Slacklining is an advanced neuromechanical balance activity that involves exercising (usually standing and walking) and balancing on a tightened belt (such as webbing stretched between two points). Whole-body dynamics drive responses to changes in the external environment and Individuals formulate responses based on motor learning processes. Studies have shown that these balancing activities can form part of lower extremity injury rehabilitation and are particularly effective in developing balanced core strength and quadriceps recruitment .
1 minute 44 seconds below. The video gives the basics.
Slacklining is associated with expected improvements in pre-rehabilitation and skill-based athletic achievement.
The coping strategies that arise when wearing slacks apply to people who are deficient in four domains:
- Neuromechanical requirements – integration of neurobiological biomechanical and sensory components;
- Balance – balance control regulates dynamic movement;
- Postural control – the position of the body in space;
- and muscular strength—particularly quadriceps gluteal and core strength production.
Wearing slacks significantly activates and recruits the quadriceps, which is spontaneous during perceived low-level exercise. This is especially important in outpatient settings and when the quadriceps is inhibited and requires activation .
An elastic band protocol of phases 1-5 and steps 1-20 (see protocol below) implemented in a multi-week individualized rehabilitation program has been shown to be an effective adjunct exercise to supplement recovery and facilitate recovery in specific sports[ 3].
Slacklining improves postural control and enhances functional knee stability, which results from enhanced rectus femoris preparatory muscle activation .
Functionally, the Hoffmann reflex is reduced by inhibiting uncontrollable reflex-mediated spontaneous downregulation of joint oscillations .
Example protocol for rehabilitation using slackling in Gabel & Mendoza 2013 
See case study
- Gabel, C. P., 2014, Slacklining: A Novel Exercise to Enhance Quadriceps Recruitment, Core Strength and Balance Control, Journal of Novel Physiotherapies 2014, 4:5 http://omicsgroup.org/journals/slacklining-a-novel-exercise-to-enhance-quadriceps-recruitment-core-strength-and-balance-control-2165-7025-229.php?aid=33632
- C.P. Gabel, J. Osborne, B. Burkett, 2015, The influence of ‘Slacklining’ on quadriceps rehabilitation, activation and intensity, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Jan;18(1):62-6
- Charles P. Gabel, Simon Mendoza, 2013, Slacklining for Lower Extremity Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention, IJATT Volume 18, Issue 4, July
- REI Slacklining basics Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gz3rbB3lCw [accessed 17.9.2021]
- Pfusterschmied J, Stöggl T, Buchecker M, Lindinger S, Wagner H, Müller E. Effects of 4-week slackline training on lower limb joint motion and muscle activation. J Sci Med Sport 2013;16:562-6.
- Keller et al, 2013, Improved postural control after slackline training is accompanied by reduced H-reflexes, Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2012 Aug;22(4):471-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21385217?dopt=Abstract