What’s the point of training indoors, you might think? The whole idea of parkour is to play outdoors, to explore and reimagine your city.
And that’s absolutely correct. We’d never recommend only or even mostly training inside. That said, training indoors occasionally can be amazingly beneficial for your movement. Here are a few reasons why:
The obstacles are moveable!
When we’re out training in the city, we can’t change much. The wall is where it is, and the distance from one obstacle to the next doesn’t change. That’s part of the challenge!
However, being able to move obstacles around occasionally can help open up new skills. This is great for developing new movements, or testing the limits of what you can do.
For example, have you ever found a jump that you’re nearly certain you can do, but it’s still scary, or you just haven't been able to commit to yet? if you know you can jump a gap that measures seven of your own feet, but you’ve found one that is seven and a half that you can’t quite do, training inside can definitely help you to ‘break’ that jump. How? Start drilling the seven-foot jump a few times, and then move the landing point back just a little. Repeat until you’re confident with a 7.5 foot wide gap!
It’s not great to spend too much time training indoors as you can get used to soft mats, and eventually become scared of concrete. That said, when you have occasional access to mats or softer flooring, it can really help to break in new skills, with a little less risk. Doing a new skill, or trying a big jump, for the first time over a soft surface can give you the confidence boost you need, and allow you to feel how your body moves through it, before heading back out to do it in the world.
This is a double edged sword, as you don’t want to get too used to the floor being softer, because going back outside to the concrete can be scary. It’s also very important to remember that while soft surfaces can lower the risk or danger of impacts, they can lead to more chance of twisted ankles or knees.
Working on your ‘bad side’
Similarly to the above points, training indoors can be a really productive way to work on your non-preferred side for a movement. Can’t get lazy vaults on your left? Still feeling uncomfortable taking off the right foot for a running jump?
Being able to modify both the distance between and the height of obstacles can be amazingly helpful when you’re working on ironing out those imbalances.
Moveable objects means you can not only change your movement to suit the environment, you can also change the environment to suit your movement. You can set up obstacles in a line to exactly suit your stride length or reach, and make the most fluid line ever! Or you can train with a friend who has a very different body shape or training style, and try to create a route that equalises or elides those differences.
Lots of people training in close proximity
Most of us train with others regularly, and parkour jams can get pretty packed. But
training indoors corrals everyone together in a much more obvious way. While it’s important to make sure you share the space kindly with others, it’s a great environment for sharing ideas, cross-pollination and finding new challenges. And making some new friends!
Safety and ownership of the space
People who look a certain way are more likely to be hassled while training in public space. Due to generalised racism/ misogyny/ queerphobia/ classism/ ableism etc., some of us are more likely to be followed or confronted by police or security guards, harassed by passers-by, and are less likely to feel safe and comfortable in some training spots. It’s exhausting.
The long term plan is to fight for mobility justice for all of us. But in the meantime, training indoors can provide some occasional respite from an unkind world.
We’re so very excited to be able to host Open Training sessions at Guardian Defence. It’s a fully decked out gym and training space, with vault boxes, moveable rails, bar and rail set-ups, a fully-equipped gym, and heaps of fun stuff to play on!
Be sure to book in at www.melbinmotion.com/book