Balance is very important in parkour and self-defense. These parkour balance training exercises will improve your balance and will also:
- Building resilient joints to help sustain the stresses of high-impact jumping and landing.
- Cultivating body awareness.
- Improving all over body strength.
- Increasing your focus levels.
You will want to be able to do all these exercises on a round rail. In most places, the round rail is the hardest, common, urban structure to balance on. Progress to this by starting on the ground, then on ledges, flat planks, square rails, etc.
The information in this post is from the book Essential Parkour by Sam Fury.
Parkour Balance Training
First, you need to be able to get into the squat position on the ground.
If you do not have the flexibility for this, do these two yoga stretches to improve.
Once you can do a squat on the ground, do it on the rail.
To begin with, you can hold onto it. Then once you have found your balance/confidence, let go.
It may help to focus your gaze on a single point in front of you.
When you are ready try standing on the rail for as long as you can.
Doing squats on the rail is a great strength building exercise.
Make sure you can do at least ten squats on the ground before trying them on the rail.
Even better is to do jumping squats which combines the squat with the box jump. When you are confident you can use the box jump to get up onto the rail.
The following description of the jumping squat is an extract from the book Daily Health and Fitness by Sam Fury.
***Start of Extract***
Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
As you breathe in, squat down as low as you can. Keep your back straight and come up on your toes as you squat. Put your arms out to your front. This will help keep your back straight.
Spring up as you exhale and jump as high as you can. Tuck your legs up as high as possible on the outside of your elbows. Try to keep your back straight. This is actually a box jump.
Land as soft as you can and adopt a crouching squat position.
Note: If you cannot do a jumping squat you can build up to them by doing regular squats first. Do as explained above but without the jump.
***End of Extract***
The next step is to walk. Walk forward a bit, then turn around and walk back.
It will help to start on something easier than a rail. At the most basic level you can follow a line on the ground, then use a wide plank and get thinner as you progress.
The key to keeping balance is correct posture. As you walk, keep your chest up, knees a little bent, and your bum over your heels. Take each step toes first.
To begin with, go slow and use “airplane arms” until you are confident. Stop to regain balance when needed.
Try walking backward also.
Note: In a real-life scenario, it is better to use a money traverse or catwalk on the rail. These two methods will give you more control and a lower profile.
Rail Balance Routine
Once you can do all the above things you can put them into a short rail balancing routine.
Jump up on to the rail and get balanced in the squat position. Do a few squats on the rail, stand, walk forward, turn around, walk backward, catwalk.
Increase difficulty with inclined rails.
When you want to become a beast of balance you can move from the rail to slacklining. Do the rail balancing routing on the slack-line.
Slacklining is like tightrope walking. Most people use a piece of webbing tied between two anchor points, usually trees. The webbing is dynamic (stretchy), flat, and a few inches wide.
To learn more about slackening including the various types and how to set one up visit:
LEARN MORE essential parkour skills in the book Essential Parkour Training by Sam Fury.
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