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As we all adjust to life (at least on a temporary basis) at home without access to our normal training facilities, we thought it would be helpful to start a mini-series on some at-home training ideas. Throughout this mini-series, we will introduce you to training programs that you can do at home with minimal equipment and space. The first of those products and routines will be focused around the slide board.
At Home Training – Why the Slide Board?
A slide board, quite simply, is a piece of plastic with two stoppers on the ends. To use the slide board you place slick booties on your feet and you slide. How awesome does that sound?
A slide board is usually between 6 and 10 feet long (depending on your preference) and only about 2 feet wide. In addition to its small footprint, most commercial slide boards roll up and can be stored just about anywhere. This is why we are starting the at-home training series.
Let’s keep talking about why they are great. We will talk further down in the article about a few training programs but what you will find is that this product is a blast to use. You won’t be sitting on a bike for hours or walking/running on a treadmill (both of which really don’t have the ability to give you a full-body workout.) Let’s be honest….right now we need something fun to keep our spirits high. A fun and effective workout is another reason why this is our lead product in our at-home training series.
Now, let’s just keep piling on. The cost. You can score a great slide board from Amazon for less than $50. Yes, this is not a typo…sub-$50. You can spend over $100 (or even more if you really get hooked) on the more robust models Compare that to some other at-home training products – how about a name brand bike that will set you back more than $2,000 (try to roll it into a closet to get out of the way also). Treadmills are big, bulky, and expensive. As are at-home rowers. Don’t get