Author Topic: No parkour till your older....  (Read 4581 times)

Offline The Manilla Gorilla

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No parkour till your older....
« on: November 14, 2006, 05:06:36 PM »
Well, recently I have been thinking. Parkour is a damaging sport unless you are incredibly fit, as well as having good technique. Many of the people that are starting to do parkour now, or even been doing parkour for some time lack both of these( myself included). By not having this they are putting themselves at a huge risk for future injuries. Now this paired with the young age of MANY traceurs could potentially be a huge disaster. Our bodies need to be focusing on growing, and maintaining themselves.

I got my results from my MRI back, as I was reading through it there was good news, such as my cartilage being fine. But there was also bad news. More alarming to me was the fact that skeletally I am still immature. not meaning I still laugh at poop jokes, my body is still forming itself. As much as I want to feel older mentally, or can be considered older mentally. Physically I am still growing. The exact quote is

"Sagittal physeal imaging indicates that the patient is almost skeletally mature with incomplete fusion of the tibial growth plate and less extensive fusion of the distal femoral and promixal fibular growth plates"

Or as my doctor put it, "you still got a few inches in ya'.

Parkour is a mental as well as physical discipline (or sport, or tool, or random thing allegedly done my internet slaves) and many young people are able to grasp the mental part of it, and believe they have the physical part, but at such a young age our bones are still growing, literally. Now i'm not gear, and I cant link bomb a million scientific site to back up what i’m saying, but putting such young bodies through the stresses of parkour seems foolish, if not damn right ignorant to me. Maybe not the occasional "weekend warrior" style of training isn’t that bad but if someone says my age, trains as hard as someone who is say 22, 25, I feel that there will be significant harm to his body. Especially since the injuries that we are subject to involve the knees, which are already weak (evolution wise) and are incredibly hard to rest. If you hurt your wrist you can put it in a sling, but if you mess up you knees, you still have to walk on it. Which will leave you very vulnerable to wear and tear. Personally I am really considering taking some time off from parkour. I need to focus on wrestling anyway, but I feel it is necessary not only to improve my muscles, but my skeleton as well.

I don’t know, it may be jumbled, but I have to get off this computer because my mother wants it, so I cant proofread. Hopefully it makes sense to people.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2006, 05:34:41 PM by The Manilla Gorilla »

Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2006, 05:35:58 PM »
It makes sense, and is certinaly a valid warning, however I think it really needs clarification as to what "Parkour" you are talking about. I don't think there is any harm done by "ground level" vaults, by learning to roll, by doing landings form a couple of feet, underbars, precisions, cats, all of REASONABLE SCALE.

I think a lot of what the medical world thinks children who are still froming sholdn't do is crap, what did children of age 13 do 500 years ago? 1,000? 3,000? Our bodies are literally no dfferent than theirs in formation, and at that time they would have been hunting, running, jumping, climbing, lifting. Somewhere it's all gone politically correct and haywire.

This doesn't mean that I advocate young people jumping off high things or doing stressful "training" of things that could harm them. Quite the opposite, I feel many of our ills are caused by a COMPLETE LACK of exercise in youth today. Then, they find parkour, start jumping around like maniacs, post a youtube video, and are "Traceurs" overnight.

If they had had a good level of physical exercise and education up to the point where they found parkour, I think injuries would be lessened by a large percentage.


I'd hate to give the impression that the problem lies in exercise, I feel very confident that the answer lies in exercise.
We should begin to use our bodies as they were intended. Walk 3-4 miles a day, do at least an hour of some form of hard labor, eat well, run a little, jump a little, climb a little.
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Offline Steve Low

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2006, 05:42:03 PM »
I posted on this about 5 days ago, but no one commented so I'll repost what I said.

