Author Topic: looking for a good schedule  (Read 1657 times)

Offline Lupus Potens

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looking for a good schedule
« on: December 01, 2013, 10:25:06 AM »
I've started getting serious about my training, and I think I need a better schedule. For now my goals are:
1. Rail precisions
2. Improve regular precisions(they aren't bad, I just feel I should work on them a little more)
3. Condition myself(This isn't too bad either, I just get a little tired after doing climbups and cats after several minutes)
4. Kong over my picnic table(hips need to be a little higher)
5. Practice landings
6. Learn Cartwheel(need to get legs a lot higher)
Is this too many? I'm thinking about spending 20 minutes to an hour training a day now, including my workout. How important is stretching too? I do stretch, a little before and more after, depending on what I did. So, according to these goals what should I spend time on, for light training days and hard days?
Right now my warm up is: some jumping jacks, arm circles(small to large), high knees, then push ups and sit ups. Do I need to change it?
Then I'll work on something outside, usually precisions and balance. After that I workout with weights, on my forearms, bicep, and triceps, sometimes shoulders too. Anything wrong here either? And also, do I need to change my schedule and goals alltogether?

Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: looking for a good schedule
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2013, 12:29:08 PM »
Ok this is always a little tricky since both parkour skills and conditioning are pretty taxing and the last thing you want is an overuse injury. It isn't too much, it can just take some careful planning. My first question is how important is conditioning to you? I'm assuming since none of your goals are specifically conditioning related that you're more interested in skills for right now but correct me if I'm wrong.

Some general exercise advice is that you want to do warm up>skill work>strength work>endurance work in that order. So let's go into each of those a little bit.

Your warm up is a good start but you should probably add some mobility work to it, especially for your lower body and probably shoulders.
For lower body check out this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZRIo09fPNw. That guy's jumps are on another level. You probably won't feel like doing the entire routine, but definitely do the first exercise (the hip circles) and some kind of dynamic lunging. You might also want to do some bodyweight squats since your skill work involves a lot of jumping.
For shoulders the arm circles are good and wall slides are a good idea (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYNSZz-fPRw). I'm also going to recommend some wrist mobility because that's important especially if you end up getting into bodyweight strength and handstands and even cartwheels.
You probably want to get rid of the sit ups. They're actually very hard to do correctly and really aren't a good exercise anyway. Do l sits or hanging leg raises if you need something for your core.

Ok as far as your skill training goes you can do so many different things that I don't want to impose a program on you, so I'm going to be general unless you'd like something specialized.

Rail precisions, regular precisions, and landings all go together. If you train one of them you'll improve a little bit at the others. I'd say start with balancing immediately after your warm up, every single day as long as you have time. This isn't very taxing so you can do it even on your rest days and it's a good way to get yourself focused. Balance is one of those things that directly relates to how much you do it, so this should help you a lot. Spend like 5-10 minutes at least on this if you have time and then move on to general landings. At first just do a tuck jump and try to land quietly and with good form. Don't jump from any height for now, especially if you train frequently. You will blow out your knees. After those take your pick of either rail precisions or normal jumps. Normal precisions first might make the rail precisions later a little easier, so you can do that. These 3 goals work together very nicely.

Kongs and cartwheels you'll learn very quickly. Just spend some time working on them after your precisions (or before if you want, doesn't really matter). You can do them at any time during the day separate or together and it won't matter much, you'll get better as long as you put in the work.

Can you go into more detail about your weight lifting? What exercises do you do, how many sets and reps, and do you have any goals related to muscular strength or endurance? Personally I'm a big advocate of strength, but it doesn't have to be your goal.

Stretching is very important but mostly after a workout. Dynamic movements are important before, static stretching can be done after. Stretching can be really complicated but for now just do it and if you want to look into it more I can dig up some resources for you. I wouldn't worry about it very much until you have everything else figured out unless it's causing you any problems which it doesn't sound like.

