Frequently Asked Questions
What is Parkour? PDF Print E-mail

Parkour is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one's path by adapting one's movements to the environment.

  • Parkour requires... consistent, disciplined training with an emphasis on functional strength, physical conditioning, balance, creativity, fluidity, control, precision, spatial awareness, and looking beyond the traditional use of objects.
  • Parkour movements typically include... running, jumping, vaulting, climbing, balancing, and quadrupedal movement. Movements from other physical disciplines are often incorporated, but acrobatics or tricking alone do not constitute parkour.
  • Parkour training focuses on... safety, longevity, personal responsibility, and self-improvement. It discourages reckless behavior, showing off, and dangerous stunts.
  • Parkour practitioners value... community, humility, positive collaboration, sharing of knowledge, and the importance of play in human life, while demonstrating respect for all people, places, and spaces.


To create this definition, American Parkour asked the entire national community for their personal definition of parkour. It was edited into this final version by a committee of American Parkour employees and people outside of American Parkour to ensure that it was truly a community effort.

You can link back to this page by going to

Read more For "What is Parkour" In Farsi, Hindi, Potuguese, and Croatian


What is Free Running? PDF Print E-mail

What is Free Running?

Free running was meant to start out an anglicized term for Parkour. It was first suggested to Sebastien Foucan during the filming of Jump London. Free Running has grown to be descriptive of a sort of "cousin" activity to Parkour - Free Running is more expressive and creative in nature, with moves such as acrobatics, flips, and spins added for flair, creativity, or just because someone wants to.

The main difference then between Parkour and Free Running is that Parkour is defined by purpose "get somewhere quickly and efficiently using the human body", and Free Running is defined by the activity or art of moving through your environment however you want, moving your way, following your own path.

What isn't Parkour? PDF Print E-mail

What isn't Parkour?

Parkour is not acrobatics, tricking, stunts, recklessness, or jumping off high objects for no reason. It is not any movement or activity that doesn't fit in the above description "What Parkour Is". It is also not "What you make of it" ... it is predefined and has a purpose, if something doesn't suit that purpose, it is not Parkour.

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Photo courtesy of SR2 - Pablo Durana

Why do parkour?

It's a good question, Isn't it?

Help us answer this one and you could win a pair of Feiyues!

Submit your answer to "Why train Parkour" - please make it three sentences or less, and if we pick your entry, it will be published RIGHT HERE and you'll win a pair of Feiyues.

Deadline is Tuesday June 25, so don't delay, send your answer in today! Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with subject "Why Train Parkour" -Thanks!

Cat Leap

What Is parkour?

Parkour is a physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one's path by adapting one's movements to the
environment. Parkour Defined >



Safety is the number one priority.

Staying safe in parkour is very different from other activities. There are clear threats and little to no safety equipment. The trick to training safely is maintaining control through awareness and good decision making. Know your environment. Know your abilities. Know when to say no.


  • A proper warmup & cooldown is critical to sustainability. Neglecting these invites overuse injuries and sudden injuries alike. Start with the APK warmup
  • Check all surfaces and structures for reliability & hazards. Don’t let slippery, wobbly, crumbling structures or glass become an unpleasant surprise.
  • Everybody progresses differently. Don't think that you can or should do something just because someone else did it.
  • Break any intimidating move into intermediate steps that you can perform comfortably to work towards that move.
  • ALWAYS remember that YOU decide whether to try something. Others can give you encouragement, but the choice to move is yours.


Where to Train

Photo courtesy of SR2 - Pablo Durana




Go outside! Whether it's the town square, a park, a college campus, the woods, or just a rail or wall, there are many public places that work well for training.

Photo courtesy of SR2 - Pablo Durana




"Training in a natural environment is necessary for a well-rounded movement athlete" - APK Workout of the Day 8/29/12



Photo courtesy of SR2 - Pablo Durana


Parkour gyms

Parkour gyms are popping up all around the country. They are great places to get specific instruction and connect with others who are interested in parkour too!


Where to Avoid Training

Avoid private property, construction sites, monuments, any sign of 'no trespassing', etc.






Photo courtesy of SR2 - Pablo Durana



Do not damage anything you are training on. If you see trash, pick it up, don't add to it.

If someone asks you to leave, don't argue. It's okay to explain that you are training the discipline of parkour (naturally people will be curious when watching you run up a wall) but be respectful of others, especially security, doing their job too.


Who to Train With

BEast Coast Jam Great Falls


You aren't the only one who likes to do parkour! All over the country there are people exploring and training this discipline. Instead of tournaments, meets, or games we have 'jams'. Most major cities (and colleges) organize events that bring traceurs together in one place where we explore new training spots, share ideas, and train with each other. These may occur on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis depending on the size of the 'jam'.


Parkour is a personal discipline - it's about finding your own way to overcome obstacles. Therefore, it is important to train on your own. Walking along railings, practicing precisions on sidewalks, doing vaults over benches and handrails are all great ways to have your own training session.

Open gyms and classes:

Most parkour gyms (see above) have open gym sessions where you can practice your skills and meet others who are interested in doing parkour too. Some places offer classes that will help you progress in a controlled environment (with a certified instructor) . Classes are also a great way to meet others who are just starting out!

Photo courtesy of SR2 - Pablo Durana


Basic Movements

Start with these skills focusing on control rather than power and intensity at first. Form and quality of movement is most important!

  1. Jumping, Landing, and Precisions
  2. Shoulder Roll
  3. Safety Vault, Lazy Vault, Monkey Plant
  4. Wall-Climb, Tic-Tac, Cat-Leap, Underbar
  5. Combination Training

There is a great deal more to learn. Be sure that you can perform these skills with ease before progressing to more advanced movements.

BEast Coast Jam Great Falls

Words of Wisdom:

There is a secret way to become good at Parkour fairly quickly: consistent, hard work. The only way to improve is to practice, and practice diligently. Parkour can be a great way to attain and maintain fitness, have fun, challenge yourself, and push your limits. Parkour can also be dangerous so take it slow and use common sense. Have fun, train hard! - Mark Toorock

This page is the hard work of a team lead by Melanie Hunt with Chris "Spyder" Wachtman, Mitch "Skinny" Andrejka, and Raul Piscoya. We're always working to improve, please send any suggestions to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

How Old do I need to be to Start Training? PDF Print E-mail

Its not age so much as attitude. When I was 14 I was very independent, but also very immature. I would have probably killed myself if I had either gotten the motorcycle I wanted so badly or if I had seen some of the Parkour videos out there!

What's most important is your patience, and willingness to train correctly and safely. There is NO need to ever go on a roof, and nothing about being on a roof that makes you any better at Parkour or Freerunning. What makes people good is practice, consistent, safe practice. Going big leads to injuries which leads to less consistent practice. Going too far outside your comfort zone leads to hesitation, leads to injuries, leads to less practice. Parkour and Freerunning are not about balls or guts, they are about honing your abilities so that more things are within your realm of safe possibilities. Even then there is a risk of danger, "even monkeys fall from trees".

So, I can't tell anyone a specific age is right or wrong, but here's a guideline: if you are disciplined (yes, Parkour is a discipline, funny how bad words and good words are the same words Smiley ) enough to train for three hours a week by setting up a goal or plan and sticking to it without jumping off anything over your own chest height for a month straight, then you are suited for Parkour and Freerunning safely and will probably get good at it. On he other hand, if you go out to train precisions, and ten minutes later you're jumping off 6' walls and rolling before you know how and doing running jumps, then Parkour and Freerunning are not for you, you will only end up hurt.

Don't go out training alone, and if you're less than 18 don't go meet "people from the internet" without at least a few friends or even a parent. There are a lot of other pieces of advice about starting to train that aren't included in this article but exist in others, like whether to start in a gymnastics gym with padding, training alone or with friends, etc. Please see other FAQ articles for advice on starting to train. Discuss in this thread

What fitness level is needed to start Parkour? PDF Print E-mail

Parkour is obviously a very strenuous activity, which is why a good fitness level is very important for effective training. Besides being very conscious of your appropriate level of training and proceeding along with small, incremental steps, it is also important to consistently improve your fitness level through progressive, functional training methods. On that note, here are some steps for doing so effectively:

1. Though most people would tell you to get your doctor's approval before starting an exercise regimen, I feel that most doctors know very little about fitness in general. That being said, if you have any previous injuries, illnesses, etc. or if you're past your prime a bit (i.e. a 55 year old man who used to smoke and is 20lb overweight) it is a good idea to get everything checked out and make sure that you are at a reasonably healthy baseline level.

3. If you have any injuries, please take the time to let them heal. Yes, it can be very exciting to get involved in Parkour immediately, but we're in this for the long haul, take your time and get everything patched up first.

4. Learn the basic calisthenic movements: The Squat , The Push-Up , The Pull-Up and a basic Sit-Up . Pay very specific attention to form. If anything hurts or just doesn't feel quite right, try to find a qualified trainer to help get you started, or shoot us a line via email or the WOD comments to figure out the problem!

5. Parkour requires a very broad combination of strength, power, endurance, stamina, flexibility, speed, agility, balance, coordination and accuracy, so your fitness program should address this. In the APK Workout of the Day, I try to vary basic exercises throughout the week to tax these all at one point, so that nothing is left out. DO NOT FALL INTO THE TRAP OF THINKING THAT A TRADITIONAL BODYBUILDING ROUTINE MAKES YOU "FIT" You need full-body movements through multiple planes of motion that test your balance and coordination.

6. Start slowly. If the basic squat is hard for you, don't try to do 100 of them your first day. Get the form down and gradually add volume as you adapt. I would say that a good base level of fitness would be 50 bodyweight squats, 25 push-ups, and 5 pull-ups. This ensures at least a general level of strength and flexiblity that will make your initial training more productive and safe.

7. Progressive overload is the name of the game. More load, more volume, done faster from one workout to the next will get you results. Keepnig everything the same week-to-week does nothing but make you bored. 

Some great sites exist that have awesome free info about performance fitness and nutrition, here are a couple of the best:

Crossfit - broad, non-specific fitness. Exactly what you need to practice Parkour. Be sure to check out their FAQ and back-issues of their Journal to find more about scaling the often brutal front-page fare.

Performance Menu - A great Journal for performance nutrition and general strength and conditioning. This place has a great daily workout that is geared mostly towards Olympic Weightlifting, but would benefit a motivated Traceur nicely.

BeastSkills - Jim is a good friend of ours and an awesome athlete and coach. His site is second-to-none in its quest to unlock the secrets of many of the harder bodyweight strength skills.

RossTraining - Ross Enamait is an amazing coach and quite and ass-kicker himself. Lots of great free info, with some well-priced books that are a great bargain with tons of useful info about making due with limited equipment. 

Basic Movements PDF Print E-mail

Basic Parkour Movements

While the concept of Parkour cannot be grasped by looking at the physical movements alone, it is necessary to "drill" some basic movements to attain a level of proficiency in Parkour. The movements can be thought of as tools in a toolbox, or paints on an artist's palette. At first one must learn the basic usage of the tool, or the usage of the primary colors, this is an elementary level. After that, someone can become masterful at the basics and start to experiment with other colors and blends. Finally, when one can think of only the end goal or destination and be unhindered by their choice of tool, color, or movement, this is when it becomes Parkour, for the individual movement is not important, only the intention of reaching a certain chosen point.

To see descriptions and and animations of some of the building blocks of basic movements please see our Lexicon and Tutorials.

American Parkour is proud to present the Tribe's Tutorial DVD in our online store.

What Should I Wear for Parkour? PDF Print E-mail
Although no special equipment is needed for parkour, there are some things to consider while you get dressed for your next parkour training session. It should be noted that parkour has no predefined style of clothing. People come from all different groups and dress in many different styles!
What kind of shoes to wear? PDF Print E-mail
You can count on hours of strict training and dedication for just about anything you do in the Parkour world, but don’t kid yourself, you need the right equipment to go along with it.
Origins of Parkour PDF Print E-mail


In some sense, Parkour has been around as long as man's need to hunt and avoid being hunted. Humans naturally have an astounding range of motion and range of options for how to move through a given set of obstacles. Further, children naturally move about with grace and ease, we only start to lose this later in life as we start to move with conscience. There have been several people throughout history to work on concepts of human movement and development, however, to look specifically at Parkour, we need to look at Raymond Belle, a French soldier in the Vietnam war. He and his companions worked to develop efficient methods "to reach or escape". These were then handed down to David Belle, who has spent a majority of his young (34) life working on these principles specifically as Parkour. There were some others who worked with him in the developing stages of Parkour in Lisses, Sebastien Foucan is probably the most well known.

What if I don't have a background in gymnastics, martial arts, etc? PDF Print E-mail

Question: A question that is frequently asked by people looking to get into Parkour and Freerunning is about the backgrounds of some of the higher level traceurs. A lot of experienced traceurs have backgrounds in martial arts, gymnastics, or other similar activities. To some without this kind of background, it can be a bit overwhelming and depressing! Is it possible to get to their level without their background?

Answer: Well, there are about 500 different answers for this question. The one that is probably most important is "whose level do you want to get to?" Parkour is about improving yourself, not striving to be where somebody else is. Every person can improve themself both physically and mentally through parkour training. It is less important where you start out and where you finish - the learning and improving is the journey, and as long as you are on a path of personal improvement... well that is what's important.

Check out the forums and post if you need help getting started with the APK workout of the day or some of the basic tutorials. There are plenty of people who are more than willing to help you. The basics remain the most important skills and mastery of those is essential.

Extended: What is Parkour? PDF Print E-mail

What is Parkour? This article outlines some basic principles.

Are Flips Parkour? PDF Print E-mail

No :)

Parkour Philosophy PDF Print E-mail

Parkour Philosophy

Many people take the principles they learn through parkour and apply them to their lives. By challenging themselves in parkour both mentally and physically, it becomes easier to deal with problems and obstacles in everyday life. When a difficult situation comes up in daily life, a parkour practitioner can see this as any other obstacle which they've learned to overcome quickly, efficiently, and without disruption to their intended path. Another part of the overall Parkour philosophy is to be useful in a variety of situations. Parkour itself does not strive to be a "complete" discipline.

Meeting up with People PDF Print E-mail
"We all know the dangers of meeting strangers in real life, but if you take a few simple precautions, you can greatly increase your safety."
Jam Checklist PDF Print E-mail

This is a list of items that you should bring to a meeting with other traceurs. It is advisable to bring a backpack to hold these items, especially if the jam is not within walking distance of your home.

What is CrossFit? PDF Print E-mail

American Parkour is proud to be a CrossFit affiliate. We feel there is no greater combination than functional movement combined with functional fitness.



What is CrossFit?


CrossFit is an exercise modality based on constantly varied functional movements done at continuously high intensity. What?! CrossFit is a way of exercising that emphasizes functional fitness. It does not specifically train for any activity, but for all activities. CrossFit states that a solid base of General Physical Preparedness (GPP) gained through high-power efforts will improve performance in any activity, and they're proving it.


How does this relate to Parkour?


Parkour is functional movement in your environment using only your body and the obstacles around you. There is no form of fitness that does not directly impact performance in Parkour, and as such, the 10 physical skills that CrossFit addresses; Cardiorespiratory Endurance, Strength, Flexibility, Stamina, Speed, Power, Coordination, Agility, Balance and Accuracy  directly correlate to increased ability in Parkour, and also benefit everyday life.


Sign me up, what's the secret?


The secret is that there are no secrets. CrossFit workouts are grueling, they are designed to break even elite level athletes, and therefore should be approached with an open mind and a bit of caution  €“ caution that you scale the exercises to meet or just barely exceed your current limits, not rush headlong and end up getting hurt (sound familiar?). Their workouts are based on tried, tested, and proven exercises and combinations that will make you more fit.


What about APK WOD?


Jesse Woody who creates the APK WOD is CrossFit level 3 certified, he uses his extensive knowledge to create a program that is well rounded, scalable, and beneficial, but neither the APK workouts or the Crossfit WOD should be seen as an entire scope of possible programming. There is an astounding amount  of fitness information at CrossFit, all of which  fits within the scope of the Crossfit tenants of functionality, intensity and variance  It is our opinion that anyone serious about fitness should be heading over to CrossFit to see what they are discovering; that many of  our long-held fitness myths are easily shattered  through real-world functional testing- that is the continual proof of their program's true efficacy.




Creating a Photo Album on APK PDF Print E-mail
So you spent all summer taking pics of yourself doing fun stuff ... this guide will show you how to create a new photo album in the APK Photo Gallery to share your Parkour and Freerunning pictures. You must be a registered member to create a photo album. Read more for detailed instructions.
Picture of the Week Submission Rules PDF Print E-mail
Photos must be new entries. All entries become property of American Parkour for indefinite usage in any medium or manner. You must have the right to submit the photo or your entry will be void (and possibly membership revokation if you knowingly break copyright laws). In the event of a contest (such as Picture of the Year) any prizes awarded will go to the participant in the photo and the photographer. American Parkour will send the prize(s) to the APK member who submitted the photo (as long as they are the subject or photographer), it is that member's responsibility to distribute appropriately. Contest winners by vote however APK maintains the right to override if foul play is suspected, we can track votes by IP address etc etc.
Parkour and Freerunning in Movies and Television PDF Print E-mail

Want to watch some feature films that feature Parkour and Freerunning? There's a few out there. Parkour and Freerunning are also showing up more in TV shows, documentaries, even books. We'll be adding more information to this shortly to give a review / overview of each piece and what it contains for Parkour and freerunning.


Feature Films Featuring Parkour and Freerunning

Yamakasi - Les samouraïs des temps modernes

Yamaksai 2 - Les Fils du Vent (AKA The Great Challenge)

Banlieue 13 (District B-13)

Banlieue 13 - Ultimatum (District 13: Ultimatum)


Feature Films with Some Parkour and Freerunning

Casino Royale - Sebastien Foucan 

The Tournament - Sebastien Foucan

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Ong Bak: The Thai Warrior - Tony Jaa


Paul Blart Mall Cop- Victor Lopez


You don't Mess with the Zohan - Paul Darnell, Richard King, Gabriel Nunez


Sherlock Holmes






Parkour Documentaries - Feature Length

Jump London

Jump Britain

My Playground


Documentaries - Shorter Length

Generation Yamakasi

Point B

Pilgramage by TK17

Jump Westminster


Parkour and Freerunning  TV Shows

Jump City: Seattle

MTV Ultimate Parkour Challenge


Parkour and Freerunning TV Appearances

The Simpsons

The Office

American Dad

House: MD


Parkour and Freerunning Books