Slacklining: A narrative review on the origins, neuromechanical models and therapeutic use

Charles Philip Gabel, Bernard Guy, Hamid Reza Mokhtarinia, Markus Melloh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-375
Number of pages16
JournalWorld Journal of Orthopedics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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