Prior to the development of roads humans often had to move through complex environments, the challenge of simply getting from one place to another was substantial, there were creeks that had to be jumped or forded, ravines, cliffs, trees, the ground was slopped, muddy, rocky, covered in brush, boulder or fallen trees. Our bodies evolved under circumstances were these challenges had to be regularly overcome. Developing these capacities has always been a major part of play, children everywhere practicing sequences of running, jumping, climbing and swing, it is in fact a general pattern of play in primates, monkeys too will practice repeated sequences of runs, jumps, swings and climbs through their environments.
In the parkour world the desire to produce impressive stunt reels has lead to a focus on single movements or very short movement series. While working on your maximum capacity in single movements is valuable, the heart of locomotive practice lies in more extended flow sequences and improvisations. This increases the challenge tremendously of each individual movement and builds a broader capacity while connecting us to this universal primate play pattern.
One strategy we use in Evolve Move Play the 5×5 game somtimes modified to 3×5, I was introduced to this concept by Eric Roberts and Joey Adrian from the portland parkour scene and originally developed by the DAPP parkour group from spain.
The game is simple choose 5 different routes through your enviroment and repeat each one working refining each attempt to move both smoother and faster.
The original protocol focused on improvising the first of each run while we tend to use other drills for developing improvisation and use this one as a drill for developing flow and specific athletic attributes.
We always repeat one route that we have done in the past in order to track progress and continue to go deeper in refining the movement involved, while doing at least one that is a completely novel route.
Here is my second run through of todays new course.
The routes are usually between 10-30 seconds in length this allows good movement connections while still stressing the phosphagen and glycolytic energy systems. Much shorter then 10 seconds and you lose out on connections, much over 30 seconds and the fatigue builds to the point that it is harder to operate at high enough capacity for larger complex movements. Adapting this drill to develop capacity moving under more significant metabolic load is also a powerful stimulus but should be done only after the athlete is used to putting together good routes in this shorter time frames with full rest.
Your challenge today is to come up with 5 routes or movement sequences and repeat them 5 times take your 3 favorites write them down and revisit them in the future.
For inspiration check out one of best videos from DAPP group.