Athlepedia, The Athletics Wiki

Desent is the UK version of ptossing. Desent is exactly the same except for variations in terminology, which came about due to the alternative meanings attached to the terms "tossing" and "tosser." The UK terminology was created by Aaron Bennett, and is more of a tribute to Parkour than the Ptossing terminology.

Desent is a game or fitness method which utilizes the method of perpetual motion training, and combines bodyweight exercises as resistance with varied-intensity cardio as a non-traditional form of intense outdoor exercise. It was inspired by the art of displacement (parkour, see Differences below), and like Parkour, Desent utilizes the environment as a tool of implementing the exercises; the driving force behind Desent is to enable anyone to achieve high levels of fitness at any time of day from any location.

While many people can say they have "done something like this" before, it is the 5 Laws of Desent that give Desent a unique set of specific parameters that separates it from everything else. The concept itself is not new (continually moving, physical activity outside, etc.), however, the rules of the game make it a unique activity.

Ptossing and Desent are sometimes also abbreviated as PT/D, as Parkour and Free Running are sometimes abbreviated as PK and FR or PK/FR.


The primary focus of Desent is perpetual motion, meaning there is no resting during a Dtour, and "self as resistance", meaning one must only use their bodyweight as resistance. Instead of resting, a Desentir will resume jogging or running in between reps, sets, circuits, or rounds. The Desentir utilizes a slower jog to "rest" and resumes a more moderate-vigorous pace when ready, always striving to push their physical boundaries however, going at a pace "just above" what is comfortable during "rest" periods. Desent relies upon 5 Fundamental Laws:

  • The First Law of Desent: You must be in a perpetual state of motion.
  • The Second Law of Desent: You must always travel a new path.
  • The Third Law of Desent: You must be outdoors.
  • The Fourth Law of Desent: Your body must provide the resistance for every exercise.
  • The Fifth Law of Desent: You must sprint every hill.

(detailed description of these laws)

The method was developed due to an ostensible lack of truly functional fitness in most programs. Desent aims to bring individuals back to a level of fitness that enables them to manipulate their bodies without restraint (any limitation on their ability to move should not be due to a lack of physical ability), accomplish more movement in less time (burn more calories), introduce an even greater level of randomness to every workout to prevent plateauing and monotony (muscle confusion, adventure), be affordable to everyone (100% free of charge, available anywhere, any time of day), take advantage of the environment (experience nature and fresh air, the spontaneous and unpredictable nature of an ever-changing environment), develop every component of fitness, and present it all in a fun and exciting manner. Desent is also excellent because it can be incorporated seamless with other outdoor activities or resistance exercise (see bracketing and tacking).


Desent is relatively straightforward. One begins with a warmup, followed by the Dtour. A Dtour is simply a random run outdoors at varying paces with bodyweight exercises mixed in, where movement is constant throughout. The exercises included in a Dtour could be predetermined (Dtasks) or at random (Dstyling) or a combination of both.[1] The Dtour is complete when all Dtasks are fulfilled or, in the case of Dstyling, when a certain time limit or distance has been fulfilled. A Dtour concludes with a cooldown,[1] followed by either static stretching or PNF.

Example Dtour[]

A more experienced Desentir (one who could easily implement/incorporate exercises on the fly when an opportunity presented iteself) would begin with a warmup, and embarks on the Dtour. The Desentir varies paces between moderate, moderate-vigorous, and sprinting throughout the duration of the entire Dtour, making every effort to keep moving at a decent pace (sometimes a Desentir will seek to keep their heart rate elevated to a certain level). The Desentir will integrate bodyweight exercises into the run whenever a prime opportunity presents itself. Experienced Desentir will use more full-body and plyometric exercises, or they will complete standard bodyweight exercises in rapid succession to keep the heart rate going.

