Thursday, January 12, 2017

SlackBlock Review

I spent the later portion of 2016 with various injuries that almost took me out of my December marathon.  I tried acupuncture, saw a sports physician, and eventually started physical therapy at the new Kaiser Sports Medicine Facility at the Golden 1 Center (in Sacramento).  It’s a state of the art facility and my Physical Therapist Dr. Kyle is amazing.  He brought up some a great points.  He asked me “As a runner, how often do I run with both feet on the ground at the same time?”  He then talked about how runners should focus more on single leg training because that is how we use our muscles.  He suggested single-leg squats, single-leg deadlifts, clamshells, walking lunges, and some other exercises.  

It not only saved my marathon (I finished, even though the time was slower than I would have liked), but I came out of the marathon stronger than ever.  I have been training for my first 50k and besides the exercises that Dr. Kyle suggested, I have been using an awesome piece of equipment called the SlackBlock. 

I ran across the SlackBlock online and contacted the company.  They sent me the SlackBlock and a book Balance is Power by Jim Klopman.  The book explains the importance of balance, not only in sports performance, but in life.  There has been a decline in balance as a society.  The book is really easy to read, explains why balance is important and how to improve your balance.  The book is $15.99 on Amazon (free with Kindle unlimited).

The SlackBlock is a simple piece of wood with black skateboard like grip tape.  It is attached to a blue foam block with Velcro.  The blue foam block is rectangular and has four triangular parts glued on to provide added lateral support.  It is an inexpensive solution to improving your balance, which will provide several benefits. 

By using the SlackBlock, you will increase the strength in your legs, ankles, and core.  Also, as you run longer distances, your body tends to get tired and your balance can be reduced.  By doing training exercises to help improve balance, you will be able to retain your balance longer.  Another benefit is that having great balance and a stronger ankle/Achilles area, you will be more efficient in your gait.  This can help use less energy during your runs and could even make you faster.

I started by watching a video about how to use the SlackBlock.  It says to start with one foot and balance for 2 minutes.  That seemed like a really long time while I was trying to balance, but it got much easier after a try or two.  I went through the exercises and quickly started seeing the benefits in my running.  I am almost completely injury free at this point.  I know that my physical therapy exercises play a big part in my recovery, but I think my balance exercises have been just as important.    I love the SlackBlock and strongly recommend it to any runner who wants to become stronger and more injury free.

Inexpensive ($59.00)
Easy to use
Can see benefits in a few days

There are a few tools that every runner should have.  Foam Rollers, a stretching mat, and a SlackBlock are important tools in my runner’s toolbox.  While there are still plenty of ways for me to become injured, I think it is important to focus on becoming more injury free.  The SlackBlock helps reduce the risk of preventable injuries.  Get your SlackBlock today for $59.00 and let me know what you think.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

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