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Chris Salvato 04-22-2008 10:33 PM

Parkour and CrossFit
Hailllll Crossfitters.....

I am an avid member of a few different parkour communities and, whether or not you know anything about the sport, i feel that you may have some strong opinions on this...

Here is a link to a thread about CrossFit and its influence on parkour.

The parkour community on this site, for some reason, believes that CrossFit will kill the spirit of parkour, because, and I quote:


The idea of being useful, of reclaiming human movement, of reclaiming the urban environment, and of every minutia of Parkour's philosophy and Parkour's spirit.. will die with CrossFit.
I found this alarming. Parkour practitioners, called Traceurs, from this site, believe that CrossFit does not have the goals of being useful, reclaiming human movement or reclaiming the urban environment.

Anyone who is a real crossfit aficionado would have their jaw hit the floor if they knew that people honestly thought that CrossFit did not have these very goals.

Here is another alarming quote:


In addition to this, the manner of conditioning that occurs in Parkour lacks in human movement. While CF strives to avoid isolation, it also lacks the dynamism of conventional "Parkour" conditioning (not that there is necessarily a tradition there). X reps of Y sets is a methodology that was sought to be eliminated by Parkour... And CrossFit, as well, because it didn't serve as being functional. However, what resulted was that CrossFit kept this manner of counting and measuring, and simply combined multiple exercises together to avoid "isolation." In the end, what you have is a series of full-bodied exercises that link togetehr chains of muscles, yet still lacks the dynamic quality of pure human movement. The numbers game is effective and useful, but only so far. Movement is what matters, and while I'm not suggesting that we all go out and practice Parkour every day (thus damaging our bodies in the long run), but find ways of conditioning that are made up of movement and continually asks the brain and the body to work together to navigate different terrain in different manners. But even when CrossFit assimilates this methodology, as well, it will still forego the mental aspects of Parkour in favour of being purely minded upon fitness.
This poster seems to think that we are simply doing multiple exercises in our circuits just to avoid isolation.....never mind the effects of increasing VO2 max, increasing lactate threshold, increasing focus and concentration and increasing muscular endurance.

I would appreciate anyone who helps me out in educating these Traceurs on the true nature of CrossFit. I think it will really help both communities.

Jack Westman 04-23-2008 01:34 AM

Re: Parkour and CrossFit
Interesting article, thanks for the link Chris.
It seems as if the posters don't really have an idea of what Crossfit is trying to achieve. They should probably try Crossfit for a bit and see what they think then.
Since I Crossfit but don't do Parkour I'm not really qualified to compare the two.

I think the best person to answer the posters would be Jesse Woody from
He is both a Crossfitter and a Traceur.

Whether or not they Crossfit, most of the Traceurs I've seen are in tremendous shape and I respect their dedication.

Reading more of the post(but not yet all) I am struck by how civil the posters are for the most part. It's reminds me of these boards where we can discuss and disagree and remain civil.

Are you by chance Phreaknite, Chris? If so you brought up some good points.

Zachary Cohn 04-23-2008 06:21 AM

Re: Parkour and CrossFit
He is. (Haha! I have unmasked your secret identity! I'm like that guy in that Marvel comic world who wants to de-anonymize superheroes! Bwahahahaha)


I agree with some of their points, but mostly the parts about CF instructors trying to teach Parkour. I think CFers have a good head start on the fitness aspect (obviously.. :p), but I'm wary of offering Parkour classes without someone who has been doing Parkour for quite a while teaching.

That's my only real concern. The other concerns that the original poster raises about Crossfit I feel are the results of misunderstanding. If Parkour was relagated to being taught only in Crossfit gyms, taught by Crossfit instructors and not tracuers, then MAYBE. But that's not going to happen, and Parkour doesn't have a monopoly on the movements in Parkour - which is the beauty of the whole thing. It's all just movement.

Steven Low 04-23-2008 07:47 AM

Re: Parkour and CrossFit
1. So you have to do the movements to get better at moving (aka skill work)?


2. So you have to ONLY do the movements to get better at physical abilities/fitness (power/strength/conditioning)?

Debatable.. but I disagree. From what I've seen direct work strength and conditioning for gymnastics/martial arts/etc. has considerable carryover to Parkour. And this is not even about movement-wise which it has carryover but in all ways. Similar methods such as CF also have very good carryover.

Anyway, whatever.

