Parkour, flips and conditioning.

In my nearly 8 years of training one of the most common statements I’ve heard in relation to parkour and freerunning is “Flip’s aren’t parkour”, and this is true, Parkour is about speed, efficiency and safety, and generally flips fall into none of these categories (I do think there are some situations where a flip could be considered the best movement for the obstacle, but I’ll get into that another time) and likewise neither does conditioning.

I should start of by saying that while I’ve never been a huge fan of conditioning I am aware of how useful it can be. A few years back my ankles were very weak and I did a lot of ankle strengthening exercises recommend by Dogen’s titanium ankles tutorial (anyone with weak ankles should definitely look it up) and I try to get a bit of conditioning done if I’ve not been able to get much training done, but I have the belief that 100 precisions is better than 100 squats.

A friend of mine once saw the claim on the World Wide Jam forums that “parkour is 70% conditioning” which I have always thought is bullshit, nowadays it seems conditioning is treated as a useful activity to help you with your parkour rather than actually being parkour, which I think is completely right, doing press ups will improve your strength which will help your parkour (among other things) so what about flips? Flips can be useful training for parkour, they improve aerial awareness, they can help you get powerful take offs, and help improve flexibility and ankle strength provided you can land them well, though if you land poorly it will make your ankles worse. There are other and better ways to train these areas, but that doesn’t mean tricking isn’t a viable method.

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