Flexibility: Static, Dynamic, and Active Stretching

    Flexibility is a key aspect of being a healthy, and well rounded athletic individual. Without flexibility, not only will your body feel very stiff, you’ll be unable to attempt key aspects of your sport, and you will be highly susceptible to more serious injuries. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), flexibility is defined as "the range of motion of a given joint or group of joints or the level of tissue extensibility that a muscle group possesses." What this means is, flexibility is determined by how large a muscle’s (or group of muscles) range of motion is.There are a plethora of different ways to stretch, and the three main ways to stretch that we will be focusing on in this article are static, dynamic, and active. All of these types of stretching will help you gain flexibility, but they all work differently, and, beyond just being able to bend further, have slightly different effects overall.

 Static Stretch

Static Stretch

    Static stretching is a type of stretching, where you hold poses for 10-30 seconds, and is generally a very deep stretch. Up until recently sport professionals thought that static stretching was the best form of stretching. Static stretching is the most common type of stretching, and is generally what people think of when they think of stretching. Static stretching is generally accepted as good for improving overall flexibility, but has been shown to be less effective when done before strength training, or hard exercise rather than after. It is essential to warm up prior to static stretching in order to prevent injury.

 Dynamic Stretch

Dynamic Stretch

    Dynamic Stretching involves movement and muscular effort for a stretch to occur.  While static stretching takes a muscle to its full length and holds it there for 15 to 60 seconds, a dynamic stretch takes soft tissues to their full length and rather than holding it, after a brief pause of 3 to five seconds, the muscle being stretched contracts and the muscles and tendons exert a force in that lengthened position. By doing this we lengthen the muscle, strengthen it in its new range, and also work on balance and coordination. This type of stretching has been known to increase power and endurance, as well as improve coordination and balance.

 Active Stretching

Active Stretching

    Active stretching involves holding the stretched position with the opposing muscle group. This means actively contracting one muscle group so the other can get a deeper stretch. Active stretching stimulates and prepares muscles for use during exercise. Active stretches not only stretch the muscles and tissues, but prepare the muscles for strenuous usage by activating and warming them up. This in conjunction with dynamic and static stretching will not only improve your parkour training but also your day to day functions in life. Stretching is an essential habit that should be built into any athletes training regime. The sooner one adopts a consistent stretching habit the quicker the athlete will feel more capable in their movement and be less at risk for injuries. However, adopting healthy habits as an athlete is easier said than done, but that is a topic for another article all together.

    Not every type of stretching is ideal for every person, so figuring out what works best for you and what will help you reach your goals is important. Overall, stretching is important because it keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight, which makes certain movements hard and sometimes even impossible to achieve.

 

Developmental Stages and How that Correlates to Learning Parkour.

    When different age groups are learning a physical art, there are different concepts they have to focus on. These concepts are built around their emotional, mental, and physical development. With every discipline comes a different skill set, but for this article, we are going to specifically focus on how different age groups should go about learning parkour.

 Photo By Elias Sell

Photo By Elias Sell

    The first age group to cover is Tots (3 Yrs - 6 Yrs).  Any child younger than three is probably too young to benefit from learning parkour in a traditional class setting, for children 0-3 Yrs, the best learning tool is playing, let them run free and enforce very basic safety rules.  For tots an important focus is fun: if they are having fun, they’ll keep playing, moving, and learning. When telling tots to warm up their elbows they might move their arms at the shoulders, this is because they have not yet fully developed the part of their brain that is associated with fine motor skills and movements. Until they have more control over their fine motor skills tots need to have their bodies guided for them to perform a specific physical action. If tots stop having fun they’ll stop moving, and that’s the worst possible thing for them. They will also need to develop discipline, which will, in turn, propel their learning and their overall success. Just staying in line and waiting their turn is a task at this age, but by encouraging them to stand in line and watch and cheer on their fellow classmates they will learn how to stay engaged even if they are not physically participating at that exact moment. Fear at this age is also a huge factor in their learning and development. Each child has a unique and extreme level of fear. Some children are fearless, some are afraid of not being able to see their moms, others are afraid of what we perceive as minuscule movements. Developing tactics to work with each type of fear is key in helping each child develop a mastery of their bodies and skills.

 Wielding children is an appropriate way to help them overcome their fears.  Photo by Greg Leddy    https://www.philaphotog.com/

Wielding children is an appropriate way to help them overcome their fears.

