Slackline Drills to Keep You In Shape
So you have your slackline, now what? Whether you’re an old school slacker or fresh to the slacklining world, training is good for the soul. There’s so much more than just getting on a slackline and walking back and forth. There’s style, technique, and of course lots of fun playing around! Training with different reps and long holds can help you develop your style, strengthen your technique and explore new possibilities while playing around.
Here’s a list of 5 training drills I put together, to mix it up next time you walk your line. Take an hour or so, and play around with these drills. If you can only do a few of these, it’s okay, remember it’s a practice. If at first you don’t succeed; try, try again! If you can already do all of these, remember, it’s a practice. Training is excellent conditioning for any skill level. It’s important to continue practicing foundational drills to advance your comfort on the line. A strong foundation allows for great heights to be achieved.
I will do my best to describe each of these drills in detail. I have included videos of each of these drills to offer visual and audio support to help learn and understand the technique. If you have any questions or want more of a challenge, please send me a comment.
1. Chongo Starts
A Chongo start can be done anywhere on the line. Often it is good to start at the end of the line near an anchor point. Especially if this is new for you! Being by the anchor point there is less movement in the line. To start, choose a foot and put it on the line heel touching, toes turned out 45 degrees from the line. Next, find a focus point or drishti at the opposite anchor point from which you are starting. With your body facing the long end of the line, put the opposite hand of whatever foot you choose, on the line (Palm touching, fingers turned same or opposite of your toes on the line.)
Here you can find a balance on the line, putting about 70% weight in the foot, and 30% weight in the hand. You use your other arm and leg as a counter balance. When that feels good and balanced, take your dangling leg and begin to bring it onto the line, foot facing forward. As your foot makes contact with the line, your hand touching the line lifts. You are replacing your hand with your foot! Now with both feet on the line, slowly and with control, stand up! That’s a Chongo start!
Pick an end of a line, close to an anchor point. Straddle the slackline so your back is facing the near anchor point. Begin to sit, placing your butt to the left or right of your tailbone. This may take some time to find that spot, just remember the slackline is not on your tailbone! Next, place a foot on the line, often the opposite foot of the butt-check your sitting on. You want your foot to be big toe facing the long end of the line, with the entire foot touching the line. Now bring that foot that’s on the line and your Thut (where your butt meets your thigh), as close as possible.
Find balance here, with the straight leg not touching the ground. Then bring your other foot in front of the one that’s on the line, and let your knees all wide. Find balance here! Finally, roll your upper body forward and through your wide knees and over your hips as you stand up. It’s one motion, forward and up. This is one of many variations of a sit start.
3. Sit-Start Sit Reps
Now knowing how to sit start, begin there. Get good and comfortable with rolling forward and standing up. Hold here, standing, with both feet on the line. Now slowly begin to reverse the process of rolling forward and standing, by bending the knees and keeping your center of weight forward as you get lower with your butt. When your butt is inches above the line you slowly begin to shift your center weight back to softly land sitting on the line. This requires a lot of core engagement. When you squat really low on the line, it can shake quite a bit! Remember to breath! Once you have landed safely, try again, sit-start, sit. Try reps. Start small with 3-5, then build to 10.
4. Squat Walks
Start by getting on the line close to an anchor point, both feet on the line. Find a focus point or drishti at the anchor point opposite of where you are starting. Once you find balance here, engage your core as you begin to bend at the knees. Continue bending at the knees bringing your butt as close to the line as you can without actually touching the line. It will help if you keep your weight slightly forward while squatting.
Through this process it is important to keep your arms up and out to maintain your balance, and remember to breath. Once you have gone as low as you can go, you will simply reverse the process by straightening your legs until you are in full standing position. Now it’s time to take a step, and do it again. You repeat this procedure again and again until you have made it across the line, or your body needs a break.
5. Double Foot Long Hold
Long holds are great training! For this long hold you want to pick a spot on the line, near the anchor point if this is new for you. Get yourself up and on the line finding balance with both feet on the line, toes touching the heel of your other foot. Find a drishti point and engage your core. You can have a slight bend in the knees, which can help for adjusting and maintaining control while on the line. Also use your arms to help steady yourself! Now start the timer!
I would recommend doing 15 seconds or 30 seconds to start. The goal is to stay on the line with both feet remaining in their original position! After you get comfortable with 15 or 30 seconds, begin to increase the time you stay on the line. Really, it becomes limitless and depends how long you want to push yourself! If you want to make it more challenging start closer to the middle of the line. In the middle there is going to be more ability for the line to move, making it much harder to maintain control.
I hope these drills and descriptions are helpful, and offer something to your practice. Remember to breath and celebrate each success, however big or small that success may be! Thank you kindly and enjoy!