What is Tricking?
Tricking is the colloquial and shortened term for an underground sport formerly known as "extreme martial arts tricks". It is a freestyle sport that focuses on aesthetic movements of the human body, drawing inspiration from a variety of martial arts (such as tae kwon do, wu shu, and capoeira), gymnastics, and dance. It is hugely popular on the internet with its own unique subculture. However, it is also finding its way into mainstream media, with tricksters performing on TV shows such as "Australia's Got Talent", while more and more tricks are finding their way into action films. Trying to describe tricking in text does not do the sport any justice. Go onto Youtube and search for tricking to get a feel of what it is.
Benefits of Tricking
A very interesting trait about the common trickster is that they also have a very similar mindset to bodybuilders. Although the majority of bodybuilders may not know what tricking is, almost all tricksters are familiar with bodybuilding and a significant portion of them also participate in weight training. The reason for this is simple, to do the best tricks you need a lot of strength and power. Conversely, practicing tricking also improves flexibility and explosive power, which is beneficial for bodybuilding. The perfect example of how well tricking and bodybuilding mesh is professional Canadian bodybuilder Antoine Vaillant. Not only is Antoine a successful bodybuilder, he is also extremely well known in the tricking community. Another interesting phenomenon is that almost all tricksters take up or continue bodybuilding/lifting well after they have retired from tricking.
With the amount of explosive power needed for tricking, it can be part of a successful bodybuilding routine. Depending on the particular set of movements, you can expect to be training your core, lats, glutes, shoulders, quads, calves, and even arms and chest. It is in this writer's opinion, that there are few body weight exercises that are more demanding on the abs than a well-executed backflip.
Negatives of Tricking
Although tricking is both enjoyable and addictive, it does have some potential downsides. The first thing that comes to mind is that because it involves a high degree of proprioception and acrobatics, it is a relatively high impact sport with higher potential for injury compared to traditional exercises such as running. The severity of possible injury increases with increasing skill and experience because the high tier tricks become increasingly difficult and require more speed and power.
Another potential downside is that it requires a relatively high degree of dedication. In bodybuilding you cannot expect to get huge after lifting the odd weight once a month, likewise, you cannot expect to progress quickly as a trickster by practicing infrequently. However, if you have the time and discipline, it is more than possible to be able to perform these two activities at the same time. This is evident not only from Antoine Vaillant, but also a whole army of tricksters who also sport bodybuilder/fitness model-esque bodies.
Should I Take Up Tricking?
This really depends. First of all, short of injuring yourself, tricking will cause no detrimental effects to your physique or bodybuilding. In fact, it could be quite beneficial to add into your weekly routine. It is a good fun way to train, but it really isn't for everyone. My advice is to watch some videos and see if it's something you would like to be a part of. Before commencing, consult a health professional if you have any doubts, and remember to warm up properly before a training session.
Supplements for Tricking
The way you trick is heavily dependent on how you feel at the time. Every movement requires your all, so if you do not feel it, things look sloppy, slow, and powerless. Concentrated pre workout supplements are especially popular among the tricking community. The large amount of caffeine and other stimulants help you feel energised, focused, and a high level of intensity. In addition to this, post workout nutrition is just as important as with weight training. Consider a whey protein powder, combined with carbohydrates (eg. weight gainers) to help with recovery, muscle building, and to replace depleted glycogen. Finally, because tricking is an extremely high impact sport, consider a glucosamine/joint support supplement to protect knees and other joints from wear and tear.