Weight training when you are growing is not at all damaging to your growth plates and neither are many high impact sports like gymnastics, basketball, football and even running (excluding injuries of course). High impact sports are (and by high impact we mean sports that put large amounts of forces greater than bodyweight on the bones) generally very GOOD for increasing bone mineral density (BMD) which can ward off osteoporosis later on in life. Thus, the relatively high impact nature of Parkour on bones is a GOOD thing in terms of developing a strong skeletal frame provided injuries are kept to a minimum.

Injuries, for the most part, a product of a multitude of different things, and the foremost I believe is mainly when you are not conditioned or strong enough for the stresses you are putting on your body. This sets you up for the greatest risk of injury, and combined with reckless abandon, which many traceurs seem to have when starting to do Parkour because they are enthusiastic, we are getting a large amount of injuries. Anyway, this is a nice segue into what I wrote 5 days ago, so I'll end with that:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


In the first months or even possibly years, IMO, strength, conditioning, balance training and other body awareness exercises should be almost paramount to training. I would say this for a few reasons:

1. The time it takes to actually learn a lot of the techniques is very short while building up strength and conditioning levels takes substantially longer (years even).

2. The fact that the muscles and especially joints will be able to handle the stressors of training hard frequently when you've had extensive strength and conditioning training. Most of the posts in the injuries section of this forum are mainly overuse ones.

3. Education on strength, conditioning and other physical attributes will basically help you LEARN your own limits. This will allow you to APPLY your knowledge to Parkour to not only train more effectively but to also avoid injuries.

4. It also seems that the discipline of a sport whether it be gymnastics, martial arts, diving, weightlifting, etc. allows those traceurs who have experienced them to have a greater advantage in not only physical attributes but also KNOW how to focus on the moment (e.g. the skill at hand). Distractions, especially in jams, seem to have a negative effect on training and performance, but those traceurs who have a good sense of discipline can block out stuff mentally to focus solely on their training or technique.

I think it's pretty much no secret that a lot of the good traceurs have had at least some sort of martial arts, gymnastics, diving or other sports related background that has given them a solid physical strength and conditioning levels as well as body awareness. Also, the thing that is probably not emphasized enough is that they KNOW their limits and with their good physical attributes can often stave off any really significant injury by applying their prior knowledge to Parkour situations.

Well, at least in my experience I know that I have benefitted vastly from my gymnastics related background where I see people with little strength and physical conditioning levels struggling to do easy skills. Strength and conditioning makes the learning process so much faster, and I feel like it is in someway related to the jumping article I wrote yesterday in terms of potential versus actual explosiveness. The more STRENGTH you have the greater your potential jumping power. But if you only have a 12" vertical and your focusing on explosiveness (without exercises like oly lifts), then your priorities are not in the right place. You should FIRST be focusing on strength so that your potential for jumping will increase from 12" to 36", and then use the strength to train explosiveness to realize that potential. Trying to to train explosiveness first without strength training is not efficient and will ultimately be slower. Thus, I would say that trying to train Parkour without first emphasizing strength and conditioning training is not efficient and will ultimately be slower.

Anyway, that's my spiel on this topic.
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Offline The Manilla Gorilla

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2006, 05:50:16 PM »

If they had had a good level of physical exercise and education up to the point where they found parkour, I think injuries would be lessened by a large percentage.


But we dont :-\ which is why im taking some time off, and actaully doing the prior conditiong that so many people talk about. Parkour wont be anywhere when i get back, and its not like i want to be the best there ever was. I enjoy parkour, but i also enjoy being able to walk up stairs.

Yes i do agree with you about the resonable scale thing, but even the seemingly small tech's over time add up. As i was readin the repot i got, none of my injuries were cause by an acute thing. They were all gradual things, that worsened over time through not warming up/down, not having a good enough physical base to build upon, etc.

Perosnlay i think more site should start preaching eqaul amount about the physical, and mental sides of parkour. SOme sites talk only about the philoshphy, whcih really leads people to being injured. I give a huge thanks, to Gear, M2, Steven, Demon, and whoever else puts all the strees on being phyiscally prepared on this site.

