Author Topic: Anyone who started late (30s or later) want to share their experiences?  (Read 8694 times)

Offline Ed

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I want to get into parkour. I'm old at 34, but I want to learn. I am getting back into shape now by exercising and dieting, but I am not flexible at all- I don't know if that's a deal breaker or not.
Anyhow, I like the challenge of learning something new, especially physical stuff. I know I'll be the grandpa amongst a bunch of 20 year olds, but I'm kinda interested in taking it up. So I'm interested in learning about some experiences older guys starting out have had. What can I expect? How do you feel about your progress/ the experience/ the art itself after starting?

Offline Chad

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Hey Ed, welcome to the fountain of youth..sort of. You are actually starting two years earlier then i did. I was 36 when i decided i wanted to get started.   ;D I was always active but not like i am now. biggest issues i have had with the art has been over coming fear.  We as the older crowd have more responsibilities than our younger practitioners, so we are not always able to push that extra bit needed to overcome some obstacles. But don't let that stop you, we just have to look at them a different way.

Flexibility would be a great addition to your training that you can not put a price on.  Most Important for me has been in the ankles, back and wrist locations. i am actually trying for a 365 year (doing pk related task at least 5 minutes a day....from conditioning, stretching, slackline work, running, playing with my son, bouncing on the trampoline) so far i am up to day 6 and have maintained my goal. 

The PK family as a whole is quite welcoming. I have meet many traceurs that not only inspired to do better, but have taken the time to actually help me with specific issues i was having whilst training. I would suggest checking into to some of your local gymnastic gyms and see if there are any adult classes you could take...or even attend a open gym session. This is the "golden ticket" to reliving your youth. Where else could you jump, swing, and just have fun as if you were kid again? I actually was able to find a gymnastic coach who was open to the idea of training adults in tumbling and has paid huge dividends in my progress.

As far as progress goes i think i should be farther along, but life does get in the way. best thing is just to try and enjoy yourself. Appreciate the little victories. The first precision, The clean Kong. and never give up..even if you have to step away for a moment (that pesky life thing again). once you get started you will start seeing the world from a whole new perspective. I know i do.
If the sun will rise even one more time, SO WILL I!!!!

Offline Dave Hofbauer

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Hi Ed,

Like Chad, I started training last year at the ripe young age of 36. I began with some adult gymnastics classes, too. There was a dedicated Parkour coach at the gym and he taught me some vaults and the basics of the PK roll and the precision.

I also agree with what Chad says about fear being a big issue when you are older.  The last thing you want to do is injure yourself and have that interfere with your ability to provide for your family.  I believe your own personal philosophy comes into play here.  The decisions you make about what type and level of risks you are willing to take in are part of your character. Personally, I would never refrain from anything that I wanted to try, but I would also make sure I am doing it the absolute safest way possible, leaving the smallest chance for injury.  Training at a gym gave me the confidence to do things that I wouldn't have done on my own.

It is hard to say what you should expect, since that really depends on how much time you can dedicate to training and to your fitness level in general.  One of the things I enjoy most about the art is that it is so personal. There are no "rules". How you get over the obstacles that lie in between point A and point B is up to you. I don't have a desire to jump across rooftops. I am more interested in the discipline required to land precisions accurately or the balance necessary for QM over rails.  That's "my" Parkour.

My advice would be to find your Parkour and then train for the moves that are required to get you there.  Just don't be so obsessed on the destination that you forget to enjoy the journey.

Offline Mark

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Re: Anyone who started late (30s or later) want to share their experiences?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2013, 05:15:03 PM »
Just a little shout out to my fellow 30+ here...  My situation is exactly the same as yours Ed except I'm 35, been hitting the gym pretty hard over the last 4 months and starting to feel like my old fit self.  Funny how much that can change your attitude, before that I was pretty close to the heaviest I've ever been and was getting a lot of aches and pains I didn't like, but since hitting the gym I'm feeling a lot better, a lot stronger and ready to take on new challenges.  I've so far lost about 10 pounds (I'm about 200 now) and am looking to drop another 10 before I start getting really serious about my parkour training; I want to try and reduce the impact on my joints and was getting some lower back pain before I started hitting the gym so want to make sure my core is very strong and don't want to risk aggravating an old injury..

Mark

Offline Tim Traczyk

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Hi All,

I'm also an old'n coming in at 38. I had hung out with the PK guys a few times through our local meetup group a while back (MNPK on meetup.com) and finally decided to get serious. I have been training at a dedicated parkour gym (www.fightorflightacademy.com) for about 4 months now, and I have all the basics down, wall runs, climb ups, vaults, precisions, landings, bar work, etc... and I finally landed my first standing back flip on the floor just this week.  I had no prior experience with gymnastics, or anything that was remotely gymnastic in nature. I hurt myself about 3 years ago and I wasn't able to do any sports for about 2.5 years afterwards due to a spinal injury-

Being able to do PK and freerunning is a great thing for feeling youthful, and I am also not the only old guy in the classes. There are a few older than me into their 40's and even some people in the 50's.  It's surprising what you can do if you just want it bad enough. 

