The Parcube: A Parkour Training Tool

By: Mark Toorock

The Parcube is a parkour training tool, a simple device that allows people without access to urban structures to practice many of the basic movements involved in Parkour and Freerunning. Of course you can always find rocks, trees, etc, but sometimes it's easier or more practical, the parcube could even be used inside a garage in winter.

This article shows you how to build your own for about $100, and gives you some ideas on how you might use it.

If you can use a circular saw and cordless screwdriver, you can build your own parcube.

Materials List:

2 Sheets 3/4" sanded plywood 4 foot by 8 foot

8 2X4 X 8 foot studs

3 2X6 X 8 foot planks

1 box 1 1/2"  drywall screws

1 box 3" drywall screws

2 4" lag bolts with 1/2" washers

1 gallon outdoor paint

5lbs "play sand" available at hardware / DIY store

Tools:

Circular Saw 

Electric Drill / Screwdriver (preferably cordless)

T-Square

Tape Measure

Pencil

Paintbrush / Roller

Screwdriver bit

1/2" drill bit

Optional:

Mitre box saw

5 Lb Sledge

The other tool that I really like is the craftsman reversible countersink. It's a screwdriver bit on one end, and a drillbit / countersink on the other. Great for easily starting screws and for pre-dilling with a countersink for a flush finish. The countersink isn't necessary on the plywood unless you're using hardwood plywood. On regular pine, the screw will naturally bury itself above the head.

 

Getting Started:

Go look at the last picture, it always helps to have the end product in mind, it can keep you from doing silly stuff like attaching something on the wrong side, etc. Now stop daydreaming, you've still just got a pile of wood and screws. Remember that I did this over a year ago, and am writing this from memory. Measure twice cut once, always measure your work to confirm the dimensions / cuts I give you.

First we'll attach 2 8 foot 2X4's to the edges of a full sheet of plywood.

 

To do this, use a piece of 2X4 to mark a pencil line along the edge of the plywood. This will act as a "screw guide" so that you can see where the 2X4 is when you flip the board over. Use the 1 1/2" screws, about 1 every 6".

Next, cut two lengths of 2X4 to fill in the other ends, these should be 45" each, but measure just to be sure.

Now we'll add the "ribs".

   

Measure out 2 feet on center, then mark 3/4" inch to either side, so you have marks for the edges of your 2X4's. Carry these lines to the outside edge so you have screw guidelines. I like to offset the screws slightly instead of perfectly straight, it ads a bit of strength.Cut 3 45" lengths. Use the 3" screws to attach the ends of the 2X4's.

Again, use a 2X4 on the other side of the plywood to lay out 2 lines that you can use as guides to screw through the plywood into the 2X4's. Using 1 1/2" screws about every 6" attach the plywood to the ribs.

 

You now have a nice sturdy platform. Use this as a table to cut your other sheet of plywood lenghtwise down the center. Next, cut one of the halfs in half crosswise. You will now have one piece that is 2' X 8' and two pieces that are 2' by 4'. Flip your platform so that the plywood side is down (ribs side up).

Attach the plywood sheets using a few screws to hold them to the 2X4's on the platform.

Use a 2X4 so with the 3 1/2" side flat as a guide for another screw line.

 

Attach an 8' 2X4 to the piece of plywood. 

This is just a helpful hint: when going to attach these 2X4's, use a 3" screw to help you hold one end of the 2X4. (you need to view the full size image to see the screw) Cut two pieces of 45" 2X4 and attach to the ends just as you did with the long one. You should have 1 1/2" of plywood left at the end, as there will be anothoer 8' 2X4 to complete the box.

Measure your space between, I think it should be 17".

Cut and insert 4 pieces, screw them in from the plywood side with 1 1/2" screws.

 

Measure again 2' on center for your bottom "ribs". Use your countersink to drill pilot holes, and get your screws set in your side 2X4's so that once you have the rib in place you can just finish screwing it in place.

     

Great, your parcube is nearly complete. All we have left is paint and support legs. I have no pictures with the legs, so I'll just have to describe that part.

 

I used a white primer coat, then used red spraypaint in the corners, much quicker than brushing it in.

The next part of my paint scheme was to add the lines in the "bricks" by masking off white areas.

And finally, the finished cube. For the top coats (2) of paint, mix a few pounds of fine grade "play sand" into the paint. This will give your cube a nice gritty texture, similar tot hat of brick or concrete. If you don't, it will be slippery when wet.

Legs:

The 'cube is very stable when it's 2' tall, it's very stable when it's 4' tall, but it's not too stable when it's 8' tall. To help with this we'll make it some legs, basically an angled brace that can be attached when you have it in the tallest upright position. Wiuth the cube up on it's end, measure up about 5' and drill a 1/2" hole in the center of the rear 2X4. Drill a hole in the center of 2 2X6's about 5" from the end. Stick bolts through these to hold them up. Now cut a 4' piece from the remaining 2X6 and lay it on the ground about 3' behind the parcube. This will be the base of the support. Now, find a way to measure and cut to the engle that your supports will hit the base of the support. I used angled joist supports (little metal brackets) to attach the 2 legs to the support base. I used wingnuts on the 1/2" bolts to make it easier to take apart and put tofgether, as you only want the legs on there for one configuration.

Exercises:

 The next update of this article will cover all the exercises you can do with the Parcube. The list is as endless as your imagination, and you can have some very challenging moves, but for basics:

Vaults

Drops

Catleaps

Palmspins

Wallspins

Wallflips

Wallhops / pop vaults

Tic-tacs

Box jumps

Pullups / muscle ups

etc, etc, etc.

 


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Written by Mark Toorock   
Sunday, 02 April 2006 09:11
Last Updated on Monday, 13 December 2010 21:57