URBAN JUNGLE GYM
Push past your comfort zone with a parkour workout featuring wall climbs and kong vaults
Monika Schnarre falls head over heels for parkour workout
Parkour was invented by the French, and its literal meaning is “the path” or “the way through.”
The foundation of this workout is the act of moving from point A to point B using the obstacles in your path.
Sounds like fun, right? I learned a basic repertoire of moves developed over the years, like the “tic-tac,” the “kong vault” and the “gap jump.”
These are the moves that make parkour recognizable to most people who see it, even if they don’t know what it’s called.
The studio I visited is the Monkey Vault. It’s a large space filled with a variety of obstacles to jump over, through or climb up.
It is the go-to place for stunt people and actors working on films in the city who need to train for their big action sequences.
My instructor and the owner of Monkey Vault, Dan Iaboni, looked at me like I was some kind of space alien when I said I had no idea what parkour was, but I’ve never really been that cool, so it didn’t bother me.
The workout was challenging in very different ways. It wasn’t a cardio workout or weight training or anything like that.
It was more of an agility test. If you want to feel like a superhero, here’s your chance!
After some light stretching and running, we’re off! I’m ready to climb make-believe buildings and hurl myself through pretend windows.
I felt clumsy at first, but that’s nothing new to me. The basic routine consists of some warm-ups, learning the new skills, then putting those skills into practise on obstacle courses, followed by a cool-down period.
After a class, people usually hang out and work on their newly learned skills as well as the previous week’s challenges.
The mental aspect was probably the most challenging. Finding the confidence when you’re running up to a wall and jumping through a window was the hardest part for me.
I was certain that I would land splat on my face, but somehow I made it!
This was the most terrifying and, at the same time, exhilarating part of the experience.
Completing a challenge — when you didn’t think it was possible — was thrilling.
It was a fun reprieve from the daily gym routine. You leave without feeling like you’ve exercised, but don’t let that fool you — you’ll get home to find that your gym clothing did in fact get a workout.
My shoulders and upper arms felt it the most the following day. It must have been that two-storey Spider-Woman climb!