I’m glad you’ve found your way to this guide! Parkour is a fantastic discipline that
has the potential to positively affect your fitness, strength, confidence, athletic ability
and many other aspects of your life. It can be difficult when starting out, to find the
right information and get started on the right foot, (no pun intended) so let me help
you get going!
Who am I?
My name is Ben Krueger and I created this website to
help spread the discipline to people that are interested in parkour. I have been
training for over four years now, am an A.D.A.P.T. Level 1 Certified parkour coach
and have taught parkour for over two years.
What You’ll Learn
Step 1: How to Find Parkour Groups in Your Area
Step 2: Finding Places to Practice
Step 3: Getting the Right Gear – Parkour Shoes, Clothing and Backpack
Step 4: Planning Your First Parkour Session
Step 5: Time to Try It Out
Step 1: How to Find Other Practitioners in Your Area
When starting out with parkour, there is no substitute for seeking out experienced traceurs (parkour practitioners) that can teach you in person. For that reason, the first step is to figure out whether there are people already training in your area, and if so, whether they are ‘qualified’ to teach you. I use the term ‘qualified’ because it seems that every person out there that has been practicing parkour for two weeks is already trying to teach someone else the art without much experience themselves.
Because of this, I’ll advise that if you meet up with someone to have them teach you, and they don’t seem to have a good grasp on basic parkour skillsets to begin with, please don’t follow their advice as it may not be correct. Unfortunately, this is a commonplace issue and contributes to many parkour injuries and poor training habits.
To find out whether there are people training in your area, here are some resources to check.
- You will have to create an account to post here
- Scroll down to the “Local Connections” section and select your region.
- Within your state’s thread, write a post introducing yourself and ask if there is a group that trains in your area.
You might be surprised to find that traceurs are everywhere these days.
Can’t Find A Group?
So what do you do if you can’t find someone locally to teach you? Training For Parkour is specifically designed with the absolute beginner in mind with lessons, tutorials and more. You can also be part of a growing community where you can interact with other beginners and help each other learn and improve!
Step 2: Finding Places to Practice
Now, we have to find a spot to have your first parkour training session. There is something
to be said for practicing in any environment, however, it can drastically help you get started if you have a good location. An area with any of these things can make a good parkour spot:
- Park Benches
- Handicap Ramps
- Any abnormal terrain
Places that are generally good for parkour and contain the things above can usually be found in or near any of these places:
- University Campuses
- Down Town
Many people will notice good parkour spots when they are out walking around, and forget where they were. I do this all the time. Here is my suggestion, if you have a smart phone or a map of your area, walk around any areas of interest (especially the ones listed just above) and mark these spots on your map.
Quick Tip: When walking around, take back alleys and side roads to
find hidden gems. These places are often great because there isn’t
much pedestrian traffic.
Please Note:* Public areas are generally okay but anything that is private or government owned is off limits unless you have explicit permission from that person, business or entity. Use your best judgment and if you are asked to leave from any area, kindly apologize for disturbing them and leave.
Step 3: Get the Right Gear
Just to be clear, this section is largely opinion based, however the basic characteristics of good parkour gear shown below will get you started. There are many parkour specific clothing lines, shoes etc, but you really don’t need any of that to get started. I will mention them so you have the option, but know that they aren’t necessary.
The first thing you’ll need is a good pair of shoes. Though its really personal preference and what works for you. Here are some suggestions to steer you in the right Direction:
- Light weight
- Grippy rubber sole
Things to Avoid
- Plastic soles under your arches
- Open toed shoes
- Anything with “springs” in them
Now that you know what will work, here are a few recommended shoe models that are especially good for parkour. Click on the images to check them out and learn more on Amazon.com. The first two are more traditional while the latter two are more minimal.
Recommended Parkour Shoes
These are great shoes with fantastic grip and flexibility for rail work, wall runs and other climbing. There are multiple different thicknesses and flexibility levels for these shoes as well. These shoes are setup on a scale of 1- 10 with 10 being most like a normal running shoe and 1 being very similar to running bare foot. I would recommend starting in the middle somewhere with +5 or +3.
These are the shoes that I personally use. They are Nike Dart 9s but I have been using all the Dart series since I first started with Dart 6s. They are pretty much a normal running shoe. Relatively light weight, comfortable, and provide enough cushion without being over supportive.
This shoe is a popular choice among the naturalists and those that like to train in the woods, rocks, trees, etc. They are also great for concrete but they promote a more barefoot feel so be sure to work your way into these shoes.
When it comes down to it, the shoes you pick for parkour are personal preference. If you try a pair and
don’t like them, that’s okay, you can always change down the road.
I’ll first say that any workout clothes that you own will do just fine. There are a few parkour specific clothing brands out there that add some style. They all have tee shirts, sweat pants, hoodies and other parkour types of clothing and gear. Here are some of the most prominent. Click on the image to check out their store!
While this isn’t a necessity, I’ve found that using a small, light-weight back pack is very helpful.
You can carry extra clothes, water bottle, keys, phone, wallet and the essentials without having everything
bouncing around in your pockets. Click on the image to learn more about the bag on Amazon.com:
The 50-70 liter Camelbak bags are fantastic for parkour.
They have the built in liquid bladder for holding your
water and small pockets for all your other essentials. It’s
also small and compact to the body so it doesn’t flop
around when you run.
Step 4: Planning Your First Parkour Session
Here is the general structure that I have used for both my training sessions and when teaching others parkour. It is a more of a guideline than a rule but really helps to structure your session to get the most progress.
Typical Training Session ~ 2 Hours
- 15 Minutes – Warm Up/Mobility Exercises – The objective is to get the joints and muscles moving and warmed up to prevent injury and allow us to perform at our best.
- 15 Minutes - Light Movement/Fundamentals Drills – Simple movement and fundamental skills to warm up your mind and ability to focus. This will make the rest of your training more effective.
- 45 Minutes - Movement and Skills Training – Here we will work on our main movement focuses for the day and play a little too! Usually this section will coincide with the strength training portion and the two will compliment each other.
- 25 Minutes - Strength Training – On to the next section where we then focus on our strength training for the day. (ex. lower body, upper body, etc).
- 5 Minutes - Final Exercise – This section is usually one final, difficult exercise that uses much of your remaining energy. These are various exercises to get the heart pumping quickly and finish with a bang!
- 15 Minutes - Stretching and Breathing – Ahhhh! Now you can cool down, stretch and take a breather. This is often my favorite part because it feels great after a good parkour session.
Seem like a lot to take in? No worries, I’ll help you out and give you everything to need to setup your first parkour session!
Step 5: Time to Try It Out!
You’re all set up to do some parkour! It’s important to mention that just like any other athletic discipline, you will get out of parkour what you put into it. If you devote some time and energy into your training, you will see fast improvement and could very well impress yourself. Click below to get started with a free parkour lesson.