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Parkour: Week 2, Day 1 - Pictures!

I missed Saturday because of the weekend camping trip, but I did practice my jumps and got a decent workout swimming/running around in the ocean. Back to Primal Fitness this week!

First, I'm excited to say that I brought my Ricoh CX1 and tripod and they let me set it up to take pictures - so we get a neat timelapse and some assorted shots from the series today! (if you're wondering, I'm in the brown shirt and black pants generally looking torn up)

Week 2 Day 1: Warmup!

Repeat the following 2x:

1 lap (4 blocks)
12 pushups
12 explosive pullups
10 popups per leg
12 tuck jumps

New warmup routine today - the popup. Basically, this involves putting one leg forward on a high object and jumping up using that leg, repeatedly, without stopping. It's actually kinda hard.

Overall, the warmup was the worst part of the class for me again. My quads did get some rest but my right quad especially is really unhappy (that's the one I tore back in April). It's not painful, but it's clearly very weak and it doesn't want to work properly - the popups and tuck jumps again were very very hard for me. On the plus side, I did slowly start to get a better form on the tuck jumps to reduce pressure on the quads - I think another thing I was doing wrong was trying to stay completely on my toes. By letting my foot roll back to my heel slightly after the toe absorbs the impact, it helps use the glutes/hamstrings and takes pressure of the quads. Yay.

And yeah, I was the last one finished again, as you can see in the timelapse. QQ.

Today we focused on recovery as illustrated by two main concepts: quadripedal movement and rolls.

Quadripedal Movement:

The concept here is simple as explained by Rob - by using all four limbs for control and balance, you are less likely to fall and already in a position to recover if you do fall. This was clearly demonstrated by Rob walking on a parallel bar with all fours, much easier then standing on it. Someone asked what would happen if he fell and he tossed himself over, catching himself under the bar easily because he was already in position to recover.

We then spent a lot of time doing "simple" movements back and forth across the gym. Right leg to left elbow, left leg to right elbow, repeat. The trick here was to keep your body low and movement fluid - going for technique more than speed. My right quad really started to hurt here after awhile due to keep so much tension in it for balance on the back leg, but I started to twist my leg slightly instead and this seemed to mitigate it.

The best part of this was Rob walking around with a giant pipe (see photo) "wacking" anyone who was too high. Effective and tension reducing at the same time. Mark was also here for a bit of this, and he talked a bit about how hard it can be to use the little muscles in the shoulder for balance that we never use - he then got down into a position where he looked like he was at the bottom of a pushup (elbows fully bent/etc.) and sorta crabwalked around a bit to demonstrate. This was a pretty impressive feat of fitness/balance to me - I have tried similar and it is not easy.


After awhile on the quadripedal movement, Rob moved us into rolls. I was excited about this because I have been rolling all my life and knew how this worked. Rob asked if anyone had a background that had taught them how to roll and I was happy to raise my hand - then he explained why my background in gymastics was bad. Woops.

It's very simple and very logical - gymnastics rolls are about form on a mat. Even when I do this on grass sometimes, it's typically about form. Parkour rolls, on the other hand, are about absorbing momentum and maintaining safety on concrete or similar surfaces. This means the rolls are actually quite different.

In a nutshell, gymnastics rolls are all about rolling smoothly down your spine - parkour rolls are about reducing any impact of bone, especially the spine. This boils down to parkour rolls being done slightly sideways - instead of landing with both shoulderblades/spine, you rolling with one arm, into a shoulder tuck, across your spine, and out through the opposite hip. You can see Travis demonstrating this to the left.

There's also another key difference - I do have experience with rolls to escape/transition in wresting which are similar to those taught in martial arts. Similar as well to rolls taught to reduce damage due to falls/etc (such as the chained rolls I did across 100+ feet of pavement when my motorcycle went down at 60+MPH last year). All of these are typically different from parkour rolls in one key aspect - they are designed to reduce momentum, while with parkour rolls you want to maintain your momentum (or even possibly transition it, though this is a high level technique they did not discuss). The difference is in how you use your body to control the roll as you finish it, so from both directions I had to rethink - minimize impact, maintain momentum. (note: some martial arts rolls are actually about *increasing* your momentum, which is also different generally because you come out of them with both feet exploding into the ground)

We then spent a LOT of time working on the rolls. I actually really enjoyed this, though to be honest the fact that it wasn't physically hard and that it was surprisingly easy to adjust my programmed muscle memory to transition to a parkour roll (I have done tucks like this, usually if I'm showing off on carpet or similar) probably helped make this awesome fun. Seriously, I will roll around like that for hours, so this was great.

Mark also again demonstrated a cool key piece of information, showing how you form a circle with your body to seamlessly transition momentum and avoid impact. Very solid, very different from what I'm used to, but (somewhat) easily transferred (at least mentally).

After a good 15-20min of rolling (at least so it seemed), time was up. Rob and Travis brought us in for a quick talk, explaining that we would be practicing rolling a lot and that it's something that you never really perfect. This makes sense to me - in the 50-100 rolls I probably did in practice, I never landed even two really good ones in a row. Very inconsistent, I could reprogram my muscles on the fly but had to think it through the entire time or they would try to revert.

Then we closed up and did some yoga and stretching, which again hurt my right quad (hah!). The intermediate class started in around the same time and I definitely felt like a wussy watching some of the stuff they were doing! Will be fun to get to that point though.

Then the mile walk home and relaxation! I'm icing my right leg as I type this Just In Case. Our homework is to time how long we can hold a plank position - I know from experience that this is 90% mental for me, rather than physical - my mind tends to wuss out before my body fails. I'll have to see if I can beat it, maybe tomorrow just before softball.

Totally stoked though, really enjoyed the session today.

And of course, The Time Lapse on my flickr.


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