The Desentir will usually begin with a "predesignated list" of tasks (these are referred to as Dtasks) that are required for completion (see samples), and will include "freestyle techniques" into the Dtour whenever possible. In addition to predetermined Dtasks, one might also have to contend with a kink, which is a random parameter that is thrown into a run. An example of a kink might be a bird, so that every time a Desentir spotted a bird they would have to sprint or run as fast as they could maintain until they saw another bird. Another example might be that one must drop and perform 10 burpees upon sight of a taxicab. The kink itself could be anything; the default response to a kink is sprinting unless otherwise stated, and they are entirely optional.

Some Desentirs track and record the time it takes to complete all Dtasks, while others include specific predetermined distances as well.


In short: with parkour, the fundamentals include running, jumping, and climbing in order to build the fundamentals to improve the ability to pass over, under, around and through obstacles with more complex movements. So where a traceur might approach an obstacle with complete intentions of going over, under, around, or through it--to be free and clear of it--a Desentir will approach the same obstacle and utilize it to perform some exercise.

Desent is markedly different from freerunning and parkour, in that the focus is entirely on fitness, rather than the negotiation of obstacles by efficiency (parkour) or elegance (freerunning). In fact, the only similarity is in that in each activity, running is involved. With Desent, the goal is to maintain constant movement for purposes of elevating the heart rate, and the performance of advanced bodyweight techniques to develop high strength-mass ratio; the whole essence of Desent exists to offer participants a way of achieving elite fitness levels without needing extra equipment or funds.

One topic that has arisen is that of parkour or free running already existing as a mode of exercise. While it's true that parkour and free running stand as excellent methods of exercise, they don't help much when a person has no idea on how to execute the techniques. Desent allows anyone to train without needing knowledge on a particular art or its safety precautions. Another great thing about Desent is that it is entirely possible, even encouraged, for individuals to learn parkour and use it in conjunction with Desent, and while some traceurs already incorporate bodyweight training into their parkour, it is still possible to not be engaging in the act of Desent; it would simply be parkour with added exercises.


Parkour is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using movements (passements) such as jumps, drops, vaults, and rolls. It is meant to help one overcome obstacles, which can be anything in the surrounding environment—from branches and rocks to rails and concrete walls—and can be practised in both rural and urban areas. That is the primary goal, to negotiate obstacles using a set of specific, simple movements.

Desent does not seek efficient negotiation of obstacles as a primary goal; rather it seeks to utilize those obstacles over and over again to enhance one's fitness through bodyweight manipulation. Where a traceur (parkour practitioner) would vault a wall and roll upon landing on the other side, a Desentir would utilize that same wall for performing mantle shelves or other such exercises, only negotiating such obstacles in order to move on to the next exercise or resume running. The confusion about the difference between the two probably stems from the use of freestyling in Desentir. Freestyling, when used in the case of Desent (called Dstyling), means "reacting to an opportunity for exercise as its presented". Dstyling in Desent does not mean that one "jumps" over a ledge or vaults a car, although such actions would not be impermissible; an example of Dstyling would be spotting a tree branch and using it to do a set of burpees-to-pullups "on-the-fly". Other examples would be finding a ledge that "works perfectly" for box jumps, using a bench for dips, handstand walking up a set of stairs, mantle shelves on a high wall, climbing a pole or tree, or uses a fresh patch of grass for a series of sprawls or distance burpees. All said examples become "Dstyling" when the Desentir does them spontaneously.

Free Running[]

Free running is a physical art, in which participants (free runners) use the urban and rural areas to perform movements through its structures focused on freedom and beauty. It incorporates efficient movements from parkour, adds aesthetic vaults and other acrobatics, such as tricking and street stunts, creating an athletic and aesthetically pleasing way of moving.

Again, Desent does not seek this, only fitness. Desent is probably closer in essence to free running than to parkour, in that free running essentially means to "do it your own way" (see second Law of Desent). Free running is more acrobatic in nature, and Desent doesn't necessarily follow that way.

The Laws[]

There are 5 Laws that comprise the essence of Desent.

