A plateau can be demotivating. Not only do you feel that you are not progressing towards your ultimate goal, but often it can make you feel in limbo – as though you are in a maze with no way out. This can lead to spiralling negativity, where not progressing breeds negativity and seemingly this negativity affects your performance.
The mindset that you have when you approach a goal whether in parkour/the gym/general life can have a strong influence on the outcome. This has been proven in many studies and is the premise behind the book “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Timothy Gallwey.
Below are several tips that you can use to help get you out of your physical/mental rut and back to performing at your best. Whilst this article uses parkour as the example, obviously the learnings can be applied to any discipline.
1. Be Positive.
Having a positive mindset is essential to overcoming a plateau. As already stated, allowing your negativity to spiral out of control will heavily impact your performance. If you question why you began parkour in the first place, or any sport for that matter, usually the answer will be for fun. However, as we get caught up in our training and we see others pushing boundaries, it is easy to lose sight of this simple reason. As soon as this happens, we feel lost, unmotivated and unsure as to why we too cannot achieve these feats. But, you may be asking, how can I be positive when I feel like this, which leads me nicely onto the other points.
2. Try something new.
“Errghh.. my cat pass is crap!”, “My jump won’t improve!!” How many times do you hear people saying things similar to this when you are out training? For me, it is frequently, and I myself still make these excuses from time to time. The solution: Try something new. When was the last time you did a muscle up / handstand / underbar / dive roll or even a lache? As parkour has progressed, many of these movements have been stripped away in favour of the “more efficient” movements. However, these movements still serve an extremely important purpose, improving your coordination, strength (both physical and mental), creativity and technique. All of this develops you as a person and can help you to overcome your original plateau.
3. Focus on flexibility/strength/ nutrition habits.
Have you ever thought that maybe you are stuck in a plateau because of one of the above? When was the last time you focused on your squat? When was the last time you fully stretched after parkour? Do you eat McDonalds or Turkey Stir-fry? Do you hydrate regularly? Whilst all these questions may sound insignificant on their own, accumulating them all will show you how many potential limiting factors there are which could be impacting your current progression path.
I have recently started foam rolling and stretching regularly, as poor flexibility/mobility can lead to increased chance of injury and also prevent your body from performing certain movements. Even if you are only a few kilos overweight, this could have an impact on your power, as well as your ability to control your movements. Focussing on other areas outside of parkour movement will help you to isolate and remove any factors that may be limiting your performance, and any plateau you originally had can soon be broken through.
4. Train alone.
What? Train alone? Who does that? Well here are some reasons why you should:
- You will stop comparing yourself to others.
- You can take your time on movements without people pestering you to move on. This will ease the pressure you may feel and allow you to go at your own pace.
- You can make a tit out of yourself without caring.
- Your creativity will go through the roof – Now that you are not watching what others are doing all the time and getting sucked into their training methods, you are free to explore your own body and come up with training routines that can’t be found in ‘mainstream’ parkour.
- Being alone can do wonders for developing your mental state. Think about it – how often are you truly alone in the day? Maybe once or twice? Use this time to learn more about yourself – you have all the time you want and there is no one there to judge you!
5. Take a break.
Take a break? Are you nuts? I’ve been putting all my effort into trying to improve and I’m still not progressing, and now you are asking me to take a break!?
Taking a break from parkour can help with:
- Recovery – If you are putting in all your effort and still not progressing, then maybe the solution is to put in less effort. Taking a break can help give your body time to recover, so that when you next confront your rut, you will be physically stronger.
- Visualisation – Taking time out to visualise your movement can help with the mental side of parkour. Positive mindset is essential, particularly in parkour. Use this time to imagine yourself succeeding and the emotions associated with that.
Above, I have outlined what I feel are some of the main methods of getting over a plateau. I am sure there are others but these have served me well in my own training.
Remember, as long as you don’t give up, plateaus are just a temporary halt in progression, though they are an important part of parkour nonetheless.
This post was written by my good friend Chris Lennard, check out his latest Parkour video here
He is very much into developing himself in all areas of his life and is gaining some great insights through learning and experiencing in his development.
Here is the link to my website for more articles on self-development, ideas to help you be your best self – http://georgehowardinspire.com/