best parkour gym

Best Parkour Gyms to Check Out

Parkour is the modern hybrid of all things obstacle, a kind of urban obstacle course that constantly changes. Making up the course is half the fun. If you've never heard of parkour you are probably from a generation when it didn't exist, because this sport is definitely a brand new tribute to the imagination of our increasingly urban species. When there's a sport, there's usually a gym or playground to support perfecting its techniques, and parkour is no different. If you are lucky enough to live in a city with one of the best parkour gyms, or any parkour gym, don't let your lack of parkour knowledge keep you from trying it out.

Best Parkour Gym FAQ

The halfway mark for parkour gyms has been reached in the United States, and twenty-six states in the US have at least one parkour gym. As usual, California leads the way, but a surprising number of parkour gyms are located in New Jersey, Oregon, and even Texas. You'll find their locations online and if you live in California or Colorado there is probably one close enough for a scouting trip. Around the world, France and England lead the way with some of the best parkour gyms.

parkour enthusiasts practicing at the best parkour gym

1. What Is a Parkour Gym?

The best comparison is the climbing gym or a gymnastics studio, because these gyms are dedicated to one sport, attempt to recreate outdoor conditions, but include enough variety in their equipment for peripheral sports (like trampolining or martial arts). The purpose is fitness, skill acquisition in classes, and camaraderie. These gyms are typically entirely indoors with spacious obstacles that include railings, structures, and walls. Most operate with memberships and day passes. Some gyms do combine indoors and outdoors and many instructors take the class outdoors to sharpen parkour skills.

2. What Does a Gym Accomplish That the Streets Don't?

In some ways, a parkour gym is an oxymoron. The sport is meant to happen outside with athletes creating courses on the spot on the city streets. The prime directive of parkour is spontaneity and adaptation. But the best parkour gyms, like the best climbing gyms, offer variable routes so multiple courses can be designed from the same obstacle structures. In addition, gyms move the whole class outside onto the streets when students are ready.

3. How Do You Train for Parkour?

Like any sport that requires balance, strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity, parkour training requires a routine. Athletes should have good endurance and be able to spring, so running or cycling that includes sprints can be a good basic training. But they also require strength and flexibility. Climbing, skateboarding, and running stairs are good ways to prepare for parkour and maintain muscle groups. Coordination is a key feature and the best parkour gyms stretch the coordination limits. Sports that require coordination and responsiveness like skiing, surfing, skating, snowboarding, and gymnastics are excellent preparation.

4. Where Can You Find Parkour Gyms?

These gyms are still somewhat rare, but unlike unicorns, they do exist. There are fewer than one hundred in the US and about twice as many in the rest of the world. As the sport grows, so will the number of gyms. If traveling to a big city, check out the parkour gyms and sign up for a class. The sport has as one of its main missions to reach out to new athletes and make parkour a sport anyone can try. If you can't find a gym in your area, check gymnastics and circus schools for similar training.

5. How Do I Get into This Sport?

Parkour is definitely a social sport since athletes compete against each other for the fastest times and the ability to negotiate difficult obstacles. Meet-ups are a good way to find other parkour athletes, as well as online parkour clubs and sites. Only one other person is needed, and you can make up your own routes. Parkour videos are a great way to get a feel for how parkour works, who does it, and where to create the best courses.

6. Are Parkour Gyms Expensive?

These gyms range from affordable (less than $20 for an introductory class) to an investment (close to a hundred for half-day gym use) so the sport isn't expensive to learn the basics or buying an annual gym membership. Parkour can be free if it's done outdoors only, but we recommend at least one class. Investing in a foundations class will also help you meet other parkour athletes. Alongside climbing gyms or dance training, parkour is comparable in price. Parkour requires space, equipment, and an urban environment so by its nature it's more expensive than a standard fitness gym.

How We Reviewed

We reviewed five of the best parkour gyms across the world. But your local gym may come close in some of these areas. We compared the pros and cons of each gym and also looked at the price.

a man practicing parkour moves

Photo Credit from Kids101

Overall Price Range of the Best Parkour Gyms

The cost of using a parkour gym varies with how it's utilized, whether one time or purchasing multiple visits or an annual membership. We list the price with each of these gyms, but because of the specialized nature of parkour gyms they run a little higher than climbing gyms and a one-time visit may cost at lower price. Classes cost extra and the best parkour gyms have a class for every skill level.

Steel City Parkour, Pittsburg, PA

A relatively new gym that focuses on instruction in the right environment.

Options

Steel City is an all-ages facility that offers classes for teens and adults. The best parkour gyms have classes, and Steel City offers plenty of instruction on basic and advanced techniques. Classes offer fitness training, and the instructors are experienced and knowledgeable in parkour technique. The gym has two warped walls, one angled wall, built obstacles, a foam pit, and a trampoline wall. There's also a tumble trampoline, spring wall, devil steps, and a fitness area.

