Over the last few years, Parkour has taken the UK by storm with Parkour Parks and Activity Centres sprouting up all over the country. The fast-paced urban sport has gained popularity with kids and adults alike with some merely enjoying the fitness element and others embracing the full philosophy of the discipline and the lifestyle it offers.
In this blog we delve into the world of parkour, what it means, how it's practiced and why. We look at the differences between the original form of Parkour and other variations, such as Freerunning which shares many of the same techniques but varies in core principles.
If you've ever wondered about Parkour and why some kids are leaping of buildings, then read on to get the lowdown.
What is Parkour?
When we speak of Parkour, it's not unusal to imagine skateboard types scaling walls and jumping from rooftops at scary heights. But it's surprisingly much more than that.
Parkour is a highly regarded discipline with a rich theology and a thriving community. Since the early 00's, enthusiasts and traceurs have come together, creating events, competitions and training courses as well as popular videos, documentaries and gaming content.
In its simplest explanation, parkour involves overcoming obstacles while getting from Point A to Point B using various movements and techniques, such as running, jumping, climbing, vaulting and spinning. The athletic discipline uses speed and power to advance through natural or rural terrain as quickly and skillfully as possible.
What makes this adventurous sport so unique is that it is practiced outdoors, using the landscape as its platform, whether in an urban or rural setting. More recently, parkour enthusiasts use Parkour Parks to practice their techniques and movements. These spaces have specially designed equipment and agility apparatus for users to master their skills in a safe environment and is particularly popular for beginners.
How did Parkour come about?
With military roots and a strong Martial Arts influence, the name Parkour was established by David Belle in the nineties. He was inspired by his military-trained father (Raymond Belle) to create a method of training that focused on human performance and endurance that enhanced all aspects of life. It combined creative, athletic movement, mental strength and a strong work ethic to challenge and motivate people to strive for their own personal potential.
In fact parkour is often described as a discipline itself as opposed to a sport. Its core philosophy is based on overcoming and adapting to mental and emotional obstacles as well as physical barriers. Similarly, its essence is about engaging with the world around us, using our own natural abilities to overcome obstacles and fears that stand in our way. Many practitioners today have created a lifestyle based on these values, encouraging personal growth and life balance.
What type of exercises are involved in Parkour?
There are a few different forms of Parkour or rather variations which have derived from the discipline.
Parkour works like a military obstacle course with the athlete running, jumping, leaping, swinging and climbing through the environment. They use ledges, walls, rooftops and rails to create fast and fluid ways of progressing through obstacles, using both mind and body.
Practicing the discipline at a high level requires an advanced degree of body strength, excellent balance and a strong mental acuity. The training involves consistent bodyweight and strenth building exercises, plyometric workouts and body conditioning to build power and speed.
Training Exercises (suggested by the WFPF Word Freerunning Parkour Federation)
- Pull Ups
- Broad Jumps
- Monkey Plants
- Knees to Elbow
- Air Squats
- Quadrupedal Moves
FreeRunning is based more on the art and expression of movement with less focus on overcoming obstacles. It has a more theatrical element to the sport and athletes perform flips, spins and other acrobatics. Like Parkour, Freerunning requires quite intense training to master the balance and agility needed to perform.
One of the main differences of Freerunning to Parkour is the values behind it. Parkour is more about the discipline of oneself and is more about individual progression. Freerunning on the otherhand is more sociable and centres around the performance aspect.
What are classic Parkour moves?
Parkour tends to be made up of a series of moves, each with several techniques - Vaults, Landings, Walls, Bars and Combinations.
Here are some examples:
- Speed Vault - used to quickly jump over low walls and rails
- Precision Landing - also used in Freerunning, the athlete starts and lands on an exact spot with limited momentum
- Cat Leap - this move is used regularly to land on to a high wall or ledge from a running jump
- Lache - this is a swing from one bar to another using backwards momentum to reach forward
- Double Kong - used to leap over large gaps or multiple objects like a double wall, the athlete pushes off twice rather than landing
Is there any equipment needed to practice Parkour?
Unlike many sports, Parkour doesn't require specialist equipment. However, to train, an athlete would benefit from strength training kit such as Pull Up Bars, Gym Rings and Plyo Boxes for building up power and body strength.
Lightweight or shock absorbent shoes and protective gloves are preferred for some although many enthusiasts favour barefeet and hands.
Is Parkour Safe?
Parkour is as safe as any other high impact sport if it is practiced properly. Athletes should be fully trained with a high level of fitness and skill before attemping to perform in the urban environment. With proper Parkour training, athletes become better at making informed decisions about specific feats and high risk moves and are able to determine what is achieveable and what is best avoided.
