Parkour

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CrossFit Journal Article Reprint. First Published in CrossFit Journal Issue 48 - August 2006

Parkour Basics
Part 4: The Tic-Tac and Wall Run
Jesse Woody Parkour is inherently vertical. For most of the rest of the population, the only vertical movement involves elevators or stairs, but for the traceur, every vertical surface is an opportunity to choose a different path. There are numeroustechniques for scaling the vertical objects that lie throughout the urban environment (and innumerable techniques for surmounting those found in nature). Learning the basics of the tic-tac and wall run will give you a good understanding of the transference of momentum from the horizontal plane up and over the various vertical obstacles you may encounter. The tic-tac is the foundation of thesevertical movements, being a quick and efficient method for applying the momentum from your run along the ground to any number of objects that may aid in your ascent. In its most basic form, a tic-tac is nothing more than making your last step before take-off a boost off an object that gives you extra height and/or distance to make your next move faster or more efficient. You can use anything from smallwalls to benches or stumps. You should attempt to create a seamless transition between your approach run, your first step onto

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The Tic-Tac and Wall Run (continued...)
the object, and your final leap from it. Practicingthis basic idea on a small retaining wall is a great way to learn the movement pattern of the tic-tac, as you can dial in running speed and coordination by creating a cadence that you follow for each successive step, ending in a powerful boost from the top of the wall into the air. From there it’s a matter of focusing on your landing and retreat as you continue on your way. Once you learn to takeadvantage of any small obstacle that can add a boost, you can move to the more unlikely technique of using vertical surfaces to transfer the momentum from your run into a vertical path. Keeping a consistent running cadence, you will use your final horizontal step to boost yourself up toward the vertical surface in a lunge, then press down and out when your foot comes in contact with the obstacle,maximizing the vertical gain as much as possible on this step. With this technique you can overcome an obstacle or boost yourself to a higher level to continue on your way. The precise balance between the vertical push to gain height and the horizontal push against the wall to maintain traction is of utmost importance, yet it is also highly individual. The proportion of these two factors can vary abit depending on the properties of the surface, the traction of your footwear, and your own strength, coordination, and flexibility. In general, I find it best to shoot for a perfect 50/50 mix of vertical and horizontal push, resulting in what would amount to a 45-degree angle of trajectory relative to the ground. As you quickly explode from this powerful step onto the vertical surface, you shouldturn your head toward your path of travel and continue the striding motion by propelling your trailing knee and your hands up and out in the direction you intend to continue. The steps for all good jumps and landings (as discussed in last month’s issue) apply here, as you will tuck in the air and then extend toward the ground as you approach your landing area. Roll, crouch, or transition directlyback into a run as the situation dictates and you’ll be on your way. It takes a bit of practice to find the proper coordination for this movement, but as the pieces begin to come together you’ll begin to realize the amazing the amount of height and distance you can obtain with the tic-tac. The trick is essentially to maximize your vertical gain and use this to sustain momentum through your...
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