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

Can You Train Parkour With a Fear of Heights?

Parkour and high places. You can't have one without the other. Well, actually, you can.

Contrary to what the media would tell you, jumping across roof gaps is not a part of everyday training for most parkour athletes. In fact, a good chunk of parkour training is done at floor level. While some have the luxury of open rooftops and awesome training spots with big level changes, many of our stomping grounds feature obstacles that are just a few feet high. On top of that, you can pretty much train every parkour movement without having to face heights, from precision jumps to cat leaps.

Things are already looking pretty good if you have a fear of heights, but don't stop reading just yet. The short answer is yes, you can train parkour if high places make you queasy. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't start working on that fear problem ASAP. Here's Why.



Heights Mean More Possibilities


Sure, you'll find plenty of great obstacles just above floor height, but you'll also run into some great possibilites up higher. Imagine you're enjoying a training session at a new spot and you come across a set of obstacles that you could easily overcome at your skill level. Then, you climb up and realize the height is out of your comfort zone. Fear keeps you from even trying. You've set some major barriers in your mind. If you want to reach your full potential, you've got to break them down.

Being Ready for Anything


What if that fateful day comes when you need to use your parkour skills to escape from a burning building? (Let's face it. We've all imagined this scenario). If you're paralyzed by a fear of heights, all your well-practiced parkour moves won't do you much good. Part of parkour is being ready for anything, being strong to be useful. A fear of heights is an obstacle that gets in the way of that value.


How to Get Over Your Fear of Heights


I am a firm believer that there is no fear that can't be overcome. I myself have struggled with a moderate fear of heights, but a few simple tricks have been helping me immensely.

1. Easing Into It

First, stand on an obstacle at a height that makes you feel uncomfortable without being dangerous. (No jumping off of buildings, guys. This isn't the Matrix) Think, a wall or atop a set of monkey bars. Stay up there for a while, alternating standing and crouching until you feel somewhat comfortable with the space. Now, take a step along the obstacle. Take another step. Keep going until you're able to walk and move around up high with little to no fear.

2. Parkour at Heights

Practicing parkour movements at heights is a different story. For this, you want to increase height gradually. Many precision jumps and cat leaps we find tend to cross high gaps. If you're unsure, think carefully before making that jump.

Some people enter a different state during a jump, a place in which fear melts away and all that's left is movement. However, if you aren't confident, there is a possibility you may freak out in the air and mess up. Know yourself before you jump. The best way to do that is to move up gradually, step by step.

One Last Precaution

When I say heights, I mean those in which you wouldn't die if you mess up and fall. Yes, some people jump between buildings. I personally would never go for that kind of jump unless it was somehow necessary. This comes from my personal philosophy of avoiding needless risk. Whether you make your way to that level is your choice, but know that you don't need to jump at building-height to prove yourself.

Just Do It

What's the biggest takeaway from all this? Suck it up. Resist the urge to stick to what's comfortable. Challenge yourself constantly so you can progress and become the best athlete you can be. At any height.


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Comments

  1. Couldn’t say it better. Stress can (and will, at some point) make you mistakes you wouldn’t do on the ground. So it’s required to first get used to the height, by just… Moving around, safely, with any simple move (stand near the edge, walk near the edge, put a leg over the edge while firmly grip something… etc.).

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