There is a strong etiquette of respect within the Parkour circles which acknowledges responsible training and appreciation for the environment, society and safety of others.
Where can I practice Parkour?
Parkour parks are a good way of training outwith the environment and are best for beginners who can practice in a safer space with less height and cushioned surfaces for extra support. These training spaces are kitted out with boxes, walls, fences, rails and agility equipment with proper high density rubber surface mats that absorb impact from landings, falls and possible accidents.
Many sports centres, schools and universities now offer Parkour training courses as well as a number of community events where enthusiasts can meet up and train together.
Parkour is not your average sport. It takes time, effort and commitment to reach the standard you witness on You Tube. That being said, it is becoming more inclusive and accessible with the increase of Parkour Parks and Training Centres allowing young kids to experience the thrills of the sport in a safe setting.
Parkour is a personal pursuit - everyone has the natural ability to thrive in this style of training and experience the liberty of movement. It does require a certain level of commitment but there are no set rules on what you should achieve, how advanced you should be and how slick your performance is. You are free to take from it what you need.
Whether you appreciate the artistic movement of freerunning or prefer the disciplined approach of Parkour, both variations of the sport have one thing in common - the freedom of movement and expression within the environment. This in turn makes both methods equally rewarding.
With the hit show Kobra Kai hitting our screens a couple of years ago and the well-loved Mr Miyagi still a firm favourite in our hearts, Karate has always been a fascination for young and old alike. Now a mainstream sport with Tokyo 2020 hosting its Olympic debut , Karate has been branded the fastest growing sport globally.
That brings us to our own brush with the world of Karate.
Now proud sponsors of the World-Class Shitokai Karate Club, a dynamic Martial Arts community who coach youngsters, teens and adults in the Greater Glasgow areas of the city, it is one of the largest Shitoryu Karate Associations in the country with leading instructors boasting over 30 years in practicing the art.
They specialise in Karate-Do, a form of the sport which focuses on the balance of movement and mindset to create optimal performance, both on the Karate Mat and in all areas of modern life.
Run by Terry Connell, a time-served Karate master, the club has moulded the talents of many International athletes for Scotland's National Karate Team, the European Championships and Team GB. Terry's daughters, both coaches and medallists themselves play a large role in promoting and fuelling the clubs passion for the sport within this friendly and family-like environment.
The Shitokai club is a diverse group, ranging from 4 years to senior adults, an ASN class for all age groups and a huge community summer camp following.
With the highest number of candidates chosen to represent Scotland and Britain from just one club, the high-achieving group are prominent players on the international stage with a legion of medals and awards to their name.
So what is it that makes this lively group so successful?
The club's philosophy is not soley based on skill and commitment to the sport. There is a strong culture of fellowship, wellbeing and self-growth. Talent is nurtured gently but with spirit allowing individuals to work on their own personal development and achieve their goals.
Shitokai promotes a great sense of community, social inclusion and perhaps most of all, adventure. In other words, it's fantastic fun. Kids can enjoy summer classes, workshops and events while working towards individual goals.
Kicking Up a Storm
It is easy to see why Karate is one of the most popular Martial Arts sports out there given the ongoing success of Shitokai. Not to mention the thousands of online searches growing each month for available lessons. Parents are particularly keen to enrol their own little ninjas into Karate training, with the sport being synonymous with discipline, respect and skill.
With that being said, let's look at the main benefits of Karate training in more detail.
Key Benefits for Kid's Karate
Learning a discipline such as Karate from a young age helps to build confidence and self-esteem. Kids learn through fun, fast-paced skill games how to protect and defend themselves while developing their agility, co-ordination and flexibility. These skills help children to appreciate their own capabilities and thrive among their own peer group.
2. Improved Fitness Levels
Karate is an active, cardiovascular sport which uses all muscles of the body. In Karate coaching, kids learn various techniques and moves that improve their general fitness, build strength and power. It encourages them to keep active by practicing their newly learned skills at home and learn fun and rewarding aspects of fitness.
3. Increased Concentration
Another great life skill to master, Karate lessons can enhance a young person's concentration span. They learn to focus on their technique, master their form and practice their performance through structured practice and commitment.
One of the main benefits of Karate is learning self-defence. It encourages children to counter measure as opposed to attack, learn self-restraint and how to manage conflict in order to interact effectively with others.
5. Instills Discipline & Respect
The ancient art of Karate has an ethos of honour and respect at its very core. Children and youths learn these fundamentals from the beginning of their Karate training which developes their character and helps them to build positive relationships based on mutual respect.
