Bay Area Parkour

Train Hard - Stay Humble

Training Solo vs. Training with a Group -Which is better? How to train solo?

I find training solo to be hard, I often will go out and train alone, but be "tired" within a half hour.What I really need is just a one on one session with an experienced tracuer to start me off with solo training. Or any tracuer for that matter. Does any one else know what I'm talking about when I say, that training alone tires you out faster and makes you less eager? I want to know how solo training should be structured, how my mentality should be, when is it enough? And where? Should I cut off solo training period until I am properly expereinced enough? Give me some input guys, I'm really stumped on this one....

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Comment by SafeNSure on January 20, 2009 at 11:45am
The following conversation comes from another thread, but I thought it pertained to this discussion...

Comment by Mizu (gkdrummerboy) on January 18, 2009 at 8:31am
"I'm going to train independantly until I've made some progress before going to another sunday session."

Comment by Duperhero on January 18, 2009 at 10:31am
"training solo and training with a group allow you to learn and progress in more aspects than i could mention.
training just solo allows you to focus completely on your body movements and thoughts
training with group allow you to benefit from others' tips and advice.
i sux at communicating my point, but just train both with the group and solo instead of just solo. fa sho.

Comment by hillexallen 1 day ago
"Yeah, you don't need to progress by yourself so you can "show off your stuff" at the Sunday session. Just come out and learn! Hope to see you at the next one!"

Comment by SafeNSure 1 day ago
"...don't know that "show[ing] off [his] stuff" was in Gene's plans.
I agree with Jason that "training solo allows you to focus completely on your body movements and thoughts", I often take off by myself even at the group session... and then, typically, I involve someone else for "tips and advice"... in three hours there should be time for everything...

Comment by Mizu (gkdrummerboy) 1 hour ago
"@hillexallen. I'm training alone until I lose my dependency on group sessions, it's a matter of discipline, since everytime I come to Sunday's I end up watching other people half the time. I assure I'll be back though, I do miss the sessions already.And I've never trained alone really. I would say 10% of the time I have, but I want it to be the majority of the time, since that is when most progress is made in my opinion. I'll join you guys once I've gained a solid foundation of independence. Thanks for your concern you guys ^^. And showing off would violate the "stay humble" part of our PK motto now wouldn't it?"

Comment by Mizu (gkdrummerboy) 1 hour ago
"@SafeNSure. I think I'll consider that the next group session I attend. I'll break off by myself so I can have the best of both solo and group training. :)"
Comment by Philosofist on January 3, 2009 at 10:41am
You guys want to share some conditioning movements or exercises with me? Just to bring something I might not have tried.
Comment by Philosofist on January 3, 2009 at 10:39am
Thanks all you guys, I already started running miles, but I think Edgars lap running may be better, more consistent, and music is already a must when it comes to running. I have taken action, I adopted Blane's conditioning outline and created a structured conditioning, loosely structured as I take into account what Seng said about freedom. You guys can see it on my page, I think it will help you guys see if you are working on everyhtin you need to, just in case you missed anything. I plan to conditioning and train at Sloat, a more familiar place. I have trained alone in the past at the park near my house, usually way early in the morning like 5, doing suicides on the court and practicing movements, but I guess I could settle for a loose structure to keep me on track. I'll keep you guys updated on my solo training. Thanks for all the support, you guys are a great community. It would be nice to learn some tools to use on my own though.
Comment by Seng on January 2, 2009 at 4:57am
I trained alone tonight- not by design but because no one else showed up at Berkeley. That's okay, though, I always have things to work on and usually spend some time finding new spaces to play in. I trained for about an hour and got pretty tired and realized that maybe getting tired faster is a result of not taking as many breaks; when I train with others, there are always pauses to talk about technique but alone I have to force myself to stop after a certain number of reps. It's easy to get out of breath or feel arms getting heavy when repeating muscle ups so like Bonez wrote, I create some structure by planning how each set works on a specific aspect of a technique or rotating through a few different exercises, eg 5 cat leap/muscle ups, 25 box jumps, 10 pushups, rest, repeat. When I feel I need more rest, I try to stay active by using different muscle groups and letting the stuff I was working recover- so maybe do some slow buildering after working powerful jumps or climbing moves, or going for a moderate paced run without any obstacles or just walk along the edge of a step while taking a water break. Basically, I make very short groups of exercises- maybe around 5 minutes if done rapidly- and before you know it, an hour has passed and you're ready to sit down for a while.

