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17 Aug 2022 World leisure: news, training & property
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01 Aug 2022

Gymbox and Parkour Generations join forces to harness trends towards true movement practices
BY Frances Marcellin

Parkour Generations and Gymbox have joined forces to provide parkour sessions in four London clubs

Parkour Generations and Gymbox have joined forces to provide parkour sessions in four London clubs
photo: Parkour Generations

Parkour Generations has joined forces with Gymbox to bring parkour into the UK’s mainstream fitness scene.

The 45- or 60-minute sessions will run across four of Gymbox’s London clubs, Ealing, Elephant & Castle, Victoria and Farringdon and will be led by Parkour Generations coaches, including Chris Keighley, Arturo Vigil Jimenez, Calvin Lok and Roberto Regueiro Santiago.

Gymbox members can join the classes for free. They will initially master the fundamental disciplines of free running and parkour movements inside the club, and then go on to train outside to overcome obstacles in open outdoor spaces.

“Gymbox’s vision and values align with Parkour Generations’ movement and philosophy, which teach people disciplines that will help them overcome physical obstacles and mental challenges,” said Boriss Visokoborskis, events manager at Gymbox.

“The classes are designed to give members something far greater than a challenging workout. They give participants the opportunity to learn the discipline of moving freely, over and through any terrain, using only the abilities of the body. Running, jumping, climbing and quadrupedal movement on gym floor and equipment will help gear up Gymbox members with all the skills to then apply in the great outdoors.”

Parkour Generations operates two models with its global roster of partners: direct coaching and Parkour Programs. The former – which is how the Gymbox tie-up works initially – brings Parkour Generations coaches on site. This option only really works if the partner is local. The latter sees Parkour Generations’ coaches train staff up so that they can lead the sessions themselves – Gymbox will evolve towards this model as the partnership progresses.

“Our classes at Gymbox involve a whole-body workout, utilising a combination of skill acquisition and general physical literacy development,” explained Dan Edwardes, CEO and founder of Parkour Generations, in an exclusive interview with HCM.

“A highly active, mobility-based warm-up gets things going and then each class focuses on one or two of our ‘family groups’ of movement for the main movement training element, followed by an intense ‘finisher’ activity utilising those same movement skills.

“We always end with active recovery, based on stretching, breathing and myofascial release to restore balance before participants head home. No two classes are ever the same – this forces variability and adaptation, which is the best way to train the body and mind.”

Edwardes says that the fitness industry is seeing a general evolution toward true movement practices and that any health club or gym can implement Parkour Generations’ parkour classes.

“It's an incredibly fun, efficient, and engaging way to get fit, healthy, agile, mobile, functionally strong, mentally resilient, creative and self-reliant,” he said. “As an added bonus, you also burn a huge number of calories doing parkour.

“It's not a gimmick or fad, it's based entirely on natural human motor patterns and helps people reach a level of movement capability they never thought possible. People are much better educated about health and longevity and they're seeking more sophisticated, more challenging and more engaging practices.

“Parkour is a huge part of that movement – no other discipline asks quite as much of you physically and psychologically and yet is simultaneously so naturally playful and child-like in its practice. In truth, it's the fact it builds on our innate desire to play and move that makes it so effective.”

Parkour Generations has rolled out Parkour programmes across many territories in the past, including the USA and Asia. The organisation – which Edwardes has self-funded throughout – has five international branches and multiple facilities and academies all over the world from Brazil to the USA, South Korea and China.

“We've implemented the parkour programmes in individual clubs and independent boutique gyms, but very few large gym operators have the vision and, dare I say it, the guts to climb out of their existing paradigm and try something new,” said Edwardes.

“This partnership is a world first – a formal collaboration between a major health club operator and us, the world's largest parkour organisation, doesn't exist anywhere else,” he added.

“Gymbox is a fantastic partner, in that they ‘get it’. They're not afraid to try something new, to take that risk and introduce a different way of training to their members. Their attitude and philosophy resonate with our own, so we're very happy to work with them – and the real beneficiaries are their members, of course.”

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