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,
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.
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
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.
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.