These are just some of the plus points of youth Karate. At Shitokai Karate, Terry Connell and his committed team have excelled at providing a constructive and inspiring platform for children and youths to develop their abilities, build character and make great friendships.
Martial Arts, namely Karate-Do has been recognised as an excellent opportunity for young children to enjoy an active sport and at the same time, harness essential life skills along the way. Whether it is used to improve fitness, learn self-defence or work to a professional standard, Karate is a versatile and rewarding sport whatever you're looking to get out of it.
Have you ever considered sampling what Karate has to offer for yourself or little one? The sport is available to anyone, at all levels of fitness and age groups and tons of parents, kids and siblings train together. Great news is, most Karate Clubs, including Shitokai offer free Trial sessions so there's no reason why you shouldn't give it a go. Go on, Mr Miyagi would be proud.
Sustainability, durability, and creativity rarely converge as magnificently as in our newly launched product – an armchair crafted from recycled rubber. This transformative piece of furniture is designed not only to upgrade your garden or children's playground but also to embody our ethos of promoting environmental responsibility through innovative design.
Turning Waste into Wonder
Our recycled rubber armchair is the embodiment of environmental consciousness. Crafted from discarded rubber materials that would otherwise fill up landfills, this armchair is our tribute to a sustainable future. We've turned the concept of waste on its head, transforming it into a functional, stylish, and durable product.
Designed for Durability
The recycled rubber armchair is incredibly durable, able to withstand varying weather conditions, from scorching heat to freezing cold. That means you can safely leave it in your garden or kids' playground all year round without any worry about damage. It's also robust enough to endure the rigours of energetic children at play, making it a perfect addition to a playground setting.
A New Level of Comfort
Don't let the material fool you. This recycled rubber armchair offers an unprecedented level of comfort. The rubber has been expertly treated and moulded to provide a flexible and supportive seat that adapts to the shape of the person sitting, offering a bespoke seating experience.
Aesthetically Pleasing and Versatile
In addition to its functionality and comfort, our recycled rubber armchair boasts a unique aesthetic that is both rustic and contemporary. It adds a distinct character to your garden or playground, becoming a point of conversation and admiration. Its neutral black tone makes it a versatile addition to any color scheme, and its texture adds an intriguing visual and tactile element.
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In our quest for innovative and sustainable solutions, we're proud to introduce the recycled rubber armchair, a product that delivers on comfort, durability, and style. By choosing this armchair, you're not only enhancing your outdoor space or playground but also actively participating in a more sustainable future. So, why not add a touch of sustainable comfort to your garden or playground? Make the eco-friendly choice today – for you, your children, and our planet.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 is an upcoming international basketball tournament organised by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The tournament is scheduled to be held in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia from August 25 to September 10, 2023. The competition will feature 32 teams from around the world competing for the title of world champion.
- Group Phase - 1st Round
- Group Phase - 2nd Round
- Final Phase
The first round of the group phase will be held from August 25 to August 30. There will be eight groups of four teams each. The top two teams from each group will advance to the second round.
The second round of the group phase will be held from September 1 to September 6. There will be four groups of four teams each. The top two teams from each group will advance to the final phase.
The final phase will be held from September 8 to September 10. It will feature a single-elimination tournament with the top two teams from each group in the second round.
Our new tile, Camo Mash Fleck offers a splash of colour to your gym with a top layer SBR 62% + EPDM Mix colours 38%. The mix of Brown & Green coloured flecks adds vitality and ultra protection in one solution.
Find out more about camouflage gym flooring.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art and combat sport that focuses on grappling techniques and ground fighting. Originating in Brazil, BJJ has gained worldwide popularity due to its effectiveness in self-defence and its numerous physical and mental health benefits.
In this short guide, we will introduce you to the basics of BJJ and explore the various health benefits it offers.
1. How BJJ Works: BJJ revolves around the concept of leverage and technique, allowing practitioners to overcome larger and stronger opponents using skill and strategy. It emphasises ground fighting, submission holds, joint locks, and chokes to control and neutralise opponents. Training typically involves drilling techniques, practicing positional sparring, and live rolling (sparring).
