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

Powerful Exercises for the Parkour Climb-up

If there is one movement in parkour that makes me cringe, it's the parkour climb-up. Sure. Some women don't have a hard time with it, and a lot of men struggle with it just as much as women do. I am not saying it's a girls-only challenge. However, if you are a women, chances are you have never consciously developed your upper body. Although this movement takes technique, it also takes a fair amount of strength from the following areas:

  • Triceps
  • Biceps
  • Upper back
  • Shoulders
  • Hands.... yes, hands.

One of my biggest regrets in my parkour journey is that I didn't start learning the climb-up sooner. I procrastinated for a long time, so now I am still working on it even after practicing parkour for several years. The parkour climb-up is an amazing skill to have. It lets you overcome any wall you face after grabbing it from a wall run or cat leap.

I am fortunate enough to have my husband with more than 8 years of experience to help me learn the best techniques for the parkour climb-up. Together, we came up with 4 great exercises to give you strength for the climb-up. 

The great thing about these exercises is that any practitioner can do them, even if she has never developed her upper body strength.

Walls with an inclination are great for starting out

Cat Hang

Although muscle power is important for the parkour climb-up, a good cat hang is the main prerequisite. How can you ever do a climb-up from a cat leap if you can't even hold onto the wall? Here is how you can practice this technique:

  1. Find a low wall, and place your hands so that the pads of your finger tips are holding onto the edge of the wall. Place your hands at shoulder-width apart or a few inches closer together.
  2. Bring up one foot, and place the ball of your foot flat against the wall at the height of your hips. Keep your arms extended.
  3. Bring up the other foot, and place it slightly below the first. Try to hold yourself with your fingers as your weight rests against your feet.

Hold this position for as long as you can, and slowly lower yourself to the floor. Repeat this 3-5 times. Every time you practice the cat grab, try to stay for a few seconds longer. A good goal is to be able to hold the cat grab position for 1 minute at a time.

Bent Arm Cat Hang

Once you are able to hold yourself in a cat hang, take it up a notch. Pull your body upwards and toward the wall with your arms as much as possible. Try to touch your nose to the corner of the wall. Hold this position for as long as you can. Lower yourself, and repeat 3-4 more times with a break of several minutes between each repetition.

Let's say you don't have an awesome brick wall in your backyard. Is there anything you can do to gain strength for the parkour climb-up from wherever you are? Yes, there is. That brings us to the...

Triceps Pushup

This powerful exercise builds strength for the last part of the climb-up. Get into the push-up position with your hands chest-width apart. Do a slow push-up, keeping your body straight and your elbows close to your sides.

Complete as many push-ups as you can in 3 sets. If you can't do a full push-up yet, no worries. Start with knee push-ups. Just make sure your elbows stay aligned with your chest.

Close-Handed Pull-up 

You need a chin-up bar for this one, but it is a great exercise to build strength in your back and triceps for a powerful parkour climb-up. Keep in mind that you will most likely need someone to help lift you up for this exercise if you do not have much arm strength. If you don't have a training buddy to help you, stand on a sturdy chair. If you do this, start the exercise by holding yourself with your chin already over the bar, and lower yourself as slowly as possible.

Once you're ready for a full pull-up, follow these steps:
  1. Grab the bar with an overhand grip. Let your feet hang loose, and flex your arms slightly. 
  2. Pull yourself upwards until your chin is above the bar (but not directly over it.)
  3. Hold this position for a few seconds, and lower yourself as slowly as possible.
Do as many pull-ups as you can in 3 sets. 

Start Doing Parkour Climb-ups

Once you have gained the initial strength, try doing a complete parkour climb-up. Don't worry if it isn't completely straight, fast or pretty when you first start. If it is, you are a beast. Just remember to never, ever place your elbows or knees on the wall as you climb. If you are practicing on a wall that is narrow enough to wrap your hands over the other side, don't. Not every wall has an overgrip, and you need to develop the strength and skill to overcome any wall you encounter.

That's it for now! I am still working on making my climb-up completely straight and fast, but I'll get there soon.

How long did it take you to do your first parkour climb-up? Or are you still working on getting there?
If you have any additional tips or exercises you use for the parkour climb-up, leave a comment below!

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  1. Thank you for writing this post, I can't appreciate it enough. The climb up is definitely a struggle for me - it's one of the main things I need to work on. I will try your tips! Hope we get it :)


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