But one thing is for certain- don't take it too fast, follow the progressions.  Like the previous poster said, we aren't like the kids who don't have to work tomorrow morning. And we can get hurt a little easier.  One thing that will help though is definitely flexibility, and also to get started on your training. I also worked out before starting, and found that body building exercises don't translate well to PK, since what you need is explosive power more than slow reps. When I'm training at the PK gym, and I ask the coach (Chad or Skinny) if I should try a move because I think I'm ready, he usually says "no", and then tells me what to do to better prepare myself. Since I weigh 230 lbs, even landing on some of the mats doesn't do much to help if I mess it up...

As an example: to learn the backflip for me, it took a significant amount of time to overcome the fear of going over backwards.  Then a lot of work on back rolls, and doing specific timer drills and core exercises so I would be able to get a tuck powerful enough to make it happen. Now that I can make it around, (even though it is a bit sloppy,) I can just work on it all the time :-) Big dash vaults and double kongs (which I can't do:-) are the same- they can very scary at first, but just stick with the progressions and you will do fine.

Good luck to all the other 30+ people out there! My advice is: If you want to get good at parkour, take the time out and make it happen. Take it slow, and be persistent. Look for advice from experienced coaches in person or on the forums, be they gymnastic, or dedicated PK/FR coaches.  Age is not an excuse...

Offline Muhammad

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I started training at the age of 33.. I didn't find it to be any problem. The folks I regularly trained with were all in their late teens and early 20's.. I'm not sure, but I think they were able to recover a little faster than me.. Other than that, no problem, once you get in shape you'll be fine. I'm 40 years old now, so it's been 7 years for me.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 06:40:11 PM by Muhammad »

Offline Shu Mookerjee

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Old?!?! You guys are kids compared to me. I started doing parkour at 45!

If you want, check out my Training Journal (specifically called "Old Man Parkour") http://americanparkour.com/smf/index.php/topic,41599.0.html

Actually, Tim gave some great advice.  Unfortunately, for us older guys, we don't heal as quickly as we used to. It takes some time for our bodies to adjust to new activities. Fortunately, parkour is all about progressions. So just work up to your moves gradually. I worked on a ton of safetys before I even attempted a speed vault. But by the time I did, I was ready.

Second, parkour is about expression.  There are just some moves I won't be able to do. And, quite frankly, don't want to. All that tricking stuff looks great, but it's not for me. So I'll work the moves that make sense for me.

Finally, and this is important, STRETCH! When I first started doing parkour, I didn't stretch much and ended up pulling muscles I didn't even know I had. Finally, I went to a buddy of mine (who also started training in his mid 30's...and was actually ON "American Ninja Warrior") He gave me a bunch of stretching routines that I do religiously every day. I've found my recovery time has vastly improved and I don't get injured nearly as much.

Offline Casquinha

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I started at the age of 32. I didn't get to train as much as I wanted or needed to be all that good. Now after over two years not being able to do much of anything (following tennis elbow surgery), I am getting ready to get back into it, hopefully hard and heavy. I turn 38 in just a few days.
"Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave no trace." -- A much better version

Offline Tim "Cabra" Cutts

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I am 32 years YOUNG, and started to train heavy just over a year ago.  It's following progressions and STRETCHING that keep me in the game.  I work at a gymnastics gym so I am always flipping around as much as I can but if I did not stretch I would be down and out.   You are never to old to get into the movement.  Parkour is about getting over an obstacle. That obstacle can be a wall, a rail, a fear, or a number.  As a traceur you will find a way to get over it, its what we do. 

As for training buddies it can get a little rough to find some that are mature enough and smart enough (DAMN KIDS!!! GET OFF MY LAWN).   I personally like people that are respectful of their training environment and training buddies.   I have seen my fair share of smart asses that have zero respect for anything or anyone.  These are the ones that give our sport a bad rep.  If you are using this forum I have a feeling you will find the right people to practice with.  A bunch of fun people that are passionate about Parkour and FreeRunning. 
Train smart, train safe.  You are not your neighbor.

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Offline Gregg HIPK

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  Don't remember when I started. I think 2007. So I would have been 44. There were no step-by-step tutorials, nobody else training within 100 miles, so it was a lot of learning by error. Lots of minor injuries, and a few bigger ones. Twisted ankles mostly.
  When kids started learning, I had a head start, so I got respect.
  I had to be cautious, esp compared to the 14-20 year olds. Injury = lose work = lose money. My worst injury was indirectly parkour related. I biked to train with a visiting traceur. Biking home at night, I flipped over a guardrail, onto sharp rocks. I hitch-hiked, got a ride to ER. Plenty stitches and staples to put the R calf muscles back together. Infection. Swelling.
  Where I live isn't great for "classic" parkour, so I saw way back that people here were either going to go for natural or tricking. I tried flips onto mats. Couldn't get it. So I got involved in Methode Naturelle, Hebertism, MN, Natural Method. Whatever you want to call it. Walk, run, jump, crawl, climb, balance, lift, carry, throw, swim, "combat"... it's a better match for me. The kids went tricking route.
  I'll be 51 next month. I walk, run, bike, swim, play some beach volleyball, some lifting, minor climbing. I was in better shape when I was heavily training, but I got injured more. Parkour? Sure, I did a bunch of little vaults yesterday, and small wall pops. Nothing extreme, but I had a great time, lot of fun. I love the sense of freedom, of overcoming obstacles, problem solving.