Photo by Greg Leddy 

https://www.philaphotog.com/

    After our tots, come our Kids (Aged 7-11). At this age, the kids now have a substantial awareness of their bodies and have developed extensive fine motor skills.In some cases, they are very adept and agile with them, in others, less so. Like the tots, kids still need to have a focus on fun in their training, otherwise, they may lose interest in continuing. However, unlike tots, this is a critical time in their emotional development where they need to develop discipline and commitment to help them further their skills.  Along with a rigorous focus on commitment, and overcoming mental barriers, comes a reformed sense of technique and skills. Now is the time that they can start to comprehend the underlying concepts and physics behind each technique they learn. They will also begin to develop a training routine, that involves warm ups and cool downs, taking classes, working on their own, and stretching.

    Next up are the Teens (Aged 12-17). Young teenagers are approaching their peak physical form, and can now start training very hard. At this age, they have matured mentally enough that they can focus on movement and technique for extended periods of time, without direct coach supervision. However, with adolescence comes the need to explore and push boundaries. One of the tallest hurdles for teens isn’t always discipline, it is more often respect for movements that tend to be lacking. They are at a point where most moves are becoming easier and they feel more comfortable with their bodies. When this happens it is also easier to fall into the habit of wanting to show off and push yourself to do more impressive movements. This is when you will get hurt. A major aspect of working with teens is to teach them to respect the movements and themselves. With a respect for the moves and their bodies, they will be less likely to get hurt by showing off or by doing a movement they are not necessarily ready for. Stretching is incredibly important as you go through puberty, if you don’t stretch, you’ll start to build muscle while working out, but your muscle will be tough and inflexible; this will cause issues later in life with mobility and it will be incredibly difficult to regain that flexibility later on in life. At this point, new techniques are still easily learned, and mental barriers are still (relatively) easy to overcome, this is when people should hone in on their skills training, and start to dabble with light strength training.

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    After teens come the ‘Young Adults’ bracket. This is the age range from about 18-30. Once someone has hit this group, they likely have pretty good emotional control and can focus on challenges for long periods of time with ease. They are quite mature and can comprehend concepts behind movements. Strength training can now enter full swing, you can put on all the muscle you want, as long as you’re putting in an equal effort to your stretching and mobility. Skills are still a top focus, but now you are reaching your maximum power, this is the point where you are the strongest and can jump the farthest. This is the time where you can maximize your power and should be going for your max jump. Because this is a wide age range, an 18-year-old may function very differently than a 30-year-old, especially when it comes to recovery times. At this age range you start to see an increase in rehab times, and overall your healing speed will slow down.

    We can now round up the article with the Adult (30+) bracket. At this point, you can absolutely still focus on pushing your skills and developing strength, but you need to be aware of the increasing fragility of your body. You can no longer go for maximum impact care-free and must consider the potential damage you are sustaining. There should be an increased focus on intricacy in movement and on specific techniques to help with longevity. Your bones may not be as strong as your earlier years of training, so take this into account when preparing for high impact movement. Now is the time to focus on technique, relearn some lost skills and start managing how much volume you are incorporating into your routine.

    With every age group comes different strengths, and weaknesses. With the tots, it's important to focus on learning discipline, basic motor skills, and overcoming fear. When it comes to kids, they need to start honing in on their skills and techniques, while continuing to focus on learning discipline, focus, and still head-on battling their fears. Teens can start to strength train in moderation, as long as it’s matched with equal mobility training, teens are also at their peak ability to learn intricate techniques, and skills.  Young adults are at their maximum strength, and can strength train without serious inhibitions, they can jump the farthest they ever will be able too, yet are starting to heal slower. The Adults need to start focusing on more intricate movements, instead of favoring high impact/maximum power jumps. These age ranges and advice are just a general guideline and should be taken with a grain of salt, everyone has a different body and progresses at different rates. Always train the way that's smartest and best for you.

Best,

PPK Team

Parkour Jams V.S Tricking Gatherings... What's the difference?

     Out of the corner of your eye you see a back flip. “PARKOUR!” you yell. The back flipping persons turns to you with a look of disgust on their face. “I’m a tricker. It’s not parkour.” That person could be pretty ticked off, leaving you to wonder what kind of cardinal crime you have just committed. To the casual observer you may not notice the differences between parkour and tricking, but make no mistake, there are plenty of them. Movement arts tend to be rich in culture and tradition, parkour and tricking being no exceptions. In parkour the cultural standard for a group event is a parkour JAM. In tricking, they refer to their large group meetups as gatherings, and they tend to be formatted very differently from parkour jams. The differences between a tricking gathering and a parkour jam, are vastly indicative of the greater differences between the two disciplines as a whole.

