I feel it itself. And so. After clause, has started to think of, whether to train my force further a waistcoat or to do as you now. In advance thanks. If not difficultly send the answer to my mail.

Obsidian said...

Thanks for putting so much time into this article Blane. I've been incorporating conditioning into my training for some time now, but your post has helped to highlight to me a couple of things I need to consider. The main one being the repetition of the actual movement which I'm aiming to get better at rather than simply doing a vaguely related strength training exercise. I think I first really became aware of this a few months ago when a new guy came along to one of our training sessions. He'd clearly done a lot of weight training, and looked strong. I talked him through a basic climb-up, and showed him the technique. Given his physique, I thought that he'd have absolutely no problem with this movement, and expected him to pull it off with minimal effort. I was wrong. Partly because he wasn't used to the technique, but largely due to the fact that he hadn't trained the relevant muscles, he really struggled to hoist himself up on to the wall. This highlighted to me the importance of doing relevant exercises, and your article has helped to remind me of this. In Manchester, we have a designated conditioning night on tuesdays. This week I will start to assess how I can modify my current regime in order to better optimise the results for parkour. Thanks!

chleboo said...

Hi Blane.
I'm a traceur from Poland and I'm impressed of your skill. Your all article are interesting.

Sorry for bad english.

Good luck and peace.

Anonymous said...

Blane could you write on my email, because I couldn't find yours. And I would like to share something with you, please give me a signe.

my email:

Anonymous said...

The problem is that with technnique friendly conditioning it is very hard to actually gain strength.

This is especially important with legs as they tend to take most damage in parkour. By doing high reps of jumps you don't really gain all that much strength and when the time comes to move to a bigger jump you might not have the actual strength to cope with it.
Of course with jumps you'll reach that strength but the progress will be slow.

All I'm saying is that people should keep pure strength exercises in their training regime in addition to the things you mentioned in your article.
And that of course means heavy weights.

Kurczak said...

Hello Blane :)

I'm Traceur from Poland, city Warsaw. I read your stories. They are very interesting and they very motivate my mind. Completely chenge my strenght trening. You and your stories is really very good :)

Sorry for my english. It's very bad.

Bye and peace :)

Anonymous said...

10x man :) you helpt me alot .. i am from Europe/Romania/Botosani :) 10q :) take care :)

Minh said...

What a great article..
You are so inspiring Blane. This is the first post from you I really read and know I know it is not the only one. It is great to read about your developing and about the experience you made.
Thx for all these tips and advices. And of course I will continue reading your blog.


Anonymous said...

I like your blog soo much! ^^

Thanks for this post

Take care

Anonymous said...

Blane...thanks .
im from Mexico, 2 years trainning and the last year ive been being inspired and grateful by ur articles ,,in this last year ive been trainning in the most quiet, silence, personal and hard way just imrpoving, feeling and enjoying my progres in this road called parkour now...and now im preparing my first video not to show my progress since ive never cared about making videos neither 2 present myself but to say thanks 2 the people like u who really care about the true parkour, the true meaning and really help the beginners like me and some others who are finding their own way or path to enter to "the forest" so when its ready ill post the link
cheers man

Anonymous said...

Hi Blane,

I had started to read your blog just a few days ago, and I'm already stupefied.

How amazing it is !

I never had the opportunity to find so much useful experience, information and material.

Hope you continue posting nice articles as this and the others, I'll recommend your blog for some friends.

Best wishes from Brasil !

Anonymous said...

intresting, i think what we are seeing here is that you basicly have changed your routine and are seeing improving results. this is one of many well known existing things in the fields of sports science and athletic training. mabye one day if you eventually man up to it and try doing free weight exercises you will have another epitheny and post it in here so other bandwagoning parkour noobs can stop being simple minded idiots and see that parkour is a physical activity done by humans just like any other sport and there is already pre-existing sciences which have determined the most effective ways to train.

Luc from Canada, eh? said...

Someone may very well have already pointed this out, but this more practically-driven approach to training seems very much akin to the revelations that led Georges Hebert to the creation of La Methode Naturelle.

As he pointed out, none of the remarkably conditioned indigenous peoples he encountered in his travels had ever heard of gymnastics, pushups, weights, or any other trademarks of systemized European physical culture!

A good point to bear in mind, doubtless.

S Leger said...

Thanks for the post man! I've been struggling with ways to train and this is definitely the solution I was looking for. Thanks!

Muscle Warfare said...

Great article for people who are still looking for their method on how to enhance their body and not to damage it.

I will as well test this manner, I think it will be a big help for me!
Appreciate your advice.

sally said...

Quite an interesting blog you posted here Blane, I've learned a lot reading your article and found it useful to my training. Keep it up and looking forward reading your incoming blog.

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