It's not uncommon for people to get bored with their typical workout routines, and this can seriously impede their progress. If you've spent countless hours toiling away at the gym, you likely know how this feels.
Why not try something new? Tricking is a great way to stay fit, have fun, and even experience some personal growth.
Tricking and martial arts go hand-in-hand. It's like the perfect blend of martial arts and gymnastics, and it's been taking the fitness community by storm.
We're here to talk about how to learn tricking so you can start your own personal journey. Read on to learn more.
Why Should You Try Tricking?
If you already love other types of exercise, you might be wondering why you should add tricking to your schedule. What are the benefits of tricking anyway?
First and foremost, tricking is a lot of fun! If you've been feeling bored with your standard workout routine, tricking is a great way to get enthusiastic about exercise again. You're always doing something new, so it's far easier to stay engaged.
Tricking is also a great way to challenge yourself, even if you already feel fit and capable. It combines all elements of fitness. You'll be challenging your stamina, your strength, your endurance, your mobility, and more. Bonus: you're building functional strength when you're tricking, so you'll become more capable in your day-to-day life.
Tricking feels like "leveling up" a video game character, except you're the character! This means that it will activate your internal reward system, giving you a sweet dopamine rush and making you more motivated to continue learning.
What Are the Elements of Tricking?
Tricking can be broken down into several elements. These are like the skills for tricking.
Vertical kicking is the first one. While the name says "vertical," these kicks aren't straight up-and-own. They're on the vertical axis, but they include rotations and spins.
Any move that involves a flip is going to be a trick on the inverted axis. There's a lot of variety here. These tricks are difficult and require a lot of strength, but they're also really satisfying (and impressive) to complete.
Tricks on the horizontal axis tend to be more basic, but also safer and easier to start with. These include tricks like butterfly kicks and spyders.
Transitions are the moves that go between tricks. They keep your "flow" smooth and impressive. Doing one trick after another without transitions will look choppy.
Variations are when you take a base move and add something to it to make it more visually interesting or exciting.
Approaching Tricking as a Beginner
Consider your approach. While you can take on tricking in any way that feels good and comfortable for you, it's a good idea to make a plan ahead of time so you can decide on your training style and intensity.
Some people jump headfirst into tricking and start trying to learn some of the more "fun" and difficult tricks right away. These people tend to have a background in parkour, martial arts, or gymnastics, so they're more confident that they can complete these tricks without injury.
While that might seem exciting, there's nothing wrong with taking a slow and steady approach. This is safer and likely better for people who aren't at a peak level of fitness yet. You'll be working on the fundamentals and building strength, and you'll get to those tricks faster than you think.
There's no right or wrong answer here, and you may be somewhere in-between these two basic approaches.
How to Learn Tricking: Getting Started
So how do you even start?
Keep in mind that it's a good idea to find a basic tricking class or an instructor that you can meet with in person if you're able to do so. If not, consider taking another type of gymnastics or marital arts class so you can start getting a feel for the movements.
With that in mind, you can also start on your own as long as you're careful. Remember not to do anything too far out of your comfort zone right away, especially if you're starting from scratch.
Here are a few basic tips for starting tricking.
Don't Forget to Warm-Up and Stretch
As with any workout, warming up and stretching will make a huge difference. You'll perform better and avoid injuries.
Also, while tricking will challenge your flexibility, you may find yourself feeling stiff in other areas of your body after a session. A full post-workout stretch will prevent that from happening.
Warmups should include dynamic stretches while cooldowns should be static stretches. During your warmup, you can also do light cardio or basic bodyweight strength training.
Pick a Few Fun-Looking Tricks
When you first get started, you might feel overwhelmed at how many tricks are available to you! Don't try to do everything at once. Instead, pick a few tricks that interest you (and that seem within reach) and start training them.
You can find some great trick tutorials here that will get you started.
Look for Local Training Spots
So where are you going to train?
If you're lucky, there's an affordable nearby gymnastics gym that will have space for you to learn tricking. A martial arts gym, if they have open sessions, may also be an option.
If not, find an open space outdoors. The grass is soft and springy, making it great for tricking - and you'll have no shortage of space.
Start With Fundamentals
It's always important to train the fundamentals, even if you're aiming for more "impressive" tricks. You don't want to "level up" before you're ready. The fundamentals will help you build strength so moving on to the next tricks is safe (and easy!).
Hit the Gym
Hitting the gym between training sessions will help you get stronger faster. Remember that tricking involves all elements of fitness. If you combine your tricking sections with a strong gym routine (including strength training, cardio, and even yoga for balance and flexibility), you'll progress more quickly.
It's Time to Start Tricking
Tricking is a great way to exercise while having fun (and potentially even building a community). It's a fun and challenging way to stay fit, and some people even consider it a personal journey.
Now that you know how to learn to trick, it's time to get started.
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