 Photo By Elias Sell

Photo By Elias Sell

     A Parkour jam can be a one day or multi day event usually centered around a gym, an outdoor spot, or a build out. There are thousands of parkour jams that happen each year, with some of the more popular ones being, 4TLOM (summer and winter), TIT Jam, and Beast Coast. Parkour jams are often multi-day with lodging provided at the gym, a local campground, or community members humble abodes. Most jams have both an indoor and outdoor component, as well as they travel between multiple outdoor training spots. Because parkour is based around using one's surroundings, and the obstacles around you, jams tend to migrate as they go, moving from spot to spot. Parkour and competition have a complicated relationship,(See our article on the 2017 Airwipp competition here: https://www.ppkphilly.com/global-community/2017/11/13/air-wipp-challenge) some believe it’s the best way to progress the sport, and others believe that competition corrodes at the core values of parkour. Plenty of parkour jams have competition aspects, but (for the most part) they are not the primary focus of the jam.

 Photo by - Elias Sell

Photo by - Elias Sell

     In martial arts tricking, the meetup of choice is referred to as a ‘Gathering’, and while it is similar in many ways, and may even take place in the exact same location as a parkour jam, there are a couple quintessential differences to point out. Often incorporated with gatherings are battles, trickings competition style of choice. As with parkour, tricking has evolved from several other sports over the years, notably: Breakdancing, Gymnastics, and Martial Arts (such as Wushu). The most noticeable influence when it comes to battles is breakdancing, two or more teams/crews will be matched up against each other. To see who can win the emotions of the crowd and the judges by the best stylish, biggest trick or best combo. Usually battles will start off with minimal tricks and progressively get harder throughout the battle while each team tries to one up the other. Gatherings are placed for trickers to come together to showcase their style, learn from other trickers and overall build a community in their area. With nearly every large tricking gathering, there are battles between top level trickers.

 Credits to - Hooked Gathering

Credits to - Hooked Gathering

    Now that we’ve highlighted some of the differences between jams and gatherings, there are plenty of similarities to point out as well! Both tricking and parkour are movement disciplines that are still in the adolescent phase, and have a lot of room to grow.  The direction of the sports are still (relatively) easily influenced , and new moves and combinations are discovered and landed nearly every day. Both of the communities are thoroughly passionate and have developed full cultures surrounding the sports, including magazines and news venues, as well as youtube stars, and professional athletes. Tricking ‘Hooked’ gathering will be on its 5th year running this year, tickets and more information can be found at https://www.hookedgathering.com !

     Tricking and parkour athletes are considered to be some of the strongest and most adept athletes in the world, and as tricking swiftly catches up to gymnastics in raw power, we are going to continue to see more and more insanity thrown all the time. Parkour and tricking can complement each other beautifully as we see in athletes like Zen Shimada, Pasha Petkuns, Dimitri Kyrsandris, and many others. As each of these sports grow they will show us new possibilities with the human body, as we discover what we can truly achieve.

Having A Strong Mind

     Fear is one of those things that you either run from or you run towards. It is either a motivator or a deterrent. Most people nowadays choose to run away from fear and “play it safe” or to be very “comfortable” in their everyday lives. What I mean by “comfortable” are the people who choose to be very risk-averse and run away at the first sign of a situation that makes them feel uneasy or awkward. However, what they should be doing is running towards that fear, running towards that uncomfortable sensation, and trying to systematically break down their fears in order to achieve the great things they want to achieve. If you are someone who is going to be a peak performer in any career in life then you should go towards fear.

 Photo by Elias Sell

Photo by Elias Sell

     One way of approaching fear from a more systematic perspective is by using incremental progressions to break down the cause that is bringing up that fear. From a parkour perspective, if the jump you are trying to achieve is 10ft off the ground and 8ft apart, you would take that same 8ft jump and bring it as low as possible to the ground and try and complete it as perfectly as you can. Once you can see consistency in your technique and power, you would then raise the jump up one foot off the ground, and then two feet off the ground, and then three feet, etc. This is the the way some parkour athletes break down their challenges. This is only one approach to being able to break down and overcome your fears.

     Another approach is being able to try and identify what the worst case scenarios might be and coming up with ways of safely failing and recovering from those scenarios. Parkour Ukemi (The Art of Falling) plays a really important role in someone feeling safer while reacting to a tricky falling scenario. If the practitioner can isolate where the fear is coming from then the appropriate fail or bail out can be practiced to reassure safety of the practitioner, or use pads/spotting in a way that they are sure to remove the fears. However, this in no way guarantees safety of the practitioner but it does minimize all of the individual variables of how, in this case a jump, can go wrong.

