Michael "Frosti" Zernow might like life's obstacles more than most of us.
Zernow is a professional parkour athlete. Parkour, a discipline developed in France, involves smoothly navigating over and around obstacles like walls, stairs and trees with jumps, climbs and acrobat-like moves. Zernow makes it look effortless, but it takes practice and discipline if you don't want to crash, scrape your knees or find another cause to search for first aid. Once you've got the skills, parkour (also called free-running) is a blast, and you can do it almost anywhere.
Zernow, who lives in Santa Monica, has 10-plus years of experience and makes every move look easy.
But some moves can be tricky and require a level of athleticism. Classes are available at Tempest Freerunning Academy in Chatsworth, tempestacademy.com.
This safety vault, Zernow says, is "the first vault I would teach anybody."
What it does
It's a powerful all-body exercise. And it's one of the things you absolutely need to be able to do if you want to get good at parkour.
How to do it
Find a wall about waist height, get a running start, then vault over it. For the safety vault, stay in contact with the wall at all times, using one hand, two hands, a foot — whatever it takes — to control yourself as you get over.
As your confidence develops, try to string as many as 10 vaults in a row. "Once you feel really good, see if you can stay moving for 30 seconds — then you're training just like the pros," Zernow says.