2. Health Benefits of BJJ:
a. Full-Body Workout: BJJ provides a comprehensive full-body workout. Techniques such as takedowns, escapes, and submissions engage the muscles throughout the body, promoting strength, endurance, and overall conditioning.
b. Cardiovascular Fitness: BJJ training is intense and dynamic, involving continuous movement, bursts of energy, and periods of high-intensity rolling. This improves cardiovascular health, boosts endurance, and increases lung capacity.
c. Flexibility and Mobility: BJJ requires a wide range of motions, including bending, twisting, and stretching. Regular training can improve flexibility, joint mobility, and overall range of motion.
d. Core Strength and Stability: BJJ heavily relies on core strength for stability and control during movements. Practicing BJJ can strengthen the core muscles, including the abs, lower back, and hips.
e. Body Awareness and Coordination: BJJ promotes body awareness and coordination as practitioners learn to maneuvre their bodies efficiently, execute techniques, and respond to their opponent's movements. This enhanced proprioception carries over to everyday activities.
f. Mental Well-being: BJJ offers mental health benefits by reducing stress levels, improving focus and discipline, and boosting self-confidence. The challenge of learning and applying techniques, problem-solving during rolling sessions, and achieving personal milestones can have positive effects on mental well-being.
g. Self-Defence Skills: BJJ provides practical self-defence skills that can be useful in real-life situations. Learning to control and subdue opponents, understanding body mechanics, and utilising submissions can enhance personal safety and confidence.
3. Suitable for All Ages and Fitness Levels: BJJ is accessible to people of all ages, sizes, and fitness levels. It allows individuals to train at their own pace and gradually progress. As a non-striking martial art, it offers a safe and controlled environment for learning and practicing techniques.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not only a martial art and self-defence system but also a path to physical and mental well-being. Through its focus on leverage, technique, and ground fighting, BJJ offers a full-body workout, improves cardiovascular fitness, enhances flexibility, and promotes mental health benefits such as stress reduction and increased self-confidence.
Whether you're interested in self-defence, physical fitness, or personal development, BJJ can provide a rewarding and challenging journey towards improved health and overall well-being.
Padel is a rapidly growing racquet sport that combines elements of tennis and squash. Originating in Mexico and popularised in Spain, padel has gained global popularity due to its accessibility, social nature, and health benefits.
In this short guide, we will introduce you to the basics of padel and explore the numerous health benefits it offers.
1. How to Play Padel: Padel is played on a court smaller than a traditional tennis court, enclosed by glass walls and mesh fencing. It is typically played in doubles, with players using solid paddles and a lower-bouncing ball. The objective is to hit the ball over the net and into the opponent's court, utilising the walls to keep the rally going. The game follows similar scoring rules to tennis.
2. Health Benefits of Padel:
a. Cardiovascular Fitness: Padel is an excellent cardiovascular workout that gets your heart pumping. The fast-paced nature of the game, combined with constant movement and rallies, improves endurance and cardiovascular health.
b. Muscle Strength and Tone: Padel involves repetitive hitting, running, and lateral movements, engaging multiple muscle groups. The sport strengthens the lower body muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves) due to constant running and lunging. The upper body muscles, including the arms, shoulders, and core, are also utilised during swings and paddle movements.
c. Agility and Coordination: Padel requires quick reflexes, agility, and hand-eye coordination. The need to anticipate the ball's trajectory and make split-second decisions sharpens these skills over time.
d. Balance and Stability: The dynamic movements and changes in direction during padel help improve balance and stability. The need to adjust body positioning and maintain control while hitting the ball enhances proprioception and overall stability.
e. Mental Well-being: Like other sports, padel can have positive effects on mental health. It offers an enjoyable and sociable experience, reducing stress levels and promoting overall well-being. Playing padel with friends or joining a club can provide social interaction, a sense of community, and an opportunity to develop new friendships.
One of the great advantages of padel is its accessibility to people of all ages and fitness levels. It can be enjoyed by beginners looking for a fun way to be active, as well as by seasoned athletes seeking a competitive challenge. The smaller court size and slower ball speed compared to tennis make it easier for beginners to learn and enjoy the game quickly.
Conclusion: Padel is an exciting and inclusive sport that combines elements of tennis and squash, offering a range of health benefits. Whether you're looking to improve cardiovascular fitness, build strength and tone muscles, enhance agility and coordination, or simply enjoy a sociable and engaging activity, padel has something to offer. Give it a try and experience the joy of this fast-growing racquet sport while reaping the numerous health benefits it provides.
When it comes to your gym setting, choosing the right flooring is a big decision. Every activity is different. Unlike a traditional gym, CrossFit training has specific requirements. It’s important to choose the best flooring for CrossFit so that it supports your workout and offers the optimum amount of protection. You want something that can handle a combination of plyometric moves and heavy barbell drops with the perfect level of shock absorption.
Whether you’re building a CrossFit box at a commercial gym or home gym, the floor needs to be able to take on everything you can throw at it. You can’t drop extremely heavy barbells on concrete; it will simply not end well. There are several options to choose from for your CrossFit gym flooring. Let’s break down the best CrossFit flooring to kit out your fitness space.