 Photo by Greg Leddy 

Photo by Greg Leddy 

      A very different approach of how to overcome fear is knowing that you can do something and zeroing down to the base facts of what you can do and not letting the outside factors manipulate you into being fearful. It’s important to fully know what you are capable of and committing to that 100% while it’s also important to choose your challenges carefully. This is an in depth and very complex concept that may be extremely helpful to some. This concept is something that can be pretty intricate, it is the main way that some high level parkour athletes, such as Brandon Douglass, train so best to get it from the horse's mouth. This method is not for the beginner, we would say.

     Committing to anything that is new and intimidating can be a challenge for sure. Becoming complacent in what we have already achieved can be an inescapable and easy trap to fall into if you let it. So let’s try to look at fear as not something to run from but something to analyze and conquer. By utilizing the approaches to overcoming fear like incremental progressions, analyzing your worst case scenarios, and trusting in your capabilities you actively take a stronger stance on furthering your skills as a practitioner or just in life in general. Let’s all strive to control our fear, not let the fear control us.

Best,
PPK Philly Team


 

Muscle Memory: Essential, yet Dangerous

You’ve probably heard the term “practice makes perfect” hundreds of times over your life and never thought anything of it; but does practice actually make perfect? Well, it all depends on the practice. If you practice everything consistently and hit all the motions correctly, then yes, practice can make perfect. However, if you practice a motion over and over again incorrectly, then practice not only doesn’t make perfect but also develops bad habits that will be more than twice as hard to fix later. The ability to reproduce a particular movement without conscious thought acquired as a result of frequent repetition of that movement is called muscle memory. Muscle memory for athletes can be great, but it can also be very detrimental to your progression if not used correctly.

 By Elias Sell

By Elias Sell

In parkour, we build muscle memory through the repetition of certain skills such as a lazy vault, parkour roll, or climb up. Muscle memory helps us to build on top of these skills and allows us to make them more complex. We rely on muscle memory because without it every single movement would require conscious thought each time to make it impossible to build and increase the difficulty of your movements. However, it is important to know when you are performing a move incorrectly because the consistent incorrect practice can cause your body and muscles to learn the wrong form for those movements which could then lead to a greater chance of injury later on.

 By Elias Sell

By Elias Sell

 

    A good way to know if you are performing a skill incorrectly is to either have a coach present who is knowledgeable about the proper form needed, or you can use online resources such as YouTube or other resources from other companies you trust to give you the information about the proper form. However, this does not solve the issue if you are out by yourself solo training. The solution to this, however, is probably located in your pocket. Your cell phone is a great tool that you can prop up almost anywhere and film yourself moving.  

When learning a new skill, you should be paying very close attention to how you’re moving. Film your movement, analyze it, have other people watch you and tell you what you did right or wrong, everything you can. Watch videos of people who have the skill down really well, and compare it to yourself. Do they raise their knee a bit higher? Which direction are their hips facing, or where are they looking? Where is their center of gravity? Where is their power coming from? Once you know everything you can about the skill or move that you are trying to learn, then you should try it, and each time, re-analyze what you are doing, and where you can improve. Then try it again several times, each time re-analyzing. Then, you should probably take a break. When you’re tired, you can’t perform to the best of your ability, and that means your movement will start to break down, meaning what you are trying to commit to muscle memory won’t be as good as it could be. Building muscle memory should be a lengthy process before you get it down perfect, and you shouldn’t try to rush it more than you’re able. You want to make your movement as good as you possibly can. Take frequent breaks, come back to your movement, and only when you’re absolutely certain that you have it perfectly should you start drilling it over and over again.

Best,

PPK Philadelphia Desk Team

 

Yoga, and the Importance of Mobility.

Whether you are a peak performing parkour athlete or a beginner with aches and pains in all the wrong places, picking up a yoga practice could be the solution to fixing many of your problems. Parkour is a sport that when practiced, incorporates a fair amount of impact on your muscles and joints. Overtime, like with most sports, this will develop into tight muscles in your legs and hips and lead to various aches and pains. As we age our bodies become less resilient and we need to incorporate a little bit of maintenance into our routine and yoga is the perfect solution for that. Yoga will help improve flexibility, joint stability and help create a more mindful athlete.

    Yoga can greatly help increase flexibility in your hips, hamstrings, and ankles through various different yoga poses. Poses such as Big toe and Downward Facing Dog really help stretch and lengthen the hamstrings and hips. Increased hamstring flexibility will help you reach and be more comfortable going for much bigger challenges. Holding these different yoga poses also helps strengthen joint stability in the ankles and in the knees, which should then make all of your landings feel much stronger and confident. Whether it be a season practitioner or beginner, increased joint stability will make any challenge or skill much more comfortable to attempt. The lower back is also a key area to strengthen because it tends to take a lot of shock from training and tends to be a common problem area for most athletes.

