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Limbo Skating: The Sport That Takes Low to a Whole New Level

In the world of sports, there are activities that test the limits of speed, strength, and endurance. And then there’s limbo skating – a unique sport that asks the question, “How low can you go?” Literally. Combining the graceful art of roller skating with the back-breaking challenge of limbo, this sport is as entertaining to watch as it is peculiar to explain. Let’s dive under the bar and see what limbo skating is all about.

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What is Limbo Skating?

Imagine gliding across the floor on roller skates, and then imagine doing that while crouching so low that you’re practically horizontal. Welcome to limbo skating! In this quirky sport, participants skate under a bar set progressively lower to the ground. The goal? To pass under the bar without touching it or the ground – a feat that requires a blend of flexibility, balance, and a complete disregard for the health of one’s spinal column.

As with traditional limbo dance, there may be many athletes participating in the competition, and the pole is lowered after each successful round. If a person touches the pole they are out. The event continues until only one person remains. In some competitions, the participants are judged not only on their ability to go under the bar successfully, but also on their form and grace. Points can be deducted for touching the bar or losing balance.

The current world record for the lowest limbo skate under a bar is an astounding 7.4 inches – that's less than the height of a standard soda can. If you're wondering how that’s even possible, the answer involves a lot of training, particularly practicing doing the splits.

Limbo skating isn’t just about bending over and hoping for the best. It requires serious technique and preparation. First of all, you need the right gear. Standard roller skates are the tools of choice. They offer the necessary speed and stability, although you might see some enthusiasts swapping them for inline skates for extra precision.

The Mechanics of Going Low

  1. The Approach: Skaters start by picking up speed – enough to glide under the bar but not so much that they end up face-planting into the next time zone.
  2. The Bend: As they approach the bar, they spread the legs into a split position, while bending forwards at the hips, with the face close to the ground. The key is to keep the legs straight while the upper body contorts to pass under the bar.
  3. The Glide: With arms outstretched for balance, skaters glide under the bar, their chins often grazing the floor. It’s a graceful, albeit slightly terrifying sight.
  4. The Recovery: Once past the bar, skaters must return to an upright position, usually with a triumphant fist pump or, more commonly, a disbelieving glance back at the bar wondering how they managed to pull it off!

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