As far as a workout schedule what works best for beginners is MWF as your "on" days, with TTHS as "rest" days, and then you can either start with Sunday as your next workout or use it as another rest day and start again Monday. A lot of people stick with MWF as it's easy to make it routine and you get enough rest. So your "on" days will be a warm up, skill work, conditioning, stretching. Your "rest" days will ideally be warm up, balance, maybe some cardio if you want, stretch. You can also do some skill work on your rest days but keep it very, very light. Cartwheels should be fine and maybe small precisions and kongs, but nothing high impact.

Hope this makes sense and feel free to ask questions and I'll happily elaborate on everything or help you come up with another routine if this one doesn't appeal to you.

Offline Russell Wilkie

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Re: looking for a good schedule
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2013, 08:54:40 AM »

Stretching is very important but mostly after a workout. Dynamic movements are important before, static stretching can be done after. Stretching can be really complicated but for now just do it and if you want to look into it more I can dig up some resources for you. I wouldn't worry about it very much until you have everything else figured out unless it's causing you any problems which it doesn't sound like.


Stretching is a pretty controversial subject when it comes to improving your physical well being. The overall consensus for stretching is that dynamic stretching is just fine, but you want to avoid static stretching. Static stretching can cause you muscles to weaken. Overworking them-stretching immediately before or after working out-can cause you to lose flexibility. Dynamic stretching is argued both ways. Some people say it has a similar effect as static stretching, some say it will improve your flexibility. I would advise doing more research to decide if you should incorporate dynamic stretches into your warm up.

Personally, I evade both dynamic and static stretching and just do something that warms up my body. This extends to light work outs such as jogging at a medium pace, some basic Parkour and free running moves, or other exercises that get my body doing some light movement. Since I've stopped, my body no longer feels sore after exercising and I have not seen myself become any less flexible.

For more information on stretching I would recommend reading these articles:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/03/reasons-not-to-stretch/
http://sock-doc.com/2011/04/stop-stretching/
http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/04/19/pre-workout-stretching.aspx
« Last Edit: December 02, 2013, 08:58:23 AM by Russell Wilkie »

Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: looking for a good schedule
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2013, 11:29:18 AM »
This is the exact reason I said not to worry about it until everything else is worked out :P. Trying to avoid causing paralysis by analysis here.

Static stretching is fine after a workout as long as you don't go too far and you shouldn't hold it for very long. 30 seconds or even less is probably ideal. It doesn't technically weaken muscles it simply inhibits the stretch reflex and is thought to reduce power by something like <5% for only a few hours after. This is fine after a workout but a bad thing before it. The main argument against static stretching is that it lengthens your muscles to a point where they don't have strength which would cause instability which can lead to injury/weakness. That's why dynamic stretching and warming up are important. Also, isometric stretching (also called PNF or a variety of other names) allows you to strengthen the muscles in the extended range of motion which takes care of the instability problem.

There's no real argument against dynamic stretching as long as it's done properly. Some people are skeptical about the benefits of it but if nothing else it's good for a warm up and most people who do it seem to have better mobility.

To address the articles..the first one pretty much just says specifically static stretching reduces the force you can produce if done immediately before working out. That's why I said it's fine to do after.
The second article makes a similar argument but it's also talking about before exercising. He makes good points about muscle imbalances but that's an entirely different issue that's even more confusing to someone just getting started than stretching.
The third article says the exact same thing, but then talks about isometric stretching which is almost definitely a good idea for everyone if done right.

So basically dynamic stretching is good before exercise, keep that in your warm up. Static stretching is bad before but ok after a workout, just do not hold it for longer than 30 seconds and don't push too far into the stretch. Isometric stretching is great for increasing flexibility and probably the best option. It's almost the same as static but you actively engage the muscle you're stretching and keep it engaged for a few seconds and then try to lower a bit deeper if possible.

But again Lupus don't worry about all this very much for now. If you're not having any flexibility problems then take the general tips and get everything else sorted before looking into it too much. Unless mobility is a real problem it's not the most important thing to look into although it's good to know about.