Anyway i guess what im asking, is how young is too young?


(im just going to post this, then read stevens post so if i repeated anything, my bad. He posted while i was typing, lol)


Offline cait sith

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2006, 06:01:58 PM »
Manilla: I COULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE!!! I totally know what you mean, every day there are people who start, some prudent and some... not so prudent *cough big drops*. But if you compare parkour with other sports and their respective methods and training, the level of danger is immense by comparison. In plyometrics, for example, many educated coaches and athletes would consider depth jumps more than say, 10 inches above your vertical leap would be suicide to your joints, and it is strongly recommended that one wishing to do them can squat and deadlift twice their weight. So to think that there are beginner traceurs out there with little athletic experience doing 15 foot drops seems ridiculous!
As for David Belle and all the long-term traceurs out there, I'm not sure of their exact training methods, but I can guarantee he didn't wake up, invent parkour and say "I think I'll jump off my roof today." He advanced veeeeery slowly, and probably didn't start doing what we consider 'big drops' until he had done at least 5 years of practice, probably more. In fact, I wouldn't even think of it as progression at first. It was probably more like training with low impact in a safe environment until he got so strong that doing drops of a certain height were effortless for him, then working on his technique and doing larger drops.

In short: Condition first, high-intensity parkour later!  8)
« Last Edit: November 16, 2006, 06:18:25 PM by cait sith »

Offline Jeff D

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2006, 07:31:10 PM »
I think it all has to do with videos on youtube and googlevideo.  This is due to the fact that the first time I saw Parkour I was watching it on youtube and I saw kids jumping from eight to ten feet or more.  I went out with the completely wrong view about it and I went out jumping from high stuff like trees and stuff.  I had no problems because I found APk and Parkour.net that showed me what was right and wrong.  I luckily am not growing anymore so I don't have to worry about my growth plates but I still have to worry about my joints.  I think one thing that Parkour really shows to us is how we are not invincible, if we do stupid stuff we will get hurt and I believe that if I had not found this site the first week I discovered Parkour that I would have probably hurt my knees or ankles by now.

Nice post.

And M2 maybe people were smaller back then so to the repeated stress on their growthplates..  Just a thought.

Jeff

Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2006, 07:48:11 PM »
Quote
So to think that there are beginner traceurs out there with little athletic experience doing 15 foot drops seems incredulous!


the only thing a new traceur doing 15 foot drops needs it a new tapemeasure.

In part, it is people's exaggerations that fuel the problem "OMG I just did this sick 12 foot drop" ...

and then when asked "well, it wasn't 12 feet straight down" ... more like 4.

So, the thing I'm urging with this post is that people don't exaggerate, as it will serve to get beginners hurt.
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Offline Steve Low

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2006, 08:15:05 PM »
Mark:

Even with my gymnastics background and lack of pretty much any flips in my Parkour training I've almost killed my shins already mainly from the landing from 2-3 feet up in the air (of course, anything 4+ feet has a roll although what this tells me is I need to start rolling a TON more) which includes maximal height jumps and their associated landings from vaults. My shins are just simply not used to taking a beating from concrete as opposed to spring floors and minitramps/trampolines which can give some to help nullify the force of the shock. Fortunately, I do know when to back off and scale back otherwise I would've probably screwed myself over by now, but I have only been training Parkour related techniques maybe once or twice a week for 1-2 hours at most. If I have relatively "conditioned" legs, someone who is doing more training than me especially from greater heights is definitely going to be MUCH more likely to injure themselves or give themselves insane shin splints that will hinder their progress for a long time. In most cases, this is pretty much everyone who claims Parkour as their main physical activity without a prior high impact sport that they do (most new traceurs I believe).

