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5 Tips for Kong Gainer with Travis Verkaik

The kong gainer is one of those parkour skills that began as a cruel joke, some figment of the imagination. To perform a gainer from your hands after sprinting at a wall was a silly thing until it was unlocked for the world by the legendary Daniel Ilabaca. This quickly became one of the holy grails of parkour, only performed by those at the highest tier of fitness and fearlessness. This has since changed, and kong gainers are more common and approachable than ever for the timid athlete. To that end, I reached out to the parkourist whose kong gainer needs no introduction, claiming two separate world’s firsts in the realm of the kong gainer, Lord Travis Verky. Who brings you 5 tips on this iconic skill. 

We at Motus recommend practicing into a pit, or at least onto crash mats when first learning the kong gainer. 



1. Experiment with your speed-

It’s important to find the right middle ground of speed. If you go too fast, you’ll travel quite far past the block and rotate quite slow. If you run too slowly, you’ll stay too close to the object, and you risk clipping your head or feet. 



2. Consider the height of the object-

When you’re taking the kong gainer to different walls, you can’t treat it the same every time. On a lower wall, you’re going to want to travel more slowly in your run up, to help with your blocking angle on a lower surface. On a higher wall, you want to travel faster in your run up so that you can jump higher, and again, get a proper blocking angle off of the wall. When you’re just learning, I recommend a wall around hip height. 



3. Dip your head before you reach-

As you get near enough to the wall to make contact, you want to lower your body so your eyes are more or less at the height of the wall. This allows you to get momentum upward and over the wall, and helps prevent you from clipping.



4. The Drag-

The drag motion of your hands on the wall is what provides you momentum for the flip. The more powerfully you can do this, the more flip rotation you can create. You can mimic the drag motion with big kong precisions, palm flips, and castaways to get familiar with the motion of your hands dragging along the object, into your chest and pulling in your knees. For a really explosive drag motion, it helps to put your hands nearer to the front of the wall, rather than reaching all the way across the wall.



5. Head position-

This is arguably the most important part of the flip, keeping your chin tucked in and your head looking between your legs for as long as possible. Having this head position will improve all of your back flips, but in terms of the kong gainer, it really increases height and flipping rotation, and keeps your head away from the wall. I see so many people with bad head position when they’re first learning, and I personally think that you should over-exaggerate the tucked head while you’re getting this skill down, because it will just make your kong gainers so much better. 



Let’s face it, Travis is a machine—built for indomitable athleticism and determination that borders on insanity. And the kong gainer relies heavily on that level of mental fortitude just to make it possible. But, the kong gainer doesn’t have to be this unattainable thing, in fact it’s very much attainable for anyone with the right state of mind. Put these tips to good use, and enjoy the process!