Pros

  • Great for families
  • Mellow vibe is inviting for beginners
  • Range of skill classes
  • Fitness classes
  • Offers many free classes
  • Offers parties with food and drink

Cons

  • Not everyone wants to train with kids
Where to Learn More
SingleBound, London, England

This school is reaching its 15-year mark and is one of the oldest parkour training facilities around. This means it has expertise galore. SingleBound is more of an academy than facility as the site itself is spacious but more like a place to practice gymnastics than a dedicated parkour gym.

Options

SingleBound focuses on parkour, freerunning, and martial arts and supports a number of London-based clubs that practice each of these sports. This gym offers all the usual equipment but what sets it apart are indoor and outdoor classes for kids and teens. Adult classes are available and expose the new parkour initiate to basic preparation through fitness, balance, and practice outdoors. The strength here is the level of instruction and socializing.

Pros

  • Great variety of classes
  • Indoor facilities for basic training
  • Outdoor training in London
  • Affordable kids' classes

Cons

  • Difficult to see options
  • Facebook page defunct
  • Focus is on classes
Where to Learn More
Crosskour, Lomas Del Chamizal, Mexico

In Mexico, you can combine a tour of sprawling and cosmopolitan Mexico City with parkour and discover one of the best parkour gyms in the western hemisphere.

Options

Crosskour offers training in tricking, freerunning, and parkour in a spacious and upscale gym. It has warped walls, foam pits, plenty of horizontal space, sprung floors, and a generous use of built wooden obstacles and railings. This gym is new and lovingly maintained with a snack bar and decent restrooms. There is an indoor/outdoor space and classes are held in the facility called "The Movement Lab" or outdoors in great Mexico weather. This gym includes classes, some of which are free, and offers most of its services for teens and adults.

Pros

  • Plenty of obstacles in open gym
  • Good variety of classes
  • Mellow vibe
  • Family friendly
  • Great outdoor options
  • Large facility

Cons

  • Limited hours
  • Hard to find adult only space
  • Expensive
Where to Learn More
The Brooklyn Zoo, Brooklyn, New York

It's New York City, so you know the best in the world live and train there, but you might not have expected over 10,000 square feet of parkour playground.

Options

Classes are some of the best in the world here because the staff is highly experienced and credentialed. The variety of classes seem endless with aerial skills, break dance, trampoline, and contortion and handstands as just a few of the almost two dozen options. This huge facility offers memberships, day passes, and school trips. Don't miss this large and varied gym in the heart of New York City.

Facility

Located at the Brooklyn Zoo, this 10,000 square foot indoor facility covers two floors. It's available for school classes but the sheer vastness of its space means it rarely feels crowded. Much of the floor is spring carpeted.

Pros

  • Highly experienced staff
  • Huge variety of classes
  • Party friendly
  • Large, spacious facility

Cons

  • Loud
  • Pricey
Where to Learn More
American Parkour Academies, Washington, DC

This gym is one of many under the name "American Parkour Academies" and holds classes at this facility using the natural terrain of the District of Columbia. Students don't scale the Washington Monument or use the Lincoln Memorial for training, but this urban environment makes for a great training ground. This parkour gym was the first in the world and their facilities continue to expand.

Options

This gym focuses on outdoor classes but has an adequate indoor gym to support training. Classes lead all the way up to parkour instructor certification and are open to kids, teens, and adults. The gym itself isn't large but provides enough space to train indoors when necessary. This gym has mastered the art of on-the-spot outdoor parkour training and is true to parkour's outdoor routes.

Facility

Located at the Brooklyn Zoo, this 10,000 square foot indoor facility covers two floors. It's available for school classes but the sheer vastness of its space means it rarely feels crowded. Much of the floor is spring carpeted.

Pros

  • Experienced instructors
  • Plenty of beginner classes
  • Great for newbies and experienced level athletes
  • Great outdoor courses
  • Plenty of class variety
  • Affordable instruction

Cons

  • Indoor gym is basic
  • Locations for indoor gyms vary
Where to Learn More

The Verdict

We reviewed five parkour gyms from around the world. Parkour began in France but in the US gyms are sprouting like mushrooms and there are programs in most big cities. Because parkour is a new sport, the newer gyms have an edge. New gyms like Steel City offer plenty of space, sprung floors throughout, and make sure that group rates are affordable. After comparing five of the world's best parkour facilities, we like Steel City the best for space, price, and variety of classes. It's a little more affordable than some of its competitors, and it's the best bet for beginner and intermediate level parkour athletes.

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