This leads me to believe that the acclimation process to Parkour especially in more urban-type environments should be taken slowly along with adequate conditioning and strength training. I still believe though that strength and conditioning should definitely precede and almost take precedence over Parkour training and that indeed training should be eased into over a longer period of time. I think you are right in your assessment that most new people should be doing "rolls, by doing landings form a couple of feet, underbars, precisions, cats, all of REASONABLE SCALE." But even in this, there must be some type of caution; if there is pain involved especially with shin splints, it would be a good idea to scale back and/or take a break to let your shins catch up to your body. I feel we probably have not done a good job of this at all (or maybe that's just my opinion). Perhaps something should be added to the "How do I get started?" explanation on the main page or some other compilation of information should be linked to. Of course, I haven't looked at every section on the site, so it may be there correct me if I'm wrong!

Jeff is definitely right that most people's impression of Parkour and free running is mainly jumping off buildings and high places... Thus, when they come here looking for more information I think we need to be more outspoken. We DO pretty much present the view that high drops and whatnot are not Parkour, but we don't necessarily tell them why overall strength, conditioning and how to prevent injuries is important and how they can do those things.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2006, 08:17:34 PM by Steven L »
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Offline Andy Animus Tran

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2006, 08:48:55 PM »
I'm with Steven here.  I've taken a strict "no higher than three feet" for landings and "no higher than five feet" for rolls policy since I began training and I still developed shin splints with a 5-1 conditioning ratio (per week) the first six months and a 4-2 conditioning ratio from there on.  Even low-intensity and low-impact training is going to be pretty dangerous, even if it's something as simple as minor shin splints.  Simply put, people need to condition more and be active more for a long time, especially if they're younger, before REALLY training Parkour and the techniques involved in Parkour.  At least, outside of a gym.  Preferably, a few months of grassy training after a few months of gym training before moving onto concrete.  Maybe that's not definite or anything, but something along those lines would be greatly beneficial.
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Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2006, 06:06:18 AM »
Steven: I totally agree, we need to have that message be very clear on this site. I'll work on adding it to the getting started with some suggestions as to what "high" means as people obviously get a skewed sense of this.

Many people send me their videos asking for my opinion, and 99% of the time my opinion is that they need to learn to land and roll better and go back to the basics.
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Offline Rickety

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2006, 12:13:44 PM »
I jumped into parkour unconditioned and paid for it with shinsplints and some other kinds of injuries, so I can completely appreciate where Steven is coming from.

However, presenting parkour as something you need to take a long time to prepare for before practicing it will just send many people away discouraged. Or, if they're more reckless, they'll just discount the advice as something they don't like and get riskier advicee / inspiration from elsewhere.

So, I think that advice about going slow should strongly emphasize things that *can* be done safely early on, so that parkour is fun right off the bat. IThe fun is what draws most people to PK. If you tell them (or they misread your message as), "work hard to condition now, and you can start having fun in a few years", that will be counter-productive.
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Offline Steve Low

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2006, 01:16:08 PM »
I agree Rickety. There must be some sort of balance. The only people who are going to be 'conditioned' before they start Parkour are the ones who come from other sports like myself. Thus, I think it comes down to 3 things we should be presenting for new traceurs who do not come from any sports and are not very conditioned.

1. What Parkour is not about (e.g. big drops, flips, etc.). This is pretty much already hashed out. Since most people think of Parkour and free running as big drops, we need to emphasize what is or what isn't a big drop and why doing too many of them can be detrimental to progress (shin splints, increased injuries, etc.).

2. What new traceurs *should* work on. Like Mark's list of exercises... rolls, some precisions, cats, underbars, etc. Things like 'half' vaults like kong to squat on top of a wall can work as well as they will teach the exercise without too many high impact landings.