Offline Lupus Potens

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Re: looking for a good schedule
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2013, 04:13:13 PM »
Yeah, I'm not focusing on conditioning much, I've barely had a problem yet. Isn't what he's doing dynamic stretching too? I forgot to mention but I do bodyweight squats too, I just don't like them because I don't seem to get any strength from them except for my knees, which really need it. I went to pistols instead, but my left knee could only handle three, so I wnet to regular squats. What can I do for wrist mobility, other than wrist circles? I also just started doing leg raises and butt scoots for core strength, but when does core strength help? I think laches, but I've never seen an instance where a lache is useful so I'm going to leave that out for now. Should I try striding before rail precisions too? I havent hit striding at all yet, and I really think I should. For my weight lifting on hard days:
5 sets of 10 raising 10lb on right, 5lb left arm. 5 sets of 10 wrist curls palm up both hands, 3 sets of 3lb palm facing down both hands(that's all my wrist joints can handle for now). Ive heard these are called butterfly lifts, I lift each arm from hanging at my waist to be level with my shoulder to the side with 5lb each side, 3 sets of 10. brain busters, 10lb 5 sets of 10 two handed. Then I lay on my back and raise a 15lb weight each hand(straight forward like you're punching someone), 3 sets of 10.
Light days I just do the palm curls(same), brain busters(3 sets), and just raising the dumbbell(3 sets). Ok, I've never had a flexibility problem so far, I'll just do some dynamic before. I'll do that. I usually hold for about 10 seconds anyway, I might drop it because it hasnt affected my movement at all

Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: looking for a good schedule
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2013, 09:12:59 PM »
If conditioning isn't your main goal you're probably fine doing it after skill training and if you only want to maintain/don't care about progressing fast you can just do it two days a week full body and have that much more energy for training.

Squats strengthen just about everything in your lower body and encourage good posture in both upper and lower body. Look into proper squat form and try to mimic it because it's not likely that your form is good especially if your knees hurt. They should never hurt. Honestly squatting, especially with weight, is practically a magic bullet for knee health if it's done right. It will make landings much less damaging and help with jumps too. It's just pretty hard to do right especially if you've been sitting most of your life.

For wrists read this article http://chrissalvato.com/2013/11/handstand-wrist-pain/ you can just skim parts since it's specifically directed to handbalancers but the routine is solid.

Core strength is useful for absolutely everything you do. Aside from posture and general well being it helps maintain good form in exercise and movement and protects your spine. It also gives you more control of a lot of things. Having abs doesn't matter but having a strong core is massively important.
Laches are useful if you're climbing trees or scaffolding and I've seen them effectively used in movement. The only examples off the top of my head are in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Saw_fykHb4 but I've seen others. It's a long video and I don't remember when they're used, but the entire thing is honestly so worth watching.

You can add strides but don't try them on rails yet. Find a precision you can do from a stand still and use that to learn to stride then increase difficulty as you go. Take it easy because the motion adds a whole new level of challenge. Just remember to jump up as well as out with these.

Feel free to add/drop dynamic stretches as long as you feel fine. As you get farther into things you might find some flexibility issues that need improvement but you can cross those bridges as you come to them.

Ok as for your actual workout I don't mean to be rude but you can pretty much scrap that entire thing. The dumbbell presses and wrist exercises are ok but the rest of the lifts aren't gonna help your parkour skills at all. If you want a decent routine pick 2 push exercises, 2 pull, plus legs. I don't know how strong you are right now but here are some options.
For push (and most everything) you only want to do pushups if you can do less than 20 of them. More than that is just endurance that you don't really need. If you can do more than 20 do dips and either archer pushups, pseudo planche pushups, or an against wall handstand pushup progression. Really any 2 of these will be fine.
For pull do pullups and rows for now. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYUxXMGVuuU is a row but try to use a bar if you can. Elevate your feet if these get easy. You can also dabble in levers but if this isn't your goal I really wouldn't bother and risk elbow injuries. You can also train muscle ups and climb ups feel free to experiment with that.
For legs you're already squatting so keep working on that form. You can also do assisted pistol squats (hold onto a door frame or sturdy pole or anything really) and focus on good form and stability. If you have access to weights I highly recommend weighted squats and deadlifts but if not do the squats or pistols and glute ham raises. This is a glute ham raise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCsyyC5E7M8 and you might have to be creative but there's bound to be somewhere you can do it. Personally I use the space under my bed and just stick pillows around my feet to make up for the extra space. You can also have someone hold your feet if possible.