    Yoga introduces the concept of mindfulness which if applied to parkour can help increase the athlete's ability to stay calm when faced with a scary challenge. It does this by trying to deliberately place the person’s attention on their breath as they are going through different yoga poses. If you aren’t familiar with the difficulty of trying to hold a downward dog pose, most people are breathing heavy only a few minutes into the pose. A key element of any athlete is to be able to complete a mentally difficult challenge with the ability to stay calm during that challenge. There are many ways to try and stay calm in any given situation, however, one actionable way to try and calm yourself down is to slow down and deepen your breathing. In an article written by Martin P. Paulus, MD titled The Breathing Conundrum-Interoceptive Sensitivity, he writes how “Altered breathing may be useful as a physiological marker of anxiety as well as a treatment target using interoceptive interventions.” He continues to write that, “ Manipulating breathing opens the possibility for both assessing the significance of specific physiological pathways in anxiety and as a technique to intervene in order to lower anxiety levels.” Which means that you can use your breathing to assess how anxious or nervous you are about a given situation, in this case, a jump or challenge, and use that awareness to slow your breathing to actively try and reduce your anxiety. However, you can not use a technique such as this if you are not simply aware of your breathing at all, which is where yoga can bring that into awareness.

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No matter what level athlete you are it is important to be a well-rounded one. To become a well-rounded athlete you need to be both flexible and strong in your movements and in your mental game. Yoga can help you become physically strong while training your mind to deal with scary and uncomfortable situations. Whether you are lacking flexibility in your movements, concentration, or the ability to slow your breathing and control your fear; practicing yoga will help push you to become a better more rounded athlete.

Best,
PPK Philly Team

    

Routes Competition run-down

As many of you know, here at PPK Philly we value safety, fun, and good technique, above just about everything else.

 By Elias Sell

By Elias Sell

Since parkour is a relatively new sport/discipline the competition formats are at best ‘raw’, a couple different main ones permeate the scene, specifically ‘speed’, ‘style’, and ‘skills’. All three of these comps work to reach different main goals of parkour, but we feel like they all miss certain key aspects of the sport. Our solution to this? Create a new style of competition, Routes. We took a lot of inspiration from rock climbing while developing this format, we wanted something that could challenge practitioners of all skill levels, sizes, ages, and genders and ideally could pit them against the course more than against each other.

One key problem we wanted to address was a value of natural skill and being able to jump far/high, against trained precision and technique, a hallmark complaint against speed comps, making it nearly impossible for less genetically powerful people to compete at the top levels. The second issue was the wait times that you typically encounter at competitions, waiting for hours to perform a minute long speed, or style run simply is not fun and doesn't lend to the way we actually train. The third main issue we wanted to address was the aspect of competing against each other instead of the environment. Some practitioners see competitions against other athletes as against the spirit of parkour and therefore think competitions are not healthy for the growth of the sport.

 By Elias Sell

By Elias Sell

Routes are generally 1-4 moves linked together ending in some sort of precise landing. The competition lasted for 3 hours, from 7 PM - 10 PM. We had 63 routes set up in the gym. The rules are simple: Attempt as many routes as possible. When you are ready to be judged signal by one of 7 judges that are freely walking around the space to come and judge your attempt at a route. If it takes you one try to complete the route, you earn 5 points. If it takes two tries you earn 3 points. More than 2 attempts will only land you 1 point. You’re welcome to try any route as few or as many times as you like before calling over a judge. Routes are marked with boxes made of tape with clear indicators whether they are for (Left foot, right foot, left hand, right hand). If either of those four appendages lands outside of the designated box the attempt is a fail. If at any point any knee or elbow is placed down or is used to hold weight, that attempt is a fail. Certain routes had specific instructions (have to start from standing, may start from running, must not place butt down during route, etc…). Whoever ends the 3 hours with the most points wins.

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Challenges range from 6’ standing pres 3’ off the ground, to 12’ running pres to a rail at height, to 15’ foot lache pres. We specifically labeled each challenge as ‘Kids’, ‘Adults’, or ‘Advanced’ yet these labels were kept hidden from competitors. To qualify for the kids' podium, you had to have completed 1 or fewer adults challenges (and be under 16). To qualify for the adults' podium you had to have completed 1 or less advanced challenges, and any more advanced challenges then that landed you in the advanced podium. Women and men had separate prize pools, yet competed at the same time and in all the same challenges for the same prizes.