3. The general importance of conditioning and strength training and why it is important. Optimal short term progress is made through the conditioning of the joints and muscles and the development of overall full body coordination. Long term progress is made through developing all around strength and posterior chain explosiveness, as you know. Maybe a list of exercises to generally work on if you want like pullups, dips, muscle ups, pistols/ATG squats, DLs, etc.
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Offline Rafe

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2006, 01:25:41 PM »
Steven L. It is not at all suprising that you developed shin splits despite a gymnastics background. Gymnastics tends to develop the calf muscle very strongly put not the shin muscles, many coaches compound the problem with the conditioning exercises the choose which again focuses on the calf. Doing specific strength training for the shin should solve that problem and provide more stable ankles as well. I developed shin splits when I started learning to run on the balls of my feet consistently and doing toe raisers, toe crunches and ankle circles solved thar problem for me.

The idea that kids should not do parkour seems really bizarre. Watch children play, its amazing how many games will end up having parkour like aspects. Doing high level stuff when your not perpared for it is dangerous for people of all ages. But it is firmly my beleif that children should be encouraged to play parkour if the want to, as much as possible, as long as the have proper safety instruction. I think training in ubran enviroments should be demaphised for all but the most advanced and fit practioners. Our bodies are designed to move across more forgiving surfaces. Asking kids to do far more conditioning then parkour is simply prohibitive it will make most kids simply lose interest. Further more it ignores the essential point of good conditiioning which is intensity. A few short and intense session of conditioning a week are all you need, you can handle much higher volumes of skill practice if it is done in safe manner. A recent study I read found that in group of people following the same excercise protocal except for frequency the most gains were made by those who trained the least often. With people who trained 1.8 times per week improving significantly faster then those who trained 3.3 times per week. Recovery is just as key to conditioning as intense stimuli.

In my gymnastics class, we do about 30-45 minutes of conditioning for our young atheletes in a 4 hour workout. In an ideal world. I would actually do two strength and conditioning workouts of 1.5 hours, seperately from 3 skill work outs per week of three hours, but that is not feasible.   

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Offline Steve Low

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2006, 02:43:46 PM »
It's not because of calf overdevelopment or anything. I tend to jump around the gym a lot regardless which puts me in a lot of "harder" landings BUT they are on spring floors rather than concrete. Along with various trampoline and stuff my shins were not ready to handle that "hard" of an impact. I definitely know how to get rid of them, and they are pretty much gone by now. When I was getting into gymnastics I had severe forearm splints from doing a lot of parallel bars and pommel horse, and that's when I figured out how to correct such splints.

Can you post that study? I would be wary of what kind of exercise protocol they are putting the kids through. Stuff like metcon different from specific strength training which also differs from conditioning. Not all of it affects the body in the same ways. That's why I'm quite interested in how the study was conducted if that is the case. Higher frequency (say full body workouts 3x a week like Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength) with no failure training is generally the BEST way to increase strength the fastest which would be ideal in some cases for newer traceurs. Biologically, protein synthesis drops down to normal levels within about 48 hours of even the most intense exercise, so every other day training is for the most With higher level athletes, higher frequency training like 5-6 days a week is often the best way to gain strength assuming a high conditioning level. I would like to take a look at it.

I do agree that urban environments should be either deemphasized or cautioned, but a lot of the newer traceurs we are getting practice mainly in more urban environments with lots of concrete so I do think that conditioning & strength should be emphasized to a point because of this. What I'm suggesting is not that prohibitive per se, but we need to emphasize (like with urban environments), that strength and conditioning are an essential part to progressing in Parkour AND avoiding injuries.
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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2006, 05:43:11 PM »
I agree with you guys. Even though I am 12 years old. the problem is that kids see parkour videos with EXPERIANCED people doing 10-15 foot drops. Know your limits.

Offline Matthew Lee Willis

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2007, 11:55:06 PM »
I was reading through this and all I could think about what "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!"  Good research guys.
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Offline houston

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Re: No parkour till your older....
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2007, 06:31:18 PM »
i completely agree with what jeff d said about movies and you tube vids
thats how i started doing "parkour" be for i knew what parkour was
then i came here (apk) and learned what parkour really was and started using common sense

also also these posts are very well written
god job