The 5 Fundamental Laws Description
I. You must be in a perpetual state of motion. There is never any resting. Instead of rest, a Desentir will resume jogging, and will use a lighter intensity as "rest" but never will a Desentir come to a stop. The goal with "resting" is to still remain at a pace "just above what's comfortable". So there are no breaks. Even in situations where one might normally stop, such as waiting for a traffic light to turn, one would still be in motion, perhaps using that opportunity to knock out a set of pushups or squat jumps.
II. You must always travel a new path. A Desentir must find a new route (called a Dtrak) for each Dtour. This is essential for development of reactionary skills and to keep every run unique. It also enables the Desentir to experience their local area on a higher level than might normally happen. Desent is not just about fitness, but also experience, adventure, and discovery.
III. You must be outdoors, regardless of weather, except when in transit. Desent is done solely outdoors. This is for several reasons, such as experiencing the environment, fresh air, and that it's completely free for anybody. A Desentir can be indoors during transit, for example when cutting through a building as a shortcut, in tunnels, etc.
IV. Your body must provide the resistance for every exercise. Manipulation of the body is key. This rule was created because many people in today's society can't perform a single pullup, have trouble sitting up out of bed; what would they do in a situation where they needed to move? There is no "weight lifting" in Desent except that of the body. It is permissible, however, to add weight with a vest or belt, but the primary resistance must still be the Desentir's body. One can also bracket or tack on weight training exercises.
V. You must sprint every hill. Sprinting is encouraged as much as possible, and each hill encountered must be sprinted. An extra recommendation to this is each set of stairs encountered should be utilized in some fashion, whether it be by running, jumping, handstand stair runs, or other.

The Name[]

The UK name for ptossing, Desent, came about because in the UK the word "tossing" usually refers to masturbation, and to call someone a "tosser" is considered an insult. The term desent is a nod to le method naturelle and "Le parcours du combattant" (which eventually got shortened and mashed into "Parkour"). Instead of parcours du combattant (assault course), the term Parcours de s'entrainer was used, which loosely translates to a journey of self training, literally course to train oneself. The middle part, "de-s'ent", was stripped out to become "desent".

In addition to this, several "extra" reasons were taken for this naming convention (which is credited to Aaron Bennett). Some of these include:

  1. Sounds like Descent, as in a 'descent' into a layer of hell (this also in attempt to tie into the Fatal Fitness naming conventions of "crypt, morgue and death certificates")
  2. Also sounds like Dissent : it's contrary to and disagrees with the usual conformity and structure of regular exercise regimes. "Everybody wants to be a bastard dissenter."
  3. Can be pronounced in a French way -> De-Sont

Because of the alternate naming convention, an alternate terminology was also created to support it.



An example of shelving, in this case, a ledge.

Desent Terminology[]

Terminology Description
Dtour one complete session of Desent (Tour, commonly used. Detour, fits with the second law.)
Desentir one who engages in Desent (De-sont-eer, french-style)
Deals bodyweight exercises used in a Desent
Dtask exercises, or tasks, that must be completed during a DTour
Dtrak the route one runs
Terra the environment and everything it contains which is used for exercise (like "Terror")
Dstyling incorporating exercises "on-the-fly" as opportunities present themselves during a Dtour
kink a random parameter thrown into some Dtour to enhance the experience or increase intensity
Tacking when exercise requiring weights is added (tacked) onto a Dtour, either at the beginning or at the end.
Bracketing when exercise requiring weights is thrust into the middle of a Dtour; the presses/lifts/etc. are essentially "bracketed" by two Dtours.

Types of Terra[]

Types of Pterrain/Terra Description
shelving platforms and ledges
inclines hills and stairs
expanse soft--grass, sand, etc. hard--concrete, asphalt, hard dirt (parking lots)
railage rails, bars, and poles (rails are lower height than you, bars are higher, poles are vertical)
jumpers anything that is used to jump over or that you jump up and touch, and gaps
walls any wall
dtransits anything that you "transit" (crawl under or pass through)
roughage indigenous plantlife (trees, etc.)
weavers things used to "weave" in and out of or for doing agility drills
dtrash terra that doesn’t fit into any of the other categories (cars)

Ptossing Terms[]

In the US, Desent is called by its original name of Ptossing and has its own unique terminology.

Terminology Description
ptoss run one complete session of ptossing
ptosser one who engages in ptossing
moves bodyweight exercises used in ptossing
ptask exercises, or tasks, that must be completed during a ptoss run
ptrack the route one runs
pterrain the environment and everything it contains which is used for exercise
freestyling incorporating exercises "on-the-fly" as opportunities present themselves during a ptoss run
kink a random parameter thrown into some ptoss runs to enhance the experience or increase intensity
ptacking when exercise requiring weights is added (ptacked) onto a ptoss run, either at the beginning or at the end.
bracketing when exercise requiring weights is thrust into the middle of a ptoss run; the presses/lifts/etc. are essentially "bracketed" by two ptoss runs.

Sample Dtours[]

It is recommended that Desentirs start out with a predesignated "plan" for any Dtour, as it takes time to develop a "Dstyle" technique, where one can implement new exercise ideas as opportunities present themselves. Below is an example of a predesigned Dtour.

"Glasgow Smile"

Warmup: Jog 5-10 mins, then 3x 50 situps/flutterkicks

-100 pullups
-100 pushups
-100 distance burpees
-25 sprawls
Cooldown, then PNF stretch

"Glasgow Smile" would be performed as written, beginning with a warmup. Following the warmup one would do the Dtour, making sure to incorporate each of those exercises into the run at some point, broken up into whatever chunks as necessary. When one has completed the requirements, a cooldown is performed, then PNF stretching. A kink is simply a random parameter thrown into the Dtour to enhance the experience and increase the intensity. In this instance, the color red is the kink, which would mean any time the Desentir saw the color red on the run, he would sprint or run at the fastest pace he could maintain until he saw the color red again. A kink can be just about anything.

Example of Bracketing or Tacking[]

Take the following DC for example:

Warmup 3 Rounds: 25 Situps & Flutterkicks
20 Seconds Squat Stretch
20 Toe-Hand Kicks

Then 7-6-5-4-3:
Romanian Dead Lift
Clean Pull
Front Squat
Snatch Hi Pull

Cooldown with 200 abs of choice.

One could easily bracket "Impala" within a Dtour. All that would need to be done is the warmup, then embark on the Dtour, completing about half of the required Dtasks (whatever they may be), ending up at the gym or a garage where the RDL, Clean Pull, FS, and Snatch Hi Pulls would be performed, then complete the remainder of the Dtour. One would finish with cooldown and abs. For tacking one would simply place the weighted exercise either at the beginning or the end of the Dtour, rather than in the middle. It is recommeded, however, that tacking be applied to the beginning of your workouts, as it is useless to train for strength if one is too tired to work with sufficient weight.

Example Exercises[]

Since a number of people many not be familiar with a vast array of bodyweight exercises, a short list is included here to demonstrate the variety that Desent could potentially present.

  • Bar/Tree Branch exercises - pullups, kickovers, hanging knee/leg raises, windshield wipers, dips, jumping pullups, muscle-ups
  • Ground-base exercises - pushups, divebombers, any abdominal exercise, squats, lunges, pistols
  • Plyometrics - burpees, squat jumps, touch-ups, box jumps, distance burpees/long jumps, depth jumps
  • Sprinting - suicides, shuttle run, stair sprints, hill sprints
  • Isometric - planks, L-sit (isometrics violates the first law of ptossing, therefore these are always done during warmup or cooldown)
  • Advanced Tricks - handstand pushups (no support), pistol jumps, muscle-ups instead of pullups, leaping over high objects, dragon flags, planche pushups, lever pullups

Check out the Master List for a complete list of exercises.

External Resources[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 various (n.d.). Ptossing. Athlepedia. Retrieved on 2008-09-23.