If you want to explore new possibilities and get fit in a fun and exciting way, parkour is the perfect option. If you live in New Jersey you’re in luck: the state offers a variety of opportunities for parkour lovers, from dedicated gyms and outdoor training spots to communities.
What is Parkour?
Parkour (also known as free-running) is a movement that involves navigating urban obstacles with speed, fluidity and efficiency. The goal is to not only overcome obstacles, but to do so as efficiently as possible. This can be achieved by combining running, jumping and climbing with other techniques.
Parkour is often viewed as a way to train the body and brain to be more adaptable and resourceful. It requires a high level of physical fitness, strength and coordination, agility and flexibility as well as mental focus and spatial awareness.
Origins of Parkour
In the 1990s, a group young men in France were inspired by the daring stunts in action films and the movements of urban athletes. They began to experiment with different ways of moving through the city, which were faster, more fluid and more efficient than walking or running.
David Belle was one of the pioneers of parkour. He invented the name and philosophy of the discipline which combines physical exercise, self-discipline and respect for others and oneself.
Since then, parkour has spread around the world. It is now practiced by people of all ages. New Jersey has a vibrant parkour scene with many dedicated practitioners.
- Safety: The most important aspect of parkour is safety. Wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and warm up and stretch before training.
- Assessing obstacles: Before you attempt any moves, assess the hazards and obstacles in your environment. Consider the best angles and paths to take, as well as the surfaces, heights and distances involved.
- Movements Parkour includes a variety of movements including jumps, vaults, climbs, and precision jumps. These moves require a combination speed, power and coordination. They are typically learned slowly with guidance and practice.
- Progression Parkour, a progressive discipline means you can start out with the basics and progress to more advanced moves as you gain confidence and strength. Always start at the basics and progress step-by-step.
- Equipment Although parkour can be done without any equipment, some tools can be useful. A good pair of parkour boots can give you better grip and support. A foam pit or safety pad can allow you to practice new moves safely.
Parkour Training Spots In New Jersey
New Jersey offers a wide range of parkour training locations. There are many options for indoor or outdoor gyms.
Some of the best indoor parksour gyms in New Jersey are:
- Apex Movement New Jersey This gym in Cherry Hill offers a variety classes and workshops to parkour enthusiasts of all levels.
- NJ movement: This gym in Lawrenceville has multiple indoor training areas including a trampoline, foam pit and obstacle courses.
- The Movement Academy This gym in Hackensack offers classes in parkour and free-running as well as birthday parties and summer camps.
New Jersey has some of the best outdoor training spots in the country.
- Central Park in Morris County: This park, located in Morris Plains, has natural obstacles like rocks, trees, and brooks.
- Riverfront Park This park, located in Newark, offers a variety of urban obstacles including walls and railings.
- Patriot’s Path This trail spans 35 miles in Morris County, and offers many natural and man-made obstacle to practice on.
Parkour: What you need to know
You’ll need a variety of physical and mental skills to become a skilled practitioner. Here are the most important skills that you’ll require:
- Strength Parkour demands a high level physical strength. This is especially true for the legs, arms and core. You’ll have to be able jump high, climb walls and swing from bars while maintaining your speed and balance.
- Agility agility is the ability to move quickly and easily in different patterns and angles. This is a key skill for parkour as you will need to be able respond quickly to obstacles and change direction.
- Balance Parkour is a sport that requires excellent balance as you will be moving over narrow ledges, and on unstable surfaces. Balance exercises include balancing on your one foot, walking a balance beam or doing yoga poses.
- Flexible: Flexibility allows you to move through different ranges without injury. You can improve your range of motion by stretching regularly, and doing exercises like yoga or Pilates.
- Spatial Awareness: Being aware and conscious of your surroundings is a key skill in parkour. This requires a keen perception and the ability to anticipate and react to changes in terrain and obstacles.
Parkour has many benefits
Parkour has many benefits for both physical and mental health. Here are some of its main benefits:
- Fitness Parkour can be a demanding and intense type of training. It can burn calories and increase muscle mass. It can also improve your cardio health, agility, and endurance.
- Confidence Parkour will help you build a strong sense self-confidence as you overcome obstacles.
- Coordination Parkour is a sport that requires a lot of coordination. You’ll need to move your body in complex, challenging ways. Improving coordination can improve your motor skills, making you more agile and responsive.
- Stress relief The movement and the surroundings of parkour can help you relieve tension and stress.
- Socialization Parkour is a great way to make new friends and meet new people. Many training spots and communities provide a supportive, welcoming environment.
New Jersey parkour is a unique way to stay in shape, explore new possibilities, and test your limits. The state offers novices and experienced parkourists a lot with its dedicated practitioners, communities and training spots.
You can train in an indoor gym or outdoors, but the key to becoming an expert parkour practitioner is to keep practicing, to learn from other practitioners and to never stop pushing yourself. Why not discover the world of New Jersey Parkour today?