resources

parkour for beginners
Course NOV 2021

 

Beginners course

house

keeping

- If you have any feedback, suggestions or complaints, we'd love to hear them so we can improve the course.

- Or if you'd prefer, you can provide feedback anonymously here 

- If you haven't already, please tell Kel your t-shirt size :D

- If you miss a session in this course, don't worry about it! We can give you a coupon to book into one of our regular classes on Saturday afternoons, or you can join in on one of the sessions in our next block of Parkour for Beginners classes (probably late January 2022.) 

- We have a Facebook group if you'd like to join: CoMinMunity

There's also the Parkour Melbourne group and Women of Melbourne Parkour. And the Parkour Earth Discord.

Also the Parkour Research facebook group may be of interest. 

- The Victorian Parkour Map is a great resource for finding training spots, and I'll include links to the spots we train at below. You can find all relevant links here, including the map, as well as links to contribute your own spots!

- This course also includes a FREE class pass to one of our Parkour for Everybody classes. You can use your email address as a coupon in our booking system. 

GIVE US A HAND

If you have a minute, we'd appreciate any reviews on our Facebook page and/or on the googles. We'd also love any testimonials 

- Also follow and tag us on Insta or TikTok, @melbinmotion

Beginners course

schedule

Saturday Nov 13, 11am 

MEETING PLACE - Steps to the Arts Centre Spire

Landings; jumps, running jumps and strides, introduction to vaults 
 

Saturday Nov 20, 11am 

MEETING PLACE - Steps to the Arts Centre Spire
Balance, vault revision and cat passes.

 

Saturday Nov 27, 11am 

MEETING PLACE - Steps to the Arts Centre Spire

Rolls, Vault revision, ascents and descents, underbars, reverse underbars, flow training
 

Saturday Ded 04, 11am 

MEETING PLACE - Steps to the Arts Centre Spire

Balance revision, wall runs, climb ups, climbing and traversing, fear training 

Saturday Dec 11, 11am 

MEETING PLACE - Steps to the Arts Centre Spire

Jam sesh! Warm up, a lil S&C with Kel, jam time, cool down

WHAT TO BRING: 

You don't need any equipment, or special gear or clothes. Just wear what you're comfortable moving in. If you're curious about what shoes are best for parkour, we have a blog post about that. 

We recommend wearing lots of thin layers, if it's cold. 

Remember to stay sunsmart; wear sunscreen, sunglasses and sun protection. Bring a bottle of water. 

 

If you are carrying any medicine that might be needed, like Ventolin, be sure to tell the coach where it's kept. 

We also have a blog post about what to expect at your first parkour class, and some FAQs listed on our website. 

 

Session 1

SAT NOV 13

WARM UP

SPOT: 

LITTLE ROCKS

run or jog

We aim to run in a similar technique to POSE running, with weight in the balls of the feet and any noise and impact minimised. 

joint rotations

Joint rotations are included in almost all of our warm ups, to both check in with and prepare your body for training. The basic idea is to take all major joints of the body through their whole range of movement.

quadrupedal movement BACKWARDS UPSTAIRS

A quick introduction to a classic parkour strength (and endurance, and mental discipline) exercise. 

It was a very short burst of it; if you do try this in your own training, please remember to warm up your wrists very well before quadrupedal movement, or anything that puts a lot of your body weight through the wrists. Here's a great video of a wrist warm up routine.

Session 1

SAT NOV 13

LANDING

SPOT: 

LITTLE ROCKS

Landing technique

We spent some time learning and drilling landing technique. The way we land in parkour minimises impact and damage, which can add up over years of training. So, poor landing technique could contribute to chronic injuries long term. Our landing techniques help distribute impace into the muscles (rather than bones and joints).

This is going to be something you'll just have to do thousands of times, both to build up muscle memory (might not need as much reps as I thought!), but also to improve muscle and bone density in your legs. 

Basic points to remember:

- Land with weight in the balls of your feet, with knees bent to approx 90 degrees. 

- Even when jumping downwards, keep a 'rainbow arc' in your jump. This will ensure your momentum goes directly down, and help avoid slipping out backwards. It also gives you more control on tricky landings. 

- Land on an 'invisible motorcycle.' The idea here is to remember to use the muscles in your upper body too - keep your lats and abs switched on. 

