A slackline kit is a unique exercise equipment that can be used as a smarter, more effective way to train and develop balance. It’s not uncommon that many people use slacklines for this reason, but they are still rarely used in most sport and fitness circles.
I think there are two main reasons why training with a slackline kit has not fully caught on:
1. not having the proper space to set up and train with this type of equipment.
2. not being properly informed and underestimating the benefits of training on a slackline.
However because of the increasing popularity in the sport of Slacklining, a variety of easy-to-use slackline kits are hitting the market. Before I go into this training tool further, here’s a small bit of basic information about slacklining.
“In it’s simplest form, slacklining is the art and sport of walking on a piece of flat webbing strung between two anchor points, usually trees.”
Slacklining emerged from the sport of rock climbing as a side activity during a climbers downtime. In the early days of the sport, setting up a Slackline was not easy. Only those who had the knowledge and experience of rigging, like rock climbers, knew how to set them up.
Nowadays slackline kits have evolved into easy-to set-up systems. This has opened up possibilities for athletes involved in any specific sport or fitness activity to utilize and take advantage these apparatuses. Harry Cloudfoot is an example of a professional personal trainer who uses a slackline kit to train his clients.
A Better Way To Train For Balance
The balance tools used in most commercial gyms are mostly gimmicky gadgets, like those silly Bosu Balls. A slackline kit is a better way to train for balance than most of the junk that’s out there period. Unfortunately most commercial gyms cannot provide the space needed to use them. Although there are indoor slackline kits available like the one of the picture below.
The most common and convenient place to use a real slackline kit is in open outdoor areas like parks. However there are rock climbing and gymnastic facilities that can and do accommodate for these training tools.
1. Total body balance and awareness – Nothing engages your body’s balance more than slacklining. I don’t think there is a better piece of equipment that can train for balance.
2. Proprioception – Besides the obvious of better balance, slackline kits can help improve proprioception. Since the body instinctively realizes lack of balance while on a slackline, several parts of your of your body become more sensitive, activating dormant muscles to wake up to help keep the body from falling off the line.
3. Focus and concentration – Balancing your body on a 1 to 2 inch nylon line naturally locks in and develops mental focus. It becomes even more mentally challenging when you rise a slackline higher or walk it further or both. The mental aspect of Slacklining is an important and appealing part of the sport.
The are two minor but obvious concerns when it comes to Slackline kits.
1. Convenience and Space – If you do not have access to lots of free un-obstructive space to set up and properly use a slackline kit, it may not be a piece of training equipment worth investing in.
2. Safety – Setting up a Slackline kit is fairly easy, safe, and straight forward. However, failing to learn to properly set up a kit can seriously physically hurt you so be careful. Most Slackline kits have a ratchet system. Some have been known to make a popping sound when you’re disengaging the line, so you have to make sure you’re out of the way. Not a big deal but something to be aware of.
Slacklines come in two widths; one inch and two inch. There seems to be a minor debate as to what beginners should use. Two inch slacklines are easier for beginners to learn on since there is more space to place your feet on. They are also tighter in terms of feel when you’re on the line.
The one inch width is considered the standard size of a slackline. It’s usually a looser line and supposedly better for walking or static positions. However it’s debatable whether it’s harder than the 2 inch width. The two images of slackline kits that are below this article,seem to have gotten the best reviews within the slacklining community.
Best Products I Found
There are a handful of companies that produce slackline kits made to cater for individuals ranging from recreational, fitness enthusiast, to professional slackliners. However there are two companies that seem stand out from the rest for their better safety, high quality, easier-to-set-up-and-use designs - 1. Gibbon, 2. Maverick. Gibbons is based in the U.S. and Maverick in the UK. The price range of slackline kits range from 60 to 300 Dollars more or less.
A slackline kit is a unique exercise equipment that effectively challenges and benefits your balance, body awareness, and focus. I feel it’s a superior way to train for overall balance, than any other piece of equipment out there.You’ll need plenty space for sure, but if that’s not an issue, you’ll instantly realize how truly challenging, humbling and fun it is to train on one of these tools.
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