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« Sort of Like Christmas in July | Main | Every Body’s Different »
Wednesday
Jul142010

Cool Summer Workouts: Parkour and Free Running!

By Mia Coen

On a given morning, personal trainer Sean Hannah scales a concrete wall, vaults over a wooden bench, and sprints the length of a parking lot—and that’s all before he even arrives at his club’s entrance. Sounds exhilarating, doesn’t it? It’s called Parkour, and I think it’s one of the coolest and most strenuous workouts out there.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Sean, who works at Sports Club/LA in Washington, D.C., for my feature on Outdoor Fitness (coming soon in the August issue of CBI). He had just started teaching a new outdoor class that focuses on the art of Parkour, a French military training exercise that means l’art du déplacement, also known as the art of movement. People who practice Parkour learn to jump, vault, or climb over obstacles in their path in order to exceed them safely and successfully. The object of the game is to be able to conquer any obstruction as you’re attempting to move beyond it. Free running is also associated with Parkour because in involves the same objective, only it’s more expressive with gymnastic movements and tricks. Either way, you need to train hard in order to calculate weight, height, speed, and flexibility in a safe manner throughout the duration of the exercise. 

So, the best way to train for something like this begins in the club. Because you basically make use of every muscle group in a Parkour exercise, it’s necessary to train with an experienced professional. The benefits of this type of workout are incalculable and undoubtedly enhance physical performance in numerous ways.

“Parkour is a multidisciplinary sport that places a premium on agility. Because of this, much like dancing, there are literally no muscles that don’t get used in a Parkour workout,” Hannah told me. “The application of Parkour—running over, around, and through obstacles—ensures a cardiovascular workout as well.  A person practicing Parkour can expect to see a marked increase in their flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, balance, and coordination. The intelligence required to think through a series of movements to overcome obstacles safely also guarantees a mental workout.”

Hannah was also interviewed by CNN. Click here to see the video as he explains how he teaches members and applies his philosophy to outdoor training in downtown D.C. 

If you can’t get enough of this exciting exercise, check out these videos made by Parkour and free running teams.  You’ll never believe what the human body is capable of. It will blow your mind!

Free Running Team:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIBaVojYCfo&feature=related

Parkour and Free Running in and out of the club:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6u8YJM7VVQA&NR=1&feature=fvwp

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