Stillstand world record - why is the women's record much longer?

After talking to Sam Wakeling recently about his (and Roger Davies’) 100 mile world record attempt next week I have been having a look at what other records can be achieved on a unicycle. I hit upon this website where it says that the men’s world record for a stillstand is a very impressive 15 minutes but the women’s world record is an incredible 65 minutes and 13 seconds. Does anyone know if these figures are accurate? If so, why is there such a disparity between the two?

A woman’s physique generally gives her a lower centre of balance which is more ideal for still standing on a unicycle than a typical male who’s physique causes him to have a higher centre of balance. :slight_smile:

Yes they are. The World Record has allways been about a few minutes and everybody tried a few seconds more.
Nobody knows, how Ana did this…
I’still believe that some riders have a secret “physics-off” switch in their pockets …

I believe the female record holder might be the only person to really care about stillstand…No disrespect though, 65 minutes is just utterly amazing.

I remember seeing a video of a girl doing a still stand on a ping pong net!

I don’t think that there is any particular reason for it. For hard trials I can see why women might have a disadvantage but for still standing strength is not required. I suspect she just really practiced a lot.

Thanks for the replies, guys.
Maybe I should learn to stillstand so I can get an idea of how blinking long 65 minutes really is. I doubt I will be worrying Richam soon, let alone Ana.

Static balance is a lot about control with the hips and women are wider in the hips.

I can do about a second, then I have to hop on the spot to maintain balance. 65 minutes is unbelievable!

As for the women thing - I wouldn’t think too much into it being a race of the sexes. The woman who did this is just evidently a FAR better stillstander than any of the guys, that doesn’t necessarily mean women are somehow predisposed to be better. Just means that woman in particular is better :smiley:

Reminds me of the weird story of how women won a lot of angler-fishing competitions, and so instead of just saying ‘oh they’re good at fishing’, the men all scrambled around for reasons as to why she won so much, and ended up asking their wives to… ahem, shave… the theory being that women’s topiary contained some sort of pheremone which attracted fish. It must be some barmy idea like that, women can’t fish, right?? :roll_eyes:

IMHO stillstand by itself is not a very useful skill, although immensely impressive.

But, combine it with riding skinnies and other trials skills it is without equal. Just try riding any appreciable distance on a train track without the ability to stop for at least a few seconds and adjust your balance!

Any gender differences would make a negligible difference to still stand.
Lower centre of mass and predominant muscle type would be unlikely to improve performance to a large degree.

The reason this girl got 65minutes is most likely that she considers still stand her main discipline and practices a HUGE amount.

The disciplines she competed in at Unicon were Downhill Gliding, Still Stand, Slow Forward, Slow Backward and X-style. Almost exclusively balance based skills.

If you look at the top 10 results from Unicon 17 almost all the males were trials riders and I don’t think any do serious still stand training, they just have the skill as a byproduct of the type of riding they do.

Also if you ignore the first placed still stand from Unicon 17 and take the averages of 2nd-10th place. The male average is 3:33 and the females 1:35. Suggesting that women don’t have any obvious genetic advantage.

DSchmitt aka Unicycle Junkie used to amaze us with his stillstand/skinny/rail-riding videos here.
Sometimes its like watching paint dry, yet it’s so amazing it’s hard to look away. Look for his videos on youtube.

I think that a woman’s physique is better suited to doing standstills. Ana Shrodinger has recognised this and has played to her strengths.

She is a brilliant athlete and must have put in a lot of practise to reach that level of performance.

I remember attempting a balance posture challenge which could only be accomplished by females. I thought it would be easy but I failed miserably whilst the girls could do it with ease.

The exercise set out to highlight the different weight distribution of a woman’s body compared to a man’s.

She is a brilliant athlete who must have done a lot of practice to reach that level of performance. But being female would play a minor part in it. Genetic difference is more likely to make the difference between an hour for females and 50 minutes for a man. Not 1 hour 5 minutes for females and 7 minutes for a man.

Probably even less.

Looking at research it looks like it is not conclusive on whether women or men have better balance - College men had better balance than women - Women in the military had better static balance than men in the military.

I don’t think we can assume that the difference in the male and female record for still stand is down to gender difference. Most likely it was training time.

@ Pinoclean. I just had a glance at the military report, link, and it supports my view about women having a lower centre of gravity, giving them better static balance page 7 :52-54.

I believe Ana is aware of this and has decided to play to her female strengths. That’s all I’m saying.

I agree that she must have put huge effort into her training because neither male nor female contestants come close to her times.

morris asked “why is the women’s record much longer” and I think the answer is in part due to female physiology. :slight_smile:

That notion that she must have trained hard would be as obvious, as the assumption that she has two legs.

I was just adding a little more information that morris may not have been aware of.

Is there something wrong with this link?

I agree that the women have lower a centre of gravity. I would be surprised if Ana was aware of it and played to her strengths in choosing to compete in this event.

I only disagree with it as an answer to “why is there such a disparity between the two [times]?” Because I don’t believe, in this case, it is the reason for the disparity. If the times were 5 minutes and 7 minutes then it would be a legitimate reason.

But with this sort of difference its almost exclusively because she trained harder than anyone.

I agree with you that centre of gravity would play some small role in improved balance. Having a heavy as $*%& wheel set and frame would also lower your centre of gravity but I suspect it would not improve your time on a large scale.


Balance activities use mainly your brain and small core muscles that with training can last virtually forever, especially if the person minimizes their movements.

I bet she would do stuff like practice while watching TV. I know a guy here who learned to idle while watching TV & movies. One could easilly get in hours of practice at still stand while watching TV w/o getting tired if they avoided medium and large balance corrections.

Correct. She didn’t win when she competed head to head with the Richam bros. in 2004, but that was a very informal competition. Nobody really expected anybody to last more than a few minutes.

In an long, sustained stillstand, other than the obvious balancing skill the next thing you need is upper body strength/duration. Your arms and shoulders get tired! This tells us that Ana practices stillstands a lot. While women on average may have a lower center of mass, it’s still above the wheel so it’s still pretty hard to do it in any case.

Without any video evidence I’m guessing that since 2004 Ana has developed a more acute sense of balance minimising the use of her arms for balance.

As well as having a lower centre of mass, women’s physical strength is more concentrated in their lower body.

When I began riding my Uni with handle bars I had to develop a more acute sense of balance because holding the handle bars prevented me from waving my arms for balance. I learnt to use my torso muscles more for balance adjustment instead of flailing my arms around.

Of course Ana doesn’t have forward momentum because she’s stationary but I bet she doesn’t have her arms constantly raised.

Ana has set a world record but there is no video footage on the internet that I’m aware of. It would be great if the organisers of these events made a point of putting videos on the web that we could appreciate and learn from. :slight_smile: