Welcome to Rising Traceuse A global resource for parkour athletes
Welcome to Rising Traceuse A global resource for parkour athletes

How Your Background Influences Your Parkour Development

Whether it's rock-climbing, gymnastics, kung-fu or volleyball, your physical background (or lack thereof) plays a big role in your parkour development. Sure, there are plenty of other factors involved, such as your learning environment, parkour mentors and training frequency. But background is big, and understanding yours will help you discover your strengths as well as the areas you need to work on. It also saves you some self-esteem issues if your training partner is learning parkour movements 5x faster than you.

We all know that we're supposed to pay attention only to our own parkour development, but let's face it. We have all side-glanced to the person training next to us to see if we are keeping up. Perhaps it's just in our nature. Instead of pretending these moments of comparison don't exist, let's just eliminate them rationally by understanding our individual differences. This is where your background comes in.

Take a Look at Your Background. Train Accordingly.

Every sport or physical discipline increases your body awareness, which is essential in parkour. However, each one emphasizes different areas of physical strength, skills and controlled movements. Take a good look at your background, and try to understand which parkour skills come more easily to you because of it. Then, list all of the movements that are not significantly affected by your background. Spend some extra time working on those.

Some examples:

  • A woman who has regularly rock-climbed for 4 years will likely have an easy time learning the cat grab, cat leap and climb-up.
  • A woman who practices yoga will have great balance and control to perform the cat balance and land great precision jumps.
  • A gymnast will have an easier time with movements on the bars and freerunning skills such as flips and spins.
It is sometimes tempting to only work on the parkour skills that come easily to you and become a monster at those. Not a good idea. Without a diverse skill set, you cannot overcome any obstacle that you come across.

In the past, I practiced mainly precision jumps because they were easy for me. Today, I am working on climb-ups, cat leaps and tic tacs. I kind of suck, which is exactly why I'm practicing them.

Attempting the climb-up forever ago (cheating with fingertips)

But what if you have absolutely no background? What if you can't even run 1/2 mile or do a push-up, what then?

Fortunately, you can learn parkour even if you have never practiced a single sport or exercised a day in your life. That is the coolest thing about training parkour! In fact, that was me when I started. I had to deal with a lot of my friends learning movements faster than me. That didn't stop me from training parkour, and it shouldn't stop you, either.

Making Peace With Your Rate of Parkour Development

Everyone is different. That is why everyone progresses differently in parkour. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you make peace with your personal parkour development. Keep this in mind the next time you are tempted to compare yourself to the person training next to you. Remember that your background affects your training, but it does not limit you. The past is a part of who you are -- and how you move -- but it does not dictate your future

So tell me, what is your background, and how has it helped you develop your parkour skills?

Please share your thoughts and personal experiences in the comments below!


  1. This topic is my weak point. I had NO backround at all, just like you wrote: not a single push up could be done by me, my balance was terrible and I had no body control. I could only run, but never practised that.
    At the beginning I was really jealous of other girls with previous experience in sports. Like "it's so unfair, it's easier for them, it's almost like cheating!" but luckily I stopped looking at other people and focused on myself xD
    One of my best best friends, a traceur, once said to me:
    "Yumi, look, I train already for like 9 years. People say I'm good, say I'm super skilled and think that all I jump is easy for me. Yes, it is, now.. But they have no idea how hard it was for me to reach all of this, to continue my training when I was always the last one in the group, the only one with no background. I used to have bad moments, thoughts that it's not for me... but I keeped going.
    You are just like me - started training when you were older than others, with no skills, no abilities. Depressing, huh?
    But remember: it's not about being better than others. It's about not giving up."

    That was like a mental kick for me!

    1. I felt the same way when I first started! It was very frustrating until I made peace with it and started focusing on myself, as well. Your traceur friend made a great point. Not giving up really is the key.

      And think about it: when you start from nothing, you are an inspiration to all other girls who want to train parkour but think they can't. They will start to think, "If she can do it, so can I!"

      That is one of my motivations to train hard and become proficient. I want to show girls that they can achieve any skill level they set their minds to, even if they have never done anything before parkour.

    2. I totally understand you.
      Yay, I'm so happy you decided to write this blog :) I also have a parkour blog, but it's in polish. I'm afraid my english is still too poor to write it in english x__x
      I'll visit you here very often :)


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