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Training on Vacation Part 1 (of many): Parkour in the park

Mar 08, 2013

Life Update

Yesterday afternoon I arrived in Copenhagen!  I will be in Europe for the next 8 weeks.  This is mostly for vacation but I will have a few ultimate activities mixed in.  I'll be traveling south to Italy soon.  If you are between here and there and want me to drop by for an impromptu mini-clinic or just a visit, send a message my way!

Last night I stayed with Lasse Gejl and Thea.  Lasse curates the top ten most interesting ultimate tidbits of the week.  There are so many ultimate videos and articles posted online each week that it's almost too much to handle.  What a great problem to have!  If you want to keep up on what's going on in the ultimate world, but don't want to spend each day combing through various websites and YouTube channels, his email newsletter is for you!  You can sign up at

Today's Workout

I told Thea I needed some exercise before sightseeing and she sent me to a beautiful park near the apartment.  In the park they have a special area for parkour activities.  Parkour originated in France.  The basic point is to learn to run from point A to point B surmounting any obstacles that might be in your way by vaulting, climbing, tumbling, or using whatever works depending on the moment and the space.  Although this parkour video looks like total madness, there are methods of movement that you can practice before deciding to leap and roll off tall building in a single bound.

Part 1: Motor Skills and Jumping

Over the summer I spent a few evenings with the Lancaster Parkour Club where they taught me a few basic vaults and gave me some tips on balancing and precision landings.  So today instead of agility training, I did some balance training by basically walking around on most of the things shown in this picture.


I spent 10-15 minutes practicing walking forwards, backwards, and doing split stance lunges and cat crawls on the bars.

Instead of agility training I did some precision landing.  As I've taught you before, the landing is an important precursor to plyometrics.  The goal in precision landing is to learn to land on small objects.  To practice precision landings, look at the spot you want to land on, focus, and jump.  I did some precision landings from one column to another, from some of the low bars and steps to columns, from a column to a bar (I need more practice!), and by bounding from one column to another.  The goal is always to land quietly with balance and control.

Lastly I did a few vaults over some waist high bars.

Part 2: Conditioning

For my conditioning I spent about 20 minutes doing intervals of the following activities:

  1. Trampolining:  No joke, this park has mini trampolines.  There is no way I was not going to use them.
  2. Stationary Step Sprinting: I did 30 steps, 20 seconds rest, and 30 steps again. This is basically sprinting in place and tapping your feet on a step in front of you.  Works on quickness and strengthening the hip flexors.
  3. Bodyweight Squats:  I did 45 each round trying to keep a pace of one per second.
  4. Bodyweight Russian Step ups:  I did 40 reps alternating 10 each leg.  I really liked these with no weight because you can use arm action for drive.  It feels like sprinting on one foot.  Works on driving the hips in a full range of motion.
  5. Lava obstacle course:  Ran through the park and back bounding on all of the columns without touching the ground.

I have no idea what my work/rest ratios were because I did not bring a stopwatch.  So, my intervals will have to be a bit fartlek style from now on.  I tried to rest to a consistent feeling of recovery rather than based on time.  This meant that my rest intervals were shorter at the beginning of the session and longer at the end. Perhaps in the future I'll try to monitor my heart rate to guide my recovery intervals.

Eight weeks of ?

I don't normally recommend training with no plan.  My primary motivation in creating The Ultimate Athlete Project was help athletes to think more long term about their training and to give them a plan that works.

So what is my plan for the next 8 weeks of training?  I have no idea what, if any facilities I'll have access to.  My travel plans are not even fully developed.  How does a person train under circumstances like this?  Truthfully, probably not very well.  But as I always say, anything is better than nothing.  When going in to any new training situations, it's imperative to have realistic expectations.

  • I expect that I will NOT be able to improve my max strength.
  • I expect that I can be consistent about working on core strength.
  • I expect I can improve my conditioning by being creative about my interval work.
  • I expect to learn and use more bodyweight exercises to keep things interesting.
  • I expect that some days I will skip a workout and I will just have to forgive myself on those days.

For certain, sticking to a training program while traveling requires flexibility and creativity.  I hope you will have fun seeing what I come up with!  Stay tuned!

Ready to take the next step?  Sign-up for my 6 week Sprint-Agility-Quickness program!

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