Episode 25:

Twin Sticks

Published: May 2012: Updated: June 2013, August 2017

Partners: Niina Makela and Tarja Javabainen-Levonen PhD from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences in Finland

Twin Sticks is a simple yet effective activity that can be adapted by anyone, for anyone. We love these sort of ideas! Niina Makela from Finland came up with the idea and in this episode we see it in action and have a chat to Niina about Twin Sticks.

We love coming across new ideas and activities that can be picked up and used just about anywhere in the world. Twin Sticks is a just such an idea.

During EUCAPA 2012 Niina Makela and her lecturer PhD Tarja Javanainen-Levonen from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences in Finland ran a session on Twin Sticks for conference participants. Ken had his trusted camera there and managed to get an interview with Niina and record the practical session. Our impression is that Twin Sticks is an incredibly simple yet potentially hugely effective concept.

By using the basic device of two long poles, this partner-based cooperative exercise system can be adapted for a wide range of participants.

For example:

  • a vision impaired person working with a sighted partner—or with another vision impaired person;
  • young people who are affected by autism and additionally have issues with direct contact, either with another young person or with a supporting partner;
  • young people who have coordination or control impairments; practise with a non-disabled partner may help movement skills to be developed;
  • as part of an active ageing programme.

Specialised equipment is not necessary. Broom handles could be used. The movements are even reminiscent of the warm-up exercises used in Nordic walking—using the poles instead of sticks.

I’m sure that you can think of many more possibilities. Try it, and let us know! We can pass on any suggestions to Niina through The Inclusion Club.

First, here is Niina with a short introduction into Twin Sticks.

Now, before we see a bit of Twin Sticks in action you can download a short handout prepared by Niina, that gives you a good description of Twin Sticks and its purpose.

PDF IconDownload the Twin Sticks handout PDF

We managed to get some video footage from the EUCAPA conference. This will give you a much better idea of how Twin Sticks can be applied. There is a short introduction, a few demonstrations and then you will see the conference participants having a go at Twin Sticks.

Twin Sticks has great potential in a variety of contexts, needs minimal equipment and the benefits of this type of exercise activity are pretty clear.

Give it a go.

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About the author: Peter Downs

About the author: Peter Downs

Founding Director - The Inclusion Club

Peter is Founding Director of The Inclusion Club and Manager of Play by the Rules – a national initiative to promote safe, fair and inclusive sport. Peter has worked for over 25 years in the field of inclusive sport, disability sport and physical activity including 17 years managing the Australian Sports Commission’s Disability Sport Unit.  In 2013 Peter was fortunate enough to receive a Churchill Fellowship to study models of best practice in inclusive sport and physical activity.