Table of Contents
- Why do You Need the Right Flooring for CrossFit?
- 3 Best CrossFit Flooring Options
- How Thick Should Your CrossFit Flooring Be?
Why do You Need the Right Flooring for CrossFit?
Crossfit combines weightlifting, cardio, and bodyweight exercise for an intense and high-performance workout. During Crossfit sessions, the floor needs to able to handle repeated movement as well as protect the body from injury. Therefore, the flooring needs a certain level of endurance and protection. When you repeatedly perform high impact exercises using heavy weights, you want to give yourself the best opportunity to carry out movements safely.
It’s common to perform movements such as deadlifts, squats, shoulder press, kettlebell swings and burpees. When you think about your Crossfit flooring, consider what you will be doing regularly and the type of surface that will support your goals. For example, foam flooring will cushion the body from high impact exercise and plyometric moves but may not be durable enough to withstand heavy weights.
The wrong flooring could end up damaging the floor and make you more prone to injury. This is because the flooring might not have the level of traction and shock absorption for comfortable workouts that absorb intense movements and act as a buffer to the underfloor.
Similarly, an inadequate surface with no slip-resistance or traction could result in slips and falls or an ineffectual performance due to poor grip or premature fatigue. A crossfit floor should absorb all impact from activity and weights as well as offering slip resistance and anti-fatigue properties to ensure a safe and efficient training session where you can focus on your form, technique and overall performance.
3 Best CrossFit Flooring Options
Crossfit is a high impact activity that involves weights, plyometric exercise and cardio. Due to the natural variety of Crossfit, you need to choose a flooring surface that caters for different types of exercise. Here are three of the best Crossfit flooring options:
1. Rubber Floor Tiles
By far the best option for Crossfit, rubber floor tiles comes in a range of thickness which greatly determine the suitability of use. For example, the lower end of the scale (11mm, 15mm and 20mm) will accommodate most activities but if you plan to use heavier weights then the thicker options are definitely the way to go. These will support multi-purpose use and olympic lifting.
Pro Rubber flooring is widely used in the fitness industry for its durability, shock absorption and protection as well as being low maintenance and simple to install. The material is resistant to mositure and bacteria as well as being easy to clean and keep hygienic which is an essential factor in gym environments. Another reason why rubber flooring is used in fitness and gym spaces is that it can minimise and dampen sound from heavy weights and equipment. The thicker the tile, the more any noise disruption will be reduced.
Not only do rubber tiles perform well, they look professional and aesthetic in a gym setting. Rubber tiles complement the bright and vibrant colours and materials of most gym equipment and are also available in colour varieties to match in with your gym interior.
There are few installation options to choose from with rubber gym tiles. They come in standard format where the tiles can be butted together using compression or glued down (please Installation videos for more information). Alternatively, you can opt for interlocking tiles which come with plastic inserts that are hidden under each tile to keep the locked togthether. Either process is simple enougn to carry out without a specialist fitter.
2. Interlocking Gym Tiles
As mentioned in the Rubber Tile section of this article, interlocking gym tiles are another option for your gym floor installation. They offer all the qualities of the standard Pro gym tile range but with clever, hidden connectors which keep the tiles from moving around as well as making it really easy and quick to install DIY. These tiles come in thicknesses of 20mm and 30mm which are the perfect solution for Crossfit use. This stylish range also has a deluxe and velvety top surface for ultra comfort and are available in different colours and design options.
3. Sprint Tracks or Sports Turf
Sprint tracks are perfect for adding a versatile strip in your training area for sprint work and sled work. A sprint track adds a vibrant zone that adds another level to your CrossFit box. It can be added as a feature to your Crossfit gym but may not support all the activities you plan to do.
How Thick Should Your CrossFit Flooring Be?
With CrossFit, rubber flooring thickness starts at 11mm going all the way up to 50mm. If you plan on doing some extreme weightlifting, going for a thicker flooring is a good idea. Your floor should have plenty of traction, shock absorption, and protection to reduce the risk of slips and falls and absorb impact.
We would recommend a rubber tile at least 20mm thick which supports weights up to 140kg although you may want to go higher if you use weights up to 200kg and above. In that case, a 30mm rubber tile or above (Antishock) is your best choice.
Any surface being used for exercise should have the adequate properties for safety, protection and performance. With so many disciplines included as well as being a high intensity sport, it is doubly important that you get a Crossfit floor right first time. It should support all of the activities included in Crossfit training as well as the weights you use which means you need to consider firstly the material of your floor and secondly, the thickness. Once you determine these factors, you can be confident that your Crossfit flooring will support you and your performance for years to come.
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