Hey December Leopards,
Today’s MWod episode is homage to playing a little bit more. During the winter break, most athlete’s training schedules tend to include a slightly lighter training volume due to the natural periodization process that the holidas tend to impose. Let’s be clear, Slack lining will NOT build the kinds of elite fitness required to do anything of note physically, AND you may deem it’s risk/reward ratio to be little high (even though my four year old does it, Yeah, Yeah, I know you aren’t a four year old girl….)
However, there IS immense value in how should we say, Messing Around (this is not our language btw.) And to be especially clear, getting better at reactive balance like this doesn’t really feed forward to other motor skills. Turns out that most of this reactive balance business is a function of a simple short arc loop at the spine with some heavy down regulation of spasticity from the brain. This kind of reactive balance business isn’t generated from the pre-motor cortex and so doesn’t really make you better at generating a program to move (gymnasts are kind of ahmaazing and are never standing on on an uneven/wobbly surface, or break dancers, or free runners, or martial artists etc.)
As an aside, the phyiso ball was originally developed by phyisos working with children with Polio. When these kids were on their stomaches, and made to feel like they were falling, their bodies flinched to try and right itself. The physios originally thought this was improving tone, balance, etc but decided pretty quickly that these righting reactions weren’t useful in creating better movement quality. Thus the ball was abandoned. (weird that the physio ball isn’t employed as a serious training tool anywhere that actually works with bad ass athletes unless it’s filled with water and you are holding it over your head) Is there value working on balance? Bet your ass there is. And you can always hold a wobbly bar or object over your head while you are on a stable surface.
Go play a little soccer or ultimate while you are at it. Go fart around on a bongo or indo board. There is value and merit in learning to down regulate the speed wobbles. There is value in co-contracting around your joints (banish that muscle stiffness). There is value in the kinds of error ladden, deep practice of learning a new skill. It’s even a little fun. Think of it as a dose of freestyle movement ( and you for sure need that, ask Carl Paoli of gymnastics.wod) And through the eye of the MWod, it’s yet another tool to elicit crappy movement patterning. There is really never any where you can hide your true movement self.
Bottom line, there is a great deal of value to be had in the very, very old art of messing around. Besides, when you find yourself at a campsite with: Jenny Labaw, Marcus Brown, and a nor-cal margarita, it’s time for some stupid human tricks.
Seriously. Play more.
Ps. For those of you that asked why I didn’t jump on the slack line, it’s MY slack line.