- Quiet landing is a good landing. Sound is an indication of how much impact is going back into your legs. Low sound = low impact.

Session 1

SAT NOV 13

JUMPING

SPOT: 

LITTLE ROCKS

Jumping 

We explored the Little Rocks spot, to work on  various kinds of jumping. Here's a good blog post by Dan Edwardes that talks about various landing techniques as well as jumping.

Basic points to remember:

- Try to land with only your forefoot on the rock or obstacle you are jumping to. This is a good habit to get into, as it will give you more control, and more options for bailing, as your confidence and jumping ability increase. 

- Don't forget to use your arms! A big, full-extension throw will give you a lot of power, so make sure you use it. 

- As you get closer and closer to your max jump, your 'rainbow arc' may flatten out a bit. But make sure you're still jumping up, even when moving downwards or level to level. 

- Hang your toes over the edge of your take-off point. That will give you extra centimetres on your jump for free!

Session 1

SAT NOV 13

 

Striding

& Plyos

SPOT: 

LITTLE ROCKS

STRIDING

PLYOS

Session 1

SAT NOV 13

Intro to vaults

SPOT: 

LITTLE ROCKS

step vault (aka safety vault or simple vault)

A step vault, aka safety vault, involves placing a hand and the opposite foot on an obstacle, and stepping the other leg through the space between those two. It's a very safe and stable vault, a nd pretty instinctive. 

A speed vault  is a step vault without the step (look at about 2:40 in that video for a really good indication of that). Ie., a step vault done at speed, so that the step on the obstacle becomes obsolete. 

Key things to remember:

- The "step" part of the step vault is what gets you distance and momentum. Remember to really extend the leg as you step and land on one leg, to continue the run out. 

- Establish the habit of running out of vaults for two or three steps. This avoids building a unhelpful muscle memory of turning out of a vault, and instead builds a useful habit of continuing on course. 

- Always remember the invisible rails! They're everywhere. It can be really useful when trying a speed vault for the first time on an obstacle you can confidently step vault over. 

lazy vault

 

thief VAULT (aka outside leg lazy vault)

GATE VAULT

 

Session 2

SAT NOV 20

WARM UP 

 

SPOT: 

BEst rail ever and KING EdWARD MONUMENT

We revisited vaulting movements as part of the warm up today (We also went past the MPavilion project - which is well worth checking out, as it's given us some great spots! I'm also presenting on the Victorian Parkour Map there, if you're interested)

After revising step, lazy, thief and gate vaults, we used continuous movement drills to help get the blood pumping. 

Basic points to remember:

- Continuous movement is a great way to turn off overthinking. Just set a timer and keep moving at a consistent pace, without worrying about planning ahead too much, or attaching judgement to what you do. It's a great drill for exploring a new spot. 

- Pay more attention to the steps between vaults or movements, than to doing each technique or skill 'properly'. That's the easiest way to improve your efficiency and flow. 

Session 2

SAT NOV 20

BALANCE

SPOT: 

BEst rail ever and KING EdWARD MONUMENT

 

Here's a great tutorial from Parkour Visions: BALANCE

Basic points to remember:

- Balancing on a rail is basically just walking. You can do that easy!

- Posture is very important - keep your head above your shoulders, above your hips, above your ankles. Generally, if you look down, you fall down. 

- One foot is more stable than two, because you can use your free leg as a counterweight, much like you use your arms to help balance. 

Session 2

SAT NOV 20

CATPASS

SPOT: 

BEst rail ever and KING EdWARD MONUMENT

Cat pass is a vault used to get over obstacles in a symmetrical way. Unlike other vaults, in a cat pass your legs pass between elbows, so there shouldn't be a left- or right-sided bias. (It's very normal as you're learning to lean to one side though!)

Just a note on naming - what we call a cat pass is often called a kong vault in other countries. In Australia, we've generally used direct translations of French names for vaults (here saut de chat became 'cat pass'). Don't worry too much about naming conventions - the vaults aren't discrete ideas separate from each other, but are families of movements with many connections.

Basic things to remember:

- It's tricky! This is one of the more counter-intuitive techniques, so be kind to yourself if it's frustrating you, try returning to "bunny" quadrupedal, or the same movement but on the ground. 

