Let’s Start With the 6 Slackline Poses…
Then We’ll Get Into The Slackline Training Techniques!
So, before we build a slackline long hold sequence, we have to first start with the poses. Below is a list of 6 static poses for you to practice on the line. I want you to hold each pose for 1 minute–hence the name long holds. Even if you can’t hold these poses for that long right now, it’s okay. I’m going to walk you through a couple of slackline training techniques to build your long hold practice. First, here is a list of the poses.
Long Hold Poses
- Tree (left knee bent)
- Drop Knee
- Double Knee Exposure
- Exposure Stand
- Tree (right knee bent)
As I mentioned above, the goal is to be able to hold each of these poses for 1 minute. If that seems out of reach for you, it’s okay. You can customize the long hold sequence according to where you’re at in your practice, which I will explain later. Otherwise, you can play with a fun progression technique, that will build you up to a 1 minute long hold. It’s really quite simple. Time yourself to see how long you can hold a given pose. After you’re able to hold that pose for your maximum time, three times in a row, begin adding 5 seconds to your time as your new goal. Keep doing this, adding a mere 5 seconds to your goal, until you reach a full minute!
Training Method #1: How To Build Up Your Long Hold
- Max Time x 3 times
- Max Time + 5 seconds x 3 times
- New Max Time +5 seconds x 3 times
- …Adding 5 seconds each time until you can hold each pose for 1 minute
Once you can hold each of these poses for 1 minute, 3 times in a row, you’re ready to start piecing the poses together. The idea is to hold the first pose, Tree pose, for 1 minute. Then, without coming off the line transition to pose number two, Drop Knee and hold for 1 minute. Continue this pattern until you can hold all the poses in sequence, for 1 minute each. Thus creating a 6-minute slackline long hold sequence.
Work Both Sides…..
The fun thing about this sequence, is it’s designed to work both sides of your body. As you can see in the list of poses above, the flow begins and ends with Tree pose, however you begin and end on opposite legs. To work both sides of the body in this flow, start with Tree pose on your right leg. After you complete the flow, take a break, then redo the sequence starting in Tree pose on your left leg. Why work both sides? To build strong muscle memory equally throughout your body. This helps to create a balanced body. Which gives you more strength and energy to pull from in any given time of need.
I definitely recommend training both sides of the body in almost all exercises, with some exceptions, such as protecting an injury. If you can’t quite get through the whole flow, I have a few more training suggestions for you below. Some of the transitions from pose to pose are tricky, just remember to move slow and take deep breaths.
Training Method #2
I mentioned earlier holding a pose until your max time, then adding 5 seconds until you reached 1 minute. Now I would like to offer another training technique that may help increase your long hold times. Start with the first pose, Tree, and train it until you can hold it for 10 seconds 0n each leg. Then add 10 seconds to your time, then 20 seconds, then 30 seconds until you reach 1 minute. Do this with each pose in order, until you can hold each pose for a minute on each side. To be clear, there’s only 3 poses in this flow to train on both sides of the body -Tree, Drop Knee, and Pointer. This technique trains both sides at the same time and increases the goal time by 10 seconds instead of 5. It also has less repetitions than the prior technique.
- For 10 seconds – both sides
- Then 20 seconds – both sides
- Then 30 seconds – both sides
- ….Adding 10 seconds until you reach 1 minute with all poses on both sides of the body
Training Method #3
Another training option is to pick one pose and train it until you can hold it for one minute one each side. However long you choose to increase your training time is up to you. Once you can hold this pose for 1 minute on both sides 5 times in a row, move onto the next pose. When you can hold each pose for 1 minute on each side, 5 times in a row, it’s time to move to the 6 minute flow sequence. I have a video at the bottom of the page showing the whole flow in order. Don’t worry I only hold the poses for a few seconds before transitioning through, it just gives a quick visual aid.
- Pose 1 @ 1 minute on each side x 5
- Pose 2 @ 1 minute on each side x 5
- Then Pose 3 @ 1 minute each side x 5
- Until you complete each pose on each side for 1 minute x 5
Like I mentioned earlier in this blog you can customize the flow according to where you are in your practice. If you want, do the whole flow holding the poses for 15 seconds each. That is totally fine, customize away so that you are finding success in your practice. Then once you have success multiple times in a row, you can challenge yourself by increasing your long hold time.
The Benefits of Long Holds
There are many benefits to long holds, such as the increase of muscular strength and stamina. Long holds also help you to find that “zen balance” zone that you can relax into while on the slackline. They can increase your awareness of self strength, helping you gently push your boundaries, to discover new possibilities. Training both sides of the body in long hold exercises helps keep a evenly toned body. They also offer you increased mental stamina, pushing you to your limits and showing you just how strong your mind is.
All this being said, I wouldn’t recommend training long holds for more than 1 minute without a break or transition to another pose. During my studies I came across an article that had some interesting information. In short, it described studies that concluded long hold stretches done for more than 1 minute had negative effects on speed, strength, and power. (Please note this study was analyzing general athletic performance, and was not specific to slackline training.) Here’s the link–if you would like to explore this article further. Now onto the Slackline Long Hold Sequence…
The 6-minute Slackline Long Hold Sequence
This is just a quick visual aid for those who need it. I only spend a few seconds in each pose, I don’t want to bore you with 6 whole minutes of me doing long holds. I hope this sequence challenges you in all the ways it needs to, and that you find much success along your journey. Please send me videos or comments you may have, I love to share energy and thoughts with the balance community.