The progression method is really the key to learning stuff on your own. If you're not familiar in person through how Chris teaches, watch the videos and learn to break moves into accomplishable steps. Not to open up a can of worms, but a lot of what I've heard people taking away from PKGen sessions is basic conditioning that is not parkour specific but may be a revelation for those without any structured physical training. If you want conditioning exercises that can apply to parkour, there are a number of people locally who can advise (feel free to ask me).

I spent the last half hour of training tonight in a new spot that I hadn't tried for a few months so basically I was seeing it with more developed parkourvision and abilities. It was good to allow myself some time to play around and be less structured because it kept things fresh and exercised my adaptability and creativity, two very important parkour skills.

Also, remember that stopping is important, too. Having a set number of reps works both to motivate yourself to complete it and to keep yourself from overdoing it.
Comment by hillexallen on January 1, 2009 at 7:44pm
Yeah, Bonez has some good ideas. I think if you make a routine, and make some progress, and maybe bring some music, solo training will become more fun.
Comment by Bonez415 on January 1, 2009 at 6:47pm
uhhh... hillexallen he is asking how to teach himself to train solo juss putting that out there... anyway... i think we are all forgetting a fundamental pk training strategy... we all have run through empty space... when i go out training i do a weekly schedule... ill go running 2 times a week in a park near my house... there i run around the soccer field three times... the first is just a run... the second is running and doing dive rolls to better my rolls... the third i do a certain vault over any obstacle... but i cannot do this with out my music... i know you love music to so maybe bring some music with you to forget that you are training and to motivate you to do better or to actually train... i realize this works for me and not for everyone but juss put it out there for you...
Comment by Kirill on January 1, 2009 at 12:44am
you will know a lot more about your body when you are left alone with it. At least attempt to train solo. Not much knowledge is required- dont push yourself, and take care of youe body!
Comment by hillexallen on December 31, 2008 at 5:49pm
I train alone 90% of the time. The trick is to learn how to teach yourself.
Comment by Philosofist on December 31, 2008 at 4:09pm
Good points from both of you guys. Right now it's the matter that I really really want to be able to train alone, but I feel like I haven't learned enough yet to take back to me, like how some people go and train with PK Generations to take back home with them. I guess I practice parkour because it is a metaphor for who I am. Not really to become strong mentally and physically, but more like having an art that accurately reverse personifies me.
Comment by Seng on December 27, 2008 at 12:17pm
I think everyone has to figure out their balance of group versus solo or small group (2-4 people) training. It's good to meet with others to keep up motivation and spirit and also draw inspiration and learning from others, but I think fundamental improvements are usually achieved when practicing alone.

I actually enjoy training alone probably more than training with others because at my current skill level I feel like I have a lot of homework to do before I'm really presentable. I know that when we get together and jam it's not about showing off, but I accept the method my formal music background has ingrained in me that I have to have a certain facility on my instrument (ie body) before I play with others. When I practice alone, I can really focus on my technique and dial in small details without feeling like I'm slowing down training partners or otherwise getting in the way of someone else's training. I can stay in one area and practice the same movement 10,25,50,100+ times and be okay with that selfiishness. I like to build muscle memory through repetition and it feels rewarding to see improvement that way, however small, over the course of session.

One difficulty I have with training alone is that initial motivation to do odd movements in a non-dedicated space. It can certainly make one self-conscious to do a dynamic stretching routine on a building's steps and it certainl helps to have someone else along to get past this sometimes. I second Tempest's suggestion of a silent training partner for this reason, too (and because some of what we do does carry risk and it's good to have a partner for safety reasons). Finding a good training partner- one that probably has similar-enough temperament and training methods, possibly one with whom you can exchange tips and insights- is a huge benefit.

If you're not motivated to train alone, I think you have to ask yourself whether there's some other activity you should pursue instead. That's not to say you should give up parkour, but sometimes I benefit more from watching a movie with a friend than practicing parkour distracted- other times I benefit a lot more from focusing on training for 45minutes instead of thinking about it all night while trying to get work done.

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