- Practice what we call a monkey up, at whatever hight suits you. THis can help get you comfortable with the legs-between-the-arms thing. 

- A cat pass is often easier on obstacles above your hip height, as the approach requires you to get under the obstacle as you get close to it. If you're practicing a cat pass on something below the height of your knee, you're making it trickier. 

- Hips up! That advice works for almost everything we do. Get your hips up high! Higher!

Session 2

SAT NOV 20

ASCENTS AND DESCENTS

SPOT: 

BEst rail ever and KING EdWARD MONUMENT

We worked on climbing up and down the King Edward Monument

 

Basic things to remember

- As with most climbing, make sure you've got three points of contact at all times. 

- Get into the habit of checking surfaces before climbing - shake bars or rails to see if they are loose, look for crumbling bricks or concrete, look for slippery or wet areas, ALWAYS look before moving over a wall or rail. 

- Remember to move efficiently. If you use rotations to climb up to down, try to keep rotating in the same direction. Use your legs to push yourself up or control movement down, rather than pulling with your arms, where possible. 

- Don't use your knees to get up onto or down off a wall. Always use your feet instead (which can require a little more hip mobility, or to get your hips up higher). Your knees are not capable of taking weight in the way that your feet can. 

Session 2

SAT NOV 20

CIRCUITS

SPOT: 

BEst rail ever and KING EdWARD MONUMENT

An easy way to make a cardio work-out is to make a route (usually a long-ish one that involves at least a little bit of running) and then just keep doing it. 

 

Basic things to remember:

- Safety always. If a circuit involves something that might become a hazard when you're tired, be sure to know (and use) a safer variation

- Consistent speed is better! Keep the pace steady, and aim for continuous movement at a manageable pace, rather than sprinting where you can and losing speed right after. 

- Keep it interesting! "Working out" and improving your cardiovascular endurance shouldn't be a chore. 

 

Session 3

SAT NOV 27

WARM UP

SPOT: 

Le Garage Undercover

car park

We used balance to warm up this week, for a couple of reasons. One, it's important to train balance as much as possible, as improving your balance will improve every other aspect of your training. 

Two, it's a great way to warm-up your ankles and lower legs, as the small stabilising muscles have to work hard to keep you balanced. 

We balanced along a much thinner, curved rail, as it's a bit tricker than the large flat rail we used in session two. The technique remains the same though!

Here's a great tutorial from Parkour Visions: BALANCE

THINGS TO REMEBER:

- Good posture, head up

- It's easier to balance barefoot, as your foot can feel and grasp the rail. Give it a try

- Practice balancing standing sideways on a rail. That will help you to land on a rail!

Session 3

SAT NOV 27

ROLLS

SPOT: 

THe waves sculpture 

FORWARD SURGE

We use rolls when landing from height, especially at a height that means the impact of the landing would be too much for our landing techniques to absorb. Rolling will distribute impact of the landing over the whole body, and over time.  A parkour roll is similar to the break rolls used in many martial arts, and very dissimilar to the rolls used in gymnatics and circus arts (which, due to the soft surfaces they are done on, tend to go directly along the spine.) Here's a lil tutorial from John on our Youtube channel , and one 

 

THINGS TO REMEMBER: 

- the first contact point with the ground is around the flat part of shoulder blade. It's pretty normal when you're learning to land on the top point of the shoulder, but on hard surfaces that can hurt and bruise. It can be very useful to develop the skills on soft surfaces like grass, but always make sure to practice on concrete and the like as well. 

- you'll need to twist through the thoracic spine (mid back), in order to travel diagonally across the back from shoulder to opposite hip. Improving thoracic mobility can really help your rolls. 

- when you need to use a roll, there will only a very brief tap on the ground with your feet before the roll. You almost fall into a roll. If there is any pause on your feet, it's almost not worth doing the roll at all. It's very important to practice rolling with a little momentum, in order to avoid stopping in the middle. (That doesn't mean you have to add height though!)

 

 - There are many, many differences in anatomy between individuals that can affect how you roll. Differences in height, lever lengths, fat distribution etc, can mean you might need to roll (or learn o roll, or approach a roll) quite differently to someone else for maximum safety. The key is experiment!

