Published online Jun 18, 2021. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v12.i6.360
Peer-review started: December 4, 2020
First decision: January 24, 2021
Revised: January 27, 2021
Accepted: May 19, 2021
Article in press: May 19, 2021
Published online: June 18, 2021
Slacklining, the neuromechanical action of balance retention on a tightened band, is achieved through self-learned strategies combining dynamic stability with optimal energy expenditure. Published slacklining literature is recent and limited, including for neuromechanical control strategy models. This paper explores slacklining’s definitions and origins to provide background that facilitates understanding its evolution and progressive incorporation into both prehabilitation and rehabilitation. Existing explanatory slacklining models are considered, their application to balance and stability, and knowledge-gaps highlighted. Current slacklining models predominantly derive from human quiet-standing and frontal plane movement on stable surfaces. These provide a multi-tiered context of the unique and complex neuro-motoric requirements for slacklining’s multiple applications, but are not sufficiently comprehensive. This consequently leaves an incomplete understanding of how slacklining is achieved, in relation to multi-directional instability and complex multi-dimensional human movement and behavior. This paper highlights the knowledge-gaps and sets a foundation for the required explanatory control mechanisms that evolve and expand a more detailed model of multi-dimensional slacklining and human functional movement. Such a model facilitates a more complete understanding of existing performance and rehabilitation applications that opens the potential for future applications into broader areas of movement in diverse fields including prostheses, automation and machine-learning related to movement phenotypes.
Core Tip: Slacklining is an ancient activity; however, modern scientific literature is very recent and limited. This paper explores slacklining’s origins to provide background on its evolution and incorporation into prehabilitation and rehabilitation. Existing mechanical models and neurophysiological explanations are considered, summarised, and their applications and knowledge-gaps highlighted. Consequently, the need for improved understanding and descriptive and mathematical models are highlighted to ensure a multi-tiered understanding of slacklining’s unique and complex neuro-motoric requirements for its multiple applications, including human functional movement. With understanding slacklining’s history and fundamentals comes the potential for future broader applications for functional movement, prosthesis, automation, and machine-learning.