 

Some of the key takeaways we had from the routes comp were the fact that all ages and abilities could compete side by side, pro-level athletes right next to 10-year-old kids, and parkour moms. People who would have otherwise been to shy to compete in a parkour competition, competed because of how you could try a challenge as many times as you want before anyone had to watch or judge you. People who did not like the competitive side of parkour could still train with their friends and have a ton of fun completing challenges without having to compare themselves, yet more competitive athletes could push each other and constantly be one-upping the others on tech-heavy challenges. There was no down time, across the whole three hours you could train and compete as much as you want, or take frequent breaks if you so chose. There was significantly less bravado, and therefore 0 injuries across the entire comp due to not being pressed for time.

We had a ton of fun at our routes comp and will be hosting more soon. Be on the lookout!

The podiums were as follows:

Advanced Men: Elias Sell 1st (167), Sal Gaetano 2nd (157), Ernest Luboja 3rd (151).

Adults Men: Evan Langalis 1st (83), Taylor Jones 2nd (69), Kenney 3rd (63).

Adults Women: Tara O’Brien 1st (75), Kara Parker 2nd (35), Chelsea Marlowe 3rd (11).

Kids: Noah Pizzio 1st (66), Julian Thompson 2nd (54), Jonas Sell 3rd (41).

Best,

PPK Philadelphia Team

Mobility and Parkour

As a young athlete, when injuries occur they can usually set you back a few weeks in terms of progress. Whether it is a new move you were starting to understand or a line that you nearly have close to perfection, it can be frustrating having to stop progress because of an injury that may or may not has been your own doing. During these times of injury, the simple solution is usually always rest, compression, and maybe even a little stretching and elevation.

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One of the most common injuries experienced in parkour is the rolled ankle. A rolled ankle is otherwise known as a sprain, which occurs when you overstrain the ligaments in your foot to the point where they are stretched or even torn. Practitioners are likely to come across this type of injury during precisions or landing that normally place heavy pressure on the ankle. When it comes to injury prevention, one essential thing that is often overlooked is simply stretching, and properly warming up before you train. It’s always important to understand proper landing techniques in regards to how to absorb impact and land properly beforehand, lest things get improvisational midair, and more than likely sufficiently more painful. However, in the case, this information arrives too late, worry not, for there are a wide variety of conventional treatments that can get you “back on your feet” in no time. As stated before, fresh, vulnerable injuries need rest to heal, and hopping on them too early can extend the healing time or even make the injury worse. Wrapping the injury can help reinforce the ankle for temporary mobility. Once the pain subsides enough, toe raises and heel-and-toe walking can help rehabilitate the injury back into working order faster.

There are three common ligaments often involved in a ‘sprained’ ankle: the Posterior Talofibular Ligament, the Anterior Talofibular Ligament, and the Calcaneofibular Ligament. Specifically, when one of these ligaments is pulled too far, or even pulled to the point where they have tearing, or just straight up snap, this is the cause of a sprained ankle. A ‘jumpers knee’ is caused by an inflamed Patellar tendon, the front tendon connecting your Patella and Tibia bones, this can be caused by hard landings, takeoffs, and changes in directions frequently, and is common in many sports. When it comes to wrists, the Palmar carpal ligament is most often the culprit, often caused by too much stress from shocking impact, or if twisted at an abnormal angle while any force is applied.

jumpers kne.jpg
jumpknee.jpg

Jumper’s Knee (also known as patella tendonitis)  is an overuse injury that you may come in contact with if too much work is focused on the knee. As you’d probably be able to tell, jumping and running are often the reported causes of this injury. The pain, in this case, is caused by the overuse of the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shin bone, resulting in tearing. While overuse is mainly known as a perpetrator of this injury, improper technique is also known to be just as reliable a cause. Knowing your limits is a healthy mindset to keep in order to avoid Jumper’s Knee altogether. Pressing yourself too hard too often will wear out more than your knees after a certain point. As far as treatment goes, rest is still the way to go, and keeping the injury elevated doesn’t hurt either. Quadricep stretches should help with rehabilitation and keep stress off of the healing tendon.

Sprained Wrist.jpg
Ligamentwriststrain2.jpg

Finally, the last heavy hitter we have is general wrist strain. As useful as the hands are, they’re based upon the weak and feeble wrists. The wrists are similar to the ankles in the way of functionality, but when it comes to how much pressure they can take, they fall significantly short. Strengthening the surrounding forearm muscles and ensuring proper technique when in use is a good way to keep the wrists themselves from taking too much strain when in action. However, tread very lightly if an injury does happen to occur, as the wrist is relatively fragile even in a healthy state, and the deeper an injury is worked, the more catastrophic and long lasting the results may become. Treatment, as always involves a proper combination of downtime and rehabilitation exercise; this time with wrist rotations, fist clenches and finger extensions. Lastly, always keep in mind a doctor may be in the cards if you’re feeling uncertain.