Session 3

SAT NOV 27

falling and bailing

 

SPOT: 

THe waves sculpture 

FORWARD SURGE

We worked a little bit on techniques for falling, and ways to minimise injury when we do fall. These included falling onto the hips and bum, falling backwards and slapping the ground, falling without locked elbows. Here's a great video about similar techniques.

 

THINGS TO REMEMBER 

- Always protect the head and neck. The aim of learning to fall well is not to avoid all injury, but to minimise the damage of injury when you do fall. That means protecting what's most important (your brain), even when that means bumps and bruises elsewhere. 

- Avoid sticking your arms our when you fall. FOOSH (fall on out stretched hand) injuries can be nasty on your wrists, elbows and shoulders. Just like landing on your feet, if you do fall, landing with a bended elbow will help distribute impact avoid jolting injuries. 

- The aim of training bails and falls is not so much to "get it", or achieve perfect technique. It's to rewrite your instinctive and habitual responses to falling. That means, you should do it all the time! Try to incorporate a little bit of bail training in every time you're training. 

 

Session 3

SAT NOV 27

UNDERBARS

SPOT: 

114 Flinders car park

- An underbar is a technique to pass under a bar. Yup

- As you get more confident you can work on passing though smaller gaps. (see 0:24 - it's the famous Banlieue 13 chase scene that I nerded at you about.)

  

Basic things to remember: 

- Feet first! it may seem counter intuitive, so work on just jumping to a bar or rail with your feet first, before your hands catch the higher bar. 

- Throw the bar behind you. It's easy to forget the arms with this, but an underbar uses the whole body (Like all our techniques!), and even requires a fair amount of overhead shoulder mobility at the end of the movement. 

- If you have a pull up or monkey bar nearby that you can practice on, masking tape is a good training tool. You can tape across the uprights, and pretend that tape is another bar. (This removes some of the risk, as you can hit the tape without hurting yourself. That way, you can gain confidence and an idea of your limits, before trying in a trickier environment 

Session 3

SAT NOV 27

REVERSE UNDERBARS

SPOT: 

114 Flinders car park

 

- A reverse underbar is another technique to pass under a bar. The approach is very different, and it's often used if you need to move upwards while also passing under a bar and through a gap.

  

Basic things to remember: 

- One hand faces up and grasps the underside of the bar;  the other forearms crosses over the with the hand facing down, grasping the top side of the bar. This allows for the rotation needed, which follows the upwards facing hand. Don't worry too much about that though - if your hands are crossed over, you can literally only turn one way. You'll get the hang of it after turning both ways a few times. 

- A reverse underbar requires an explosive pull, to get your chest close to the bar. Speed and momentum can help with that, but if you're not confident to add speed yet, don't worry. Try using one or both of your legs on the ground to assist with that pull. 

Session 3

SAT NOV 27

FLOW and CONTINUOUS MOVEMENT

 

SPOT: 

114 Flinders car park

FLOW

Session 3

SAT NOV 27

ASCENTS AND DESCENTS

 

SPOT: 

114 Flinders car park

- We worked on climbing down safely from one level of the car park to another. 

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

- As with most climbing, make sure you've got three points of contact at all times. 

- Get into the habit of checking surfaces before climbing - shake bars or rails to see if they are loose, look for crumbling bricks or concrete, look for slippery or wet areas, ALWAYS look before moving over a wall or rail. 

- Remember to move efficiently. If you use rotations to climb up to down, try to keep rotating in the same direction. Use your legs to push yourself up or control movement down, rather than pulling with your arms, where possible. 

- Don't use your knees to get up onto or down off a wall. Always use your feet instead (which can require a little more hip mobility, or to get your hips up higher). Your knees are not capable of taking weight in the way that your feet can. 

Session 4

SAT DEC 04

WARM UP

SPOT: 

Broken Pier

We used balance to warm up this week, for a couple of reasons. One, it's important to train balance as much as possible, as improving your balance will improve every other aspect of your training. 

Two, it's a great way to warm-up your ankles and lower legs, as the small stabilising muscles have to work hard to keep you balanced. 

We balanced along a much thinner, curved rail, as it's a bit tricker than the large flat rail we used in session two. The technique remains the same though!

