- 1 TIMOTHY 4:8

I approach the wall run like I approach the pole vault: momentum is the key! If you expend your energy building up speed on a long approach and stutter-step the last 2 steps to the wall, you have wasted the entire approach. The issue here is not speed as much as it is power. Learn to run powerfully, optimizing every step so that you need only 2 steps for a successful wall run. (Brian Orosco taught us this!) 

The best way to avoid stutter-stepping as you approach the wall is repetition. Practice your approach with a low wall, perhaps a suitable wall for a pop vault. That way, you can practice relaxed. If you attempt an 11' wall before you have a solid approach, you'll lose your momentum before you hit the wall because you'll lack confidence in your approach, ie. stutter-stepping. With much repetition, you will learn to half-step your stride without loss of speed several steps before the wall so that your last steps are strong. This will help you with every other parkour movement as well.

The alternative, and the goal, is to become completely comfortable with your take-off from either foot. Symmetry training is essential to parkour. If you can only take-off from your right foot, for example, then you will limit yourself with successive movements. Train both sides of your body.

Here's a demonstration of a wall run. The total height is 10 feet from street level. Several angles are used to show the technique.

First, notice the distance from final take-off step to the wall. I naturally take-off from my left foot as most right-handed pole vaulters do. My left foot is several feet from the wall, giving me too much distance to reach the wall. I must jump up and onto the wall. Therefore I must have enough speed to carry myself to the wall.

Second, notice the height of my left foot, the wall plant foot, approximately chest high. The purpose of this step is to redirect as much of my ground speed (horizontal momentum) into vertical speed (upward momentum). This plant leg is the hinge of the move. Again, by leaving more distance to the wall and jumping onto the wall, I can plant my right foot about 4 feet off the ground. Additional vertical momentum can be added here by pushing off the wall with this lead leg. 

Next, my left arm touches the wall to absorb any extra horizontal energy and keep my torso away from the wall. My right arm reaches as high as necessary for my right hand to grip the top of the wall. Immediately, I pull up to the top of the wall with his lead arm. The key at this stage is to add momentum to the movement by pulling before ground momentum is lost completely. 

Then, my left hand transfers to the top of the wall. Immediately, I pull with my left arm to add more momentum to the final stage of the climb. The arm pull is more about timing than strength. I pull myself into a dip position and begin pushing up.

Finally, the trail leg (my left leg) kicks back similar to a wrestler's "mule kick" as my arms push up and row my torso forward. This kip motion is the key to preserving momentum at the top of the run, and keeps the knees from touching the top of the wall. This brings the body back into running position quickly, and effortlessly when timed perfectly.

The key to taller runs is leaping onto the wall. In this video, the first three runs are 11' from street level. I was able to use my momentum from ground speed to get to the top of the wall and continue with an immediate pull.

The final five runs are 11'6" from street level. Four of these five runs required all my momentum in order to reach the top of the wall. I'm left dangling and must generate vertical movement from scratch. (It's all muscle at this point.) The same technique as before applies except this time I must get my feet "under" me to push up the wall. Once my waist reaches the top, I use the kip again to get my feet on top of the wall.


Urban Evolution - Salil Maniktahla, Owner
...specializing in Parkour/Free Running, UrbanFit, Aerial Acrobatics, Gymnastics, Break Dancing, and Capoeira
Primal Fitness - Mark Toorock, Owner
...specializing in Parkour/Free Running, CrossFit, and Gymnastics
American Parkour
...excellent tutorials and a huge forum of practitioners
Urban Freeflow
...videos of isolated moves and white papers on techniques