Offline Lupus Potens

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Re: looking for a good schedule
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2013, 04:24:33 PM »
I don't know how good my form is, but I also have really bad knee joints anyways. They used to hurt just from running. Last week they hurt after 15, and then 27 the next day, so I think they're getting better.
I know laches are useful, I've just never seen a place I could use one anywhere I train.
For muscle ups once I get my chest over whatever I'm using, I put most of my weight on my left side untill I get a few inches up, is this bad? I won't work on pistols yet untill my knees handle squats better.

Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: looking for a good schedule
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2013, 07:20:04 PM »
If your knees are hurting from squats there's likely certain weaknesses and possibly mobility issues. I also have bad knees and a ton of trouble squatting with good form but I'll give you some ideas to help work on that.

First, take a video of yourself if you can. If you want to post it that's great and I'll give you more specific advice but if not then just check your form yourself. If you do film do a few reps from the side and a few reps from the front. If you don't film try to do it in front of a mirror and see what's going on. For the side view you'll have to turn your head which might be weird but you should be fine as long as you don't just do it.
Next, try this position http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBQ4Aj9ValM and see how deep you can get. It's ok if your posture goes to crap (it very likely will) as long as you don't let your knees collapse in and keep your heels on the ground.

I think the first thing you want to look for is what your knees do as you squat. If you knees collapse inward at all then you need to work on that. They should track over your feet and try not to let them go too far forward but they will a little bit.
If that's fine check your posture. Chest should be up and lower back completely straight. Doing this right should make your knees feel a little better.

How is your ankle mobility? When you squat do your ankles feel tight? Can your knee track forward over your toes without your heel lifting up? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b5mlWFic1c try this test and see how you do.
If that isn't an issue you probably have tight hips or weak glutes and hamstrings. Maybe even all of those.
To fix that the lower body mobility routine and you can also try this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S-jHQjUPTg whatever you like best.
For glute and hamstring strength do the glute ham raises and also this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHtHrMlt_QY You can do that flat or on an incline or whatever. Make sure you really activate your glutes and squeeze them hard at the top. Do a lot of reps of this and when it gets too easy go to single leg.
These small corrections should help your squat quite a bit which will also make your landings so much safer and your knees feel a lot better.

For the muscle ups that's unfortunately really, really bad. Muscle ups put a lot of strain on the elbows and shifting weight onto one at the most stressful point is dangerous and can very easily lead to an injury. Also it promotes bad technique and doesn't allow you to do the transition properly and barely benefits the other side. Do muscle up negatives, high pullups, low dips, and good form climb ups and you'll get a solid muscle up pretty fast. Climb ups taught me muscle ups in a week or two when I was doing like 12 pullups 15 dips and had never come close before that. So I highly recommend them.

Offline Lupus Potens

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Re: looking for a good schedule
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2013, 12:39:03 PM »
I can't squat like that, it'll hurt my knees and ankles too much. I can't crouch down at all because of that.

I looked at my posture, and the only thing wrong was my chest went a little forward, but keeping it up hurt worse on my knee.

My ankles feel fine when I squat, and my right heel lifts up a tiny bit with better posture. I failed the test on both ankles, almost made it. Lower body mobility routine?

Ok, I won't touch muscle ups until my climbups are better and I'll try to be evenly sided.

Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: looking for a good schedule
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2013, 05:45:19 PM »
I think you should really see somebody about your knees if they bother you that much. Just so you know, squatting deep isn't worse for your knees than partial squats. Actually the opposite is true since less ROM means you only partially strengthen the muscles and that puts extra pressure on the joint.

Good posture should be easier on your joints, not worse. Your heel lifting up is probably poor ankle mobility. Make sure you keep it down as much as you can and work on that.

Give this a read http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/maxims_for_squatting_excellence and again if your knees are that bad you either have some serious mobility/strength work to do or you're doing something wrong without realizing. If you can't figure out something you're doing or did that could be causing this see if you can get it checked out.

Yeah focus as much as you can on even climb ups. If you can't pull it off just do high pull ups, low dips, and muscle up negatives.