Sustainability, not Everyone is Domtomato.
“Front flip Friday will slowly cripple the community. @domtomato can take big drops all the time because he’s Dom. You are not Dom.” - Callum Powell
Everyone's body is different.
In the age of the internet it’s easier than ever to fall into the trap of imitation. We’re bombarded by a constant stream of media telling us how we should look, act, and now move, and this is dangerous. Each person has different attributes and abilities that are specific to them. Because of Dominic Tomasso's years of ice skating, his strong parkour technique, and his Australian heritage, he has the ability to take massive height drops. You’re a different person with different abilities, and totally separate strengths and weak points.
You are not Dominic Tomasso. You probably cannot train like him (If you want knees).
Because parkour has only been around for a blink of an eye in comparison to many of our sports, very little data has been gathered about different training styles, and how they affect longevity.
On that note, this is what we do know:
Stretching and mobility, are essential. These two facets of training are often very easily overlooked, especially by younger athletes. Parkour is a lot of muscle compression, and fast extension. We rely on explosive amounts of power to hit big jumps, or massive tricks. This builds an imbalance in our muscles, and leads to shortened and tight muscles. Tight muscles leads to injuries, and not just short term injuries, but chronic injuries, that can plague you throughout your entire jumping career. Almost every kind of imbalance is a negative thing. To help build longevity into your training, you should balance out of the explosive tendencies of parkour with some muscle extension type movements. One excellent example of this is yoga. Yoga focuses on extending, and elongating muscles through slow, and steady movements. This works in counterpart with parkour to help keep our muscles long and limber.
Know Your Body
With the advent of the internet, it’s easy to see the end results of years of training, without seeing the hard work that goes into it. This can lead to an ill-perceived idea of what the prerequisites for certain movements are, and can easily lead to athletes overextending themselves, and doing movements or skills which they are not ready for. The best way to know if you’re ready to attempt a jump, or a trick is to gauge the failing options. What’s the worst case scenario? Does it involve serious injury, or even death? Probably don’t attempt the move. Only go for things which you are 100% sure that you can fail without risk of injury. Every injury you attain will stick around for much longer than you think, pulled muscles turn into chronic injuries when they happen repeatedly, and that will undoubtedly shorten your career.
Focus on Form over the “Wow-Factor”
An easy trap for new athletes to fall into is focusing on big and flashy moves, instead of honing in on their Ukemi, Bounce-backs, and Footwork. Having solid basics is essential before attempting any high impact or high difficulty movements. Think of parkour as a house, if you build your house on a weak foundation, but try to build it up as tall as you like, your house is going to collapse. So will your body without a solid foundation of basics. All of the athletes that you see taking massive height drops, doing immense rail-pres, or stomping triple twists outside, have been training for years, and have an excellent foundation of basics. When you see people wrecking themselves in spectacular ways, it’s a reasonable assumption that they haven’t put the time in to work on their technique.
What does all this mean for you?
To have a sustainable training style requires knowledge of one's own body. Even though social media can make athletes seem almost superhuman at times, you must realize that it took a long time for them to develop such awareness of their bodies. You may even strive to want to do some of the incredible feats that these athletes have accomplished but you must also understand that it will take time, and that you must enjoy the process of being a beginner to lay the proper foundation for your movement practice. We are not saying that you should not push yourself, or eventually attempt difficult moves, just that you should respect the prerequisites. Don’t mindlessly rush into advanced tricks, find a trusted gym, or community leader, and reach out to them for where the best place to learn in your community is. In some scenarios you may not have access to a community or gym, in these cases we recommend checking out our friends over at https://parkouredu.org/, or if you’re looking for free tutorials you can check out Zoic Nations tutorials by our head coach Andy Taylor!
Best Wishes and Happy Training!