Parkour Training vs CrossFit Training
Parkour and CrossFit have different goals, but both can be described as ‘functional’ fitness. For example, parkour training can involve jumping over obstacles and CrossFit training can involve lifting your own weight. These types of exercises prepare you for life outside a gym. Contrast this with bicep curls or bench-pressing: other than the gym, where would this be useful? Gym training is popular but doesn’t prepare muscles for any type of everyday strength or endurance the way parkour does. Sometimes parkour training isn’t possible or practical; CrossFit provides another alternative for building functional fitness.
‘CrossFit’ is an exercise program designed with function in mind, and it’s growing in popularity. CrossFit workouts take place indoors and use CrossFit equipment, but the philosophy of ‘functional’ fitness is there. CrossFit trains practical skills and can provide the camaraderie and ‘membership’ mentality that comes with a gym.
For those unfamiliar with CrossFit, a class takes place in a ‘box’ (a fancy word for a ‘gym’) and consists of multiple workout stations. Each station has a different exercise targeting different muscles, and classes consist of everyone starting at a different station, working their butts off, and changing stations when the time’s up. Everyone continues this timed rotation until the workout is complete. CrossFit has a reputation for being seriously butt-kicking, and can be scaled to accommodate an athlete’s range of experience. Everyone from senior citizen to triathlete can do CrossFit: the key is the intensity of the workout.
Where do parkour and CrossFit come together? Many of the same techniques in parkour (using your own body weight, practicing functional moves) overlap with CrossFit moves, and in fact some CrossFit gyms pair the two together to offer both CrossFit and parkour classes.
Arguably, CrossFit workouts can get you into shape a lot faster than parkour: the goal is to build strength and endurance, rather than move through your environment. CrossFit moves can help to build the required muscles for parkour. Strength built by practicing parkour can help CrossFit moves feel more natural, but conversely being an experienced traceur is unlikely to make you a god of beginner CrossFit workouts. Parkour is about moving through your environment efficiently and conquering urban obstacles. It’s about using both your mind and your athletic ability together to achieve efficient movement.
Parkour and CrossFit may share some similarities, but their goals are very different. They both support functional fitness and are relatively new forms of training. There are many reasons why you might choose one over the other, but they are both pieces of the fitness puzzle. There may not be room for both parkour and CrossFit in your regular training, but there’s probably at least some room to try it out and see what it’s like.