Slacklining: Taking your First Steps on the Slackline

Slacklining: Taking your First Steps on the Slackline

Every day it’s a more frequent occurrence to find ourselves in parks and other spaces of the city with people practicing slackline.

Slackliners’ fascination with swinging on a piece of flat webbing takes them to a whole variety of levels while enjoying this versatile outdoor sport.

What is a Slackline?

The slackline, a piece flat webbing, is a balance sport that consists of walking on flat webbing anchored between two fixed points. Both the width and length of the webbing are variable, as well as its location with respect to the ground, depending on the experience of the performer.

What is a Slackline?

The webbing is tightened at the end level, with an elasticity that allows for stunts and slackline games.

No tool is used to help maintain balance, so when starting it’s quite common to keep falling over until we reach our goal.

Where did it originate?

It comes from the Yosemite Valley, United States, where it came about in the world of climbing.

Its creation is attributed to Jeff Ellington and Adam Grosowky, who, in the 80s, started including it in their training routine. They began by using loose chains and cables; and later began using their climbing ropes to walk on.

This practice was perfected to become a sport that has expanded worldwide, incorporating variants with the use of other implements.

What do you need to do slacklining?

It requires simple installation: there are only two anchoring elements, usually trees, and few implements.

The basic slackline kit features:

  • Resistant webbing, usually made of nylon or polyester; and
  • A ratchet for tightening.

What do you need to make slacklining?

It might include an auxiliary line with ratchet and tree protectors.

It is possible to make a homemade slackline yourself and start enjoying the benefits it can bring you.

Benefits of practicing slackline

Slacklining involves a mental and body work, which provides us with important health effects, among which we have:

Balance

Its continued practice improves balance, not only to advance in the discipline, but for any daily living activity.

Propioception

Walking on the unstable line continuously activates our proprioceptive system, allowing the body to respond quickly to avoid injuries, as well as increasing reflexes and strengthening joints.

Concentration

It requires maximum concentration to achieve body control.

Benefits of practicing slackline

Exercise helps us sharpen our ability to focus attention at every step.

Core and leg training

We improve the musculature of the lower body and help strengthen the core, whose main function is to maintain the stability of the body.

It’s important that you get to know the ways of practicing it, depending on the modality.

How to practice it

It’s an exercise that offers as many modalities and challenges you’re willing to face:

  • Trickline: The 5-centimetre-wide webbing is set tight, 1.20 metres from the ground, with a length between 16 and 20 metres to perform tricks and jumps.
  • Longline: Webbing with more than 30 metres in length and 2.5 centimetres in width is used. It consists of walking on the webbing with greater swing.
  • Highline: It runs on webbing 2.5 centimetres wide, located more than 20 metres from the ground. It’s advisable to wear a safety harness with a life belt attached to the flat webbing.
  • Rodeoline: The webbing is placed with little tension, so that it acquires the shape of a U. It consists of achieving the swing on it, standing, as if it were a swing.
  • Yoga Slackline: The goal is to stay on the webbing executing yoga positions.
  • Waterline: This time the webbing is installed on the water. Although it may seem easy, it’s not easy at all, because the water produces greater instability. It’s a lot of fun in the summer.
Here are some tips for you to start practicing slackline as soon as possible:

How to start practicing slackline

In principle, it’s suggested to use 5 centimetres wide webbing, with a length between 5 and 9 metres, placed at knee height. Make sure the ground is flat, to cushion in case of falling.

The anchor points must be resistant, choose trees with a diameter of about 25 centimetres.

Teightening the slackline

By adjusting the webbing, you can tailor the training to your performance.

When climbing on the webbing, you should apply the following recommendations:

  • Your gaze should be focused straight ahead, preferably at a fixed point for greater concentration.
  • It’s easier to stand on one foot than to place both feet on the line. Move forward by taking one step after another.
  • Keep your supporting foot and knee in line with your hip, pelvis and shoulders.

How to start practicing slackline

Position your arms in the shape of a cross and use them to help with the swing.

  • Start from one end of the rope, as it’s more unstable in the middle.
  • You can walk without shoes, but it’s better to wear flat rubber-soled shoes.
  • Don’t rush it, it’s important to find your balance.
Practicing this sport is motivating, because in a short time you’ll see how you progress.

How to make a slackline at home

From now on, you can start doing slackline at home. I’ll tell you how!

Obviously, you need to have a garden, and in it something you can use to hold each end of the rope.

First of all, make sure you have the necessary supplies:

  • One flat webbing of 15 metres or more for the main line.
  • Two pieces between 3 and 5 metres in length of webbing for the anchorages.
  • Five carabiners.
  • Two rugs or other tree protection material.

Once you’re ready, find a flat area and pick your anchors:

  1. Wrap a loop of webbing around the first anchor and connect a carabiner to the two ends.
  2. Repeat with the second anchor, using two carabiners.
  3. Connect the line to the first anchor, using the carabiner through the two end loops.
  4. Fix the line holder and carabiner 80% of the way to the second anchor.
  5. Structure a basic 4-carabiner pulley system to secure the line.
  6. Stretch the main webbing and test various levels of tensioning.

How to make a slackline at home?

On the other hand, if you don’t have a garden, you can always resort to acquiring a “ready-made slackline”, particularly if you’re thinking about indoor use.

Now you’re all set to get started! Did you like it? I’m looking forward to you getting started and letting us know about it!

Bibliography

  1. https://www.slackline.es/
  2. https://www.pasoclave.com/slackline-que-beneficios-como-empezar/
  3. “How to slackline” A comprehensive guide to rigging and walking techniques for tricklines, longlines, and highlines. Hayley Ashburn 2013.

Related Entries

  • What is Proprioception and how do you train it? We tell you in this link.
  • IF you want to find out about the importance of balance and coordination in sport, click here.
  • Avoid commiting these errors when training at home.
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About María José García
María José García
María José has been connected to sport throughout her whole life. She has competed in several sport disciplines such as skating, swimming or gymnastics since she was a little girl.
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