September 01, 2006
My last article described some of the techniques you can use to move up and over vertical objects you might encounter during a run. Now it's time to learn ways to make the most of these obstacles by incorporating objects at height into your run. The turn vault and cat leap are two climbing-based movements that use (and thus develop) the absorptive strength and explosive power of your upper body.
There are two very distinct situations where the ability to smoothly incorporate the turn vault is absolutely essential: when you are approaching a vault without knowing what might lie on the opposite side and you require a transition before the drop, and a situation where you know what lies on the other side but the drop is larger than you wish to take all at once. In the latter example, you can break up the total momentum and put your center of mass closer to the ground before dropping to decrease the total impact, a skill that is useful if you wish to extend your Parkour experience beyond the first few months of motivated, if not totally misdirected, training.
The turn vault essentially starts as a regular two-handed vault (see CrossFit Journal, issue 45). Jump while elevating your hips and legs with the power of your arms and core, tucking your knees toward your chest to minimize leverage at the point of contact with the surface. Where the turn vault departs from the regular two-handed vault is the point where your hips pass the plane of the obstacle.