Here's a great tutorial from Parkour Visions: BALANCE

THINGS TO REMEBER:

- Good posture, head up

- It's easier to balance barefoot, as your foot can feel and grasp the rail. Give it a try

- Practice balancing standing sideways on a rail. That will help you to land on a rail!

Session 4

SAT DEC 04

wall runs

SPOT: 

Broken Pier

A wall run is when you run at a wall (yeeeaaaah), and you the momentum of the run to contine running up the wall. This is often used with a climb up or a pop vault to get onto the wall (or obstacle). 

This is also a great excuse to share maybe my favourite parkour video of all time.

Basic things to remember:

- your foot should meet the wall at about the height of your hip, to avoid either slipping down or losing momentum. 

 - Always remember to train this (and all) movement on both left and right sides.

- It can help to break the wall run down into smaller parts. Sometimes if you think too much about what's going to happen at the end of a wall run, you can foget to focus on the beginning. 

Session 4

SAT DEC 04

climb ups 

SPOT: 

Broken Pier

CLIMB UPS 

Session 4

SAT DEC 04

TOP OUTS

SPOT: 

Broken Pier

Next we worked on the part of the movement that actually gets us on top of a wall, often called a top-out. 

This is a great Insta vid that shows how many parkour movements are interrelated, and how you can use the monkey-up we learned as part of a cat pass to help your top-out and climb up. 

THINGS TO REMEMBER: 

- HIPS UP!!!

 

-Instead of thinking about it as just getting your feet on top of the wall, think about it as something that comes from the core. 

 

- This takes time and practice and can be frustrating. Don't be too hard on yourself! 

Session 4

SAT DEC 04

fear training

SPOT: 

Broken Pier

FEAR

Session 4

SAT DEC 04

climbing

SPOT: 

Broken Pier

CLIMBING 

Session 4

SAT DEC 04

Hanging

SPOT: 

Broken Pier

We had a little introduction to hanging, and specifically to the difference between an active hang and a passive hang. 

Both are useful and both have their place. A passive hang can be a lovely stretch for the back and shoulder muscles. 

Active hangs are really important for all our climbing, descents, swinging and even vaulting movements, as they keep the muscles of the back and shoulder girdle engaged, and protect the shoulder joint from jerking and wrenching. So you should keep in an active hang whenever you're climbing, descending, traversing, hanging, swinging... 

Key things to remember:

- If your ears are touching your shoulder or arms, it ain't active hang. 

- Hanging is a great way to building strength for pull ups, climb ups, etc etc. Try to hang a little bit every day. 

 

Session 5

sat dec 11

JAM

Things to remember about parkour jams (not so much this one, cause it's kind of halfway between a jam and a class):

- There is no coach, instructor or leader. Its much more informal, but if you need help, you can always ask! (And be aware that some people may not want to stop to explain or instruct. That’s fine and it’s not a personal thing- you can ask someone else!)

- It can be a little bit more intimidating to come along to a jam, as you have to decide what to do. It does take a little bit of bravery to get started, but it’s worth it. Jamming can help build up your confidence, your problem solving skills, and to ensure you can train independently.

- You already know several easy ways to get started at a jam! One is add-on, the game to create a route with others. Another is continuous movement. Another is just to drill fundamental skills, until the mood strikes to do something else. And you can always start quadrupedalling backwards up a set of stairs - someone will mostly likely join you almost immediately :D 

-Be sure to warm up and cool down adequately! It’s your own responsibility to structure your session to include warming up and down.

- Your physical and psychological safety is the most important thing. You shouldn’t feel pressured to do anything at a jam, and it’s always okay to step away, rest or even leave whenever you feel you need to.

- Parkour jams take place in public spaces, and so you may be asked to move on by security guards, or 'told off' by passers-by, or sometimes harrassed. Stay polite, if relevant you can have a chat about what parkour (and civil rights in public space) are. Don't respond angrily or loudly, that never ends well. 

- Unsolicited advice can be very icky. Always ask before offering advice, and if someone interrupts you to give unwanted advice, feel free to tell them to stop. 

- Search FB for the CoMinMunity, WoMP, Melbourne Parkour Facebook groups to keep up to date with events or find training buddies, and use the Victorian Parkour Map (@vicpkmap in Instagram) to find training spots.

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