Tim Luby 04-23-2008 07:58 AM

Re: Parkour and CrossFit
Honestly, the guy isn't off base. Crossfit and parkour are so very different--why try to make a parallel connection between the two?

Just seems to me that any time someone appears to rip crossfit, everyone has to get so defensive. Step back and try to take in what these people are actually saying. You may find that it actually makes sense.

Anthony Bainbridge 04-23-2008 08:53 AM

Re: Parkour and CrossFit
I think we should be more concerned that traceurs like Animus are going to ravage the CF community and turn us into a bunch of hippies.

Rafe Kelley 04-23-2008 01:04 PM

Re: Parkour and CrossFit
I talk to andy/animus pretty regularly and allot of other guys who have something against crossfit and there reasons never really make sense to me I keep looking at the post and thinking I should respond to it but its just such bizarre way of looking at things such a reach, wanting to see problem, that it is hard for me to summon the energy to rebut it. I have dissagrements with the crossfit method, I don't think parkour and crossfit are one and the same of course, but are the useful to each other yes. Is crossfit a huge step in the right direction for most traceurs who are in absolutely poor physical condition absolutely. Is parkour a logical skill work domain that any true crossfitter should explore absolutely. I really don't see were the conflict is. I think people are just afraid of the crossfit phenomenon for some reason and also associate with people the don't like Mark and Jesse no offense to mark or jesse.

Should crossfit coaches teach parkour without an extensive background in the sport now. But likewise should inexperienced traceurs with not physical fitness training background reject crossfit I think that is nonsense to.

David Wood 04-23-2008 05:42 PM

Re: Parkour and CrossFit
One thing we've learned (sort of the hard, painful way) is that threads that start out with "Look! someone is bad-mouthing CrossFit on another site!" seldom lead to anything really productive.

There will always be folks who misunderstand stuff. Sometimes this seems to be so blazingly "wrong" that the misunderstanding must be deliberate. We can't help that.

If other folks want to respond over there (on the discussion board where the original misunderstanding occurred), fire away, as politely and thoughtfully as you can. (Just don't expect to change much.)

Mark Toorock 04-30-2008 07:46 PM

Re: Parkour and CrossFit
I think one thing of interest (if anyone is interested in the "debate" based on misconception)- is revealed in their radio program, someone states that they will be making a training facility for Parkour "not with CrossFit", but goes on to say "we'll have Olympic weights, medicine balls and kettleballs (bells)"

Which to me just points out that there may be a sector of the Parkour community that has an incomplete or mis-understanding of CrossFit, or perhaps of CrossFit's role as a non-specific training modality which increases general fitness in a broad range of categories.

My personal opinion is that there is no aspect of fitness which will not aid Parkour training, and no aspect of fitness which is not aided reciprocally by Parkour training.

I feel that there will remain a gap, as it seems to me as though there is a lack of education as to what CrossFit actually is, and combined with a distaste for it for some reason, that gap will remain. (someone who doesn't like something isn't going to seek more education in it)

At Primal we successfully combine both forms of training with fantastic results for firefighters, military, and LEO professionals (as well as a full spectrum of "regular humans" :) ). We are extremely grateful to CrossFit for the information and modalities, and we continue to try to push the envelope with fun, innovative ways to expand on the theories that CrossFit and separately Parkour are founded upon.

There is a large part of the Parkour "community" (disjointed as it may be) that does see the value of CrossFit and does understand that training and conditioning are important to prepare the body for the rigors of Parkour practice. Jesse who is a certified level III trainer writes the WOD for both American Parkour and the Primal Fitness sites which have combined mailing lists for WOD's of over 1,500 people daily. These draw heavily on CrossFit methodologies (and directly from some of the workouts) often combined with movements thought to be "specific to" Parkour.

I think part of the problem (on both sides of the issue) is that people feel that "if it has a medicine ball or kettlebell it's CrossFit, and if you do a jump or vault it's Parkour" - these (and most other) movements exist in many other forms of exercise and practice outside of both CrossFit and Parkour training.

Christian Gotcher 04-30-2008 09:02 PM

Re: Parkour and CrossFit
"Still lacks the dynamic quality of pure human movement..."

I'm really curious as to how one defines 'pure human movement.' If I am a human, and I am efficiently moving from one place to another, that is pure human movement. Considering that with any Parkour training program, Parkour is often broken down to a few dozens leaps, rolls, and catches... I fail to see the difference between "Run through an obstacle course for time" and "Complete 100 pullups for time."

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