The weather is just right for playing outside—and that doesn’t apply only to the kids in your life. You, too, can relive your glory days on the playground with parkour, a relatively new from of training that was invented in France in the early 1990s. It’s known for ninja-like moves made famous in action flicks (picture Spiderman scaling walls) and daredevil YouTube clips. As you jump, crawl, and climb, propelling yourself from one point to another (and another and another), you build strength, balance, and agility and—bonus!—torch calories, too. “Because each session gets you moving in all directions, it works out your entire body,” says Alexa Marcigliano, a parkour instructor in New York City who created the novice-friendly routine that follows. For best results, complete the sequence three times each week. To add to the challenge over time, increase your speed and the height of your jumps.
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Move 1: Precision Jump
Targets: glutes, hamstrings, calves.
Stand with your knees slightly bent, feet shoulder-width apart, and heels slightly off the floor. Looking ahead, raise your arms to shoulder height.
(A) Then swing your arms back as you deepen the bend in your knees.
(B) Jump forward, pushing off the balls of your feet. Land softly on the balls of your feet with knees bent and arms in front of you. Continue jumping forward for 25 feet. Turn around and return to the starting point. Repeat the entire set.
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Move 2: Side Quadrupedal Movement
Targets: shoulders, arms, obliques, glutes.
(A) Lower into a squat with feet shoulder-width apart and hands on the floor in front of you off to the left.
(B) Without moving your hands, push off with your feet and jump to the left, landing with your right foot behind your left hand. Repeat in this way for 25 feet to the left, then switch the direction to the right until you reach the starting point. Do the set again.
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Move 3: Floor Kong
Targets: shoulders, arms, core, calves.
With feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and place your hands on the floor two feet in front of you. Keep your arms straight, but don’t lock your elbows.
(A) Without moving your hands, push off the balls of your feet and jump up and forward.
(B) Keep your feet together as you land softly just behind your hands. Place your hands on the floor two feet in front of you and continue jumping forward for 25 feet. Turn around and return to the starting point. Do the set again.
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Move 4: Quadrupedal Movement
Targets: shoulders, arms, core.
Start with your hands and feet on the floor.
(A) In one motion, move your left hand and your right foot six inches forward. Keep your shin parallel to the floor and stay on your toes. (Don’t let your knee hit the ground.)
(B) Without pausing, move your right hand and left foot six inches forward. Continue crawling forward for 25 feet. Crawl backward to the starting point. Do the set again.
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Move 5: Inchworm
Targets: shoulders, back, chest, core.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at your waist and place your fingertips in front of your feet.
(A) Walk your hands forward to reach a plank position.
(B) With your hands beneath your shoulders and your back straight, do a push-up. Now walk your feet to meet your hands. Continue inching forward in this way for 25 feet. Turn around and repeat the move until you get back to the starting point.