Overall, injury's are a common feature when it comes to any physical activity, but this does not mean that its occurrence should be overlooked, or its results neglected. It’s best to keep an eye on yourself and maintain proper conditioning and preventive measure to keep yourself well in the first place. However, mistakes do happen, and when they do, it’s just as important to stay cool and know what happened, what to do, and what comes next.

Best,

PPK Philly Team
 

What makes a good 'Parkour Shoe'?

One of the things that makes parkour very different from most sports is the amount of equipment needed to actually start training. With soccer, you need shoes and a ball. With swimming, you need goggles and swimming trunks, maybe a swim cap, but with parkour, all that’s needed is your body (and for most people a good reliable pair of shoes.) There are multitudes of shoe types and price ranges and = it can leave someone wondering if there is such thing as the “best parkour shoe”. Having a shoe that is light and durable, has mostly a solid rubber sole, and within your budget is going to be worth the investment; versus a shoe that breaks down within a month. Parkour requires the athlete to be on their feet, constantly jumping, landing, and running up concrete walls; which calls for a durable shoe, or a shoe you don’t mind getting scuffed up.

One solid shoe choice for anyone starting off with is a martial arts style shoe called, “Feiyue”. This shoe is a great first choice for anyone old or new to Parkour. It may not be the most durable of shoes, but at its low price of $20, you can’t beat the price point. It might last you a few months with moderate usage, maybe less if used more frequently. One of the benefits of the shoe is its thin sole that will give you immediate feedback if you are landing incorrectly, which is very useful when first learning new movements. The grip for the shoe is pretty average compared to most parkour shoes, giving you decent traction on most walls and rails. However, the thinness of it can also be seen as a drawback, because of the lack of protection for the arch and heel. New students shouldn’t have this issue as long as they practice within their physical abilities avoiding careless high impact jumps or high-risk maneuvers. Overall if you are looking for an inexpensive shoe option, the “Feiyue” is a good option.

 Adidas Adistar Racers

Adidas Adistar Racers

 Feiyue Martial Arts Shoe

Feiyue Martial Arts Shoe

If you are looking for a shoe with a bit more durability while still keeping a lightweight profile, a solid choice among traceurs are the “Onitsuka Tigers, Ultimate 81 fashion shoes”. The Ultimate 81 makes up for the increased price with a boost in durability. With the increase in durability comes an increase in padding though, which can leave a new student less aware if they are landing correctly or not. The price for the Ultimate 81's starts at around $75 on Amazon and you might be able to find a better price on other retail websites. For an athlete with a bit of experience under his or her belt, this is a good shoe to have if they are moving into more precise movements or higher impact landings. The grip on the shoe itself is pretty standard, having traction on most surfaces, however, the rubber sole needs to be worn in a bit before the grip can be most effective.

A highly sought after shoe by many traceurs are the Adistar Racer (Or their Puma counterparts The Puma Cabana Racers). With top-notch durability, grip and build quality, the Racer is looked at by many athletes as one of the best shoes to use. One of the drawbacks of the shoe itself is how inflexible the shoe is out of the box. Because of the shoes high durability, it requires a bit of time to wear them in and for them to be comfortable for training. Normally the cost of the shoes runs in the $90-110 range can be hard to find in adult sizes. In contrast, a shoe that is easily found and at a much lower price is the “Saucony Bullet Classic Sneaker”. With its convenient price at around $50 and even cheaper on other websites, the Saucony Bullet is a happy medium between the Feiyue martial arts shoe and the Ultimate 81. The grip is great right out of the box, durable, and provides enough padding for beginners while also providing enough support for any intermediate athletes.

 Puma Cabana Racers

Puma Cabana Racers

 Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81

If you want to go out and find your own shoes, here are a couple things to keep an eye out for, in your hunt for the perfect shoe:

Good things:

A one piece, all rubber bottom.

As close to the width of your foot that you can find, too wide will be deceptive and make foot placement hard.

Thin enough to be able to easily feel the ground, and should be able to easily fold in half.

Bad things:

Foam bottoms

Hard plastic arches

If the sole of the shoe is not flat across the whole bottom of the shoe

Overly wide shoes

Heavy shoes, or shoes with a lot of weight.

Very solid shoes without flexibility

Soles so thick that you can't feel the ground

No laces or velcro

Another important thing to keep in mind is that kids shoes often are very solid and ‘brick-like’ you want to avoid this as much as possible.

New shoes are always coming out, and athletes are always making discoveries about what the next great parkour shoe is. Just now, highly regarded Parkour fashion/apparel companies are creating and improving shoes designed specifically for Parkour. Historically companies that make shoes specifically for Parkour, have created low-quality shoes. When it comes down to it, choosing a shoe is always personal preference. Whether you go for a cheaper shoe, a more durable shoe, or the most expensive shoe in the world, do your research before picking what works best for you. Every athlete is different and requires different types of material and you are not the exception. Figure out what you need from a shoe and then go find the shoe that best fits you and your movements.

A quick rundown of recommended shoes by the PPK Philly Staff:

  1. Puma Cabana Racers

  2. Adidas Adistar Racers

  3. Feiyues

  4. Onitsuka Tigers

  5. Saucony Bullet Classic

Sincerely,

PPK Philly Team

 Saucony Bullet Classics

Saucony Bullet Classics

Philly National Jam 2017

 

     This year was the first year Pinnacle Parkour has hosted the Philadelphia National Jam, and it was a great success, with over 50 athletes of all ages and skill levels showing up to jump, clean, and hang out! Fun was had, tons of jumps were broken, and many memories were made over the course of the two day jam, and it’s a weekend none of us will soon forget!

     For those unfamiliar with parkour jams, a jam is a gathering of practitioners. The purpose of jams is to bring athletes from far and wide to practice together. This conflux of talent and skill and different styles and perspectives brings the community closer together, in addition to providing every athlete with more complex challenges that may have never been noticed without an outside perspective. Hundreds of jams take place around the world every year, ranging from small local jams such as our Leave No Trace jam, to huge international jams like Lion City Gathering in Singapore. Jams date back to the very beginning of parkour, with many jams focused on giving back to the communities we practice in.

     One aspect of parkour that can be neglected is the “Leave No Trace” principle. For those of us familiar with backpacking and community festivals, leave no trace isn’t a foreign concept. However, when it comes to parkour, LNT is often overlooked. The concept of this principle is pretty self explanatory; leaving the areas you train in as close to the same or in better condition than they were before you were there. It’s hard to get this across nowadays to people that train parkour largely indoors, so we try our best to promote it at every event we have. Our effort at Philly Nat was a cleanup initiative at Paine’s Skatepark, and our community filled up tons of trash bags and left the park better than ever!

 One of our younger athletes making sure we leave the park better than when we got there (Photo by Elias Sell)

One of our younger athletes making sure we leave the park better than when we got there (Photo by Elias Sell)

     Aside from the cleanup aspect, the jam itself was a joyride of fun jumps and challenges for all athletes involved. On Saturday, we started the jam at Markward Playground with warm-up games to get athletes moving as they trickled in, followed by a class to get everybody familiarized with the movement potential of the area. Once everybody had some time to train at the park, we gathered small breakout groups to go to pocket spots around the city. Later on, we headed to the skatepark for our cleanup hour before training, then we headed back to the gym for the indoor portion of the jam. Everybody was hyped up and full of energy (Probably from the free food and drinks provided by our sponsors; Bodyarmor and PopChips!) and training didn’t stop until we turned the lights out at 2AM! On our second and final day, after slowly arising from jump-induced hibernation, athletes travelled to the final outdoor location of the jam, Venice Island! It was incredible to see athletes from the ages of 4 to 40, from no experience to highly experienced, coming together and training with one another. The community really coalesced and made us proud to be a part of it. Athletes jammed around the area for a few hours before heading back home, completely sore, exhausted, and satisfied after an eventful weekend.

 Bodyarmor provided us with some dank drinks and PopChips provided the snacks!

Bodyarmor provided us with some dank drinks and PopChips provided the snacks!

     Overall, we couldn’t be happier with the way the event unfolded! We give our thanks to every athlete, participant, observer, volunteer, and parent that made it all happen. What was your favorite part of the jam? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out the bonus photos we posted as well!

 One of the many breakout groups (Photo by Elias Sell)

One of the many breakout groups (Photo by Elias Sell)

 Dealing with security is an unfortunate necessity, but we always approach them respectfully and will leave if we're asked! (Photo by Elias Sell)

Dealing with security is an unfortunate necessity, but we always approach them respectfully and will leave if we're asked! (Photo by Elias Sell)

 The community gathered 'round! See if you can spot the lampshade wizard, the trash mountain, and the ginger that was in the sun for too long (Photo by Elias Sell)

The community gathered 'round! See if you can spot the lampshade wizard, the trash mountain, and the ginger that was in the sun for too long (Photo by Elias Sell)