by Louise | August 5th, 2010 | Strength Training

Slacklining is all about balance. It’s not a sport in which you compete against others; it is all about personal improvement. A slackline is essentially a long and extremely narrow trampoline. It is fairly taut, but stills sags a fair amount when weight is applied. Most slacklines are created between two “anchors” (trees are commonly used), using three sections of one-inch nylon webbing. The two shorter sections are called “tree slings” and are tied firmly around the anchor, while a carabiner on both ends connects the central slackline between the anchors.

I am absolutely awful at slacklining. Granted, I have only tried it twice. For beginners, it might be useful to have some friends stand on either side of you, to keep you from falling off right away, but you should try not to become dependent on them, because that defeats the purpose. One of my friends, who actually used to slackline at a circus (while juggling and performing other tricks), provided a few tips: 1. The key is to not look down, but to look ahead at a fix point. 2. The stable stance is not with both feet on the rope; rather, with just one on the rope, and the other extended to adjust balance. 3. Movements must be carefully controlled, or they will cause you to lose balance. It’s all about balance.

Once you learn to walk on the line, you can start to learn tricks such as turning around  or walking with a partner on the line. But I’m telling you, it’s all much harder than it looks. The line moves and is thus harder to balance on than a rigid tight rope. Luckily, you can set up slacklines that are close to the ground. Some people set up slacklines over water, which is also known as waterlining. This provides a safe environment for practicing tricks.

I learned about slacklining while I was at the National Youth Science Camp. Slacklining is actually a growing sport, like broomball or ultimate Frisbee. It requires only a few durable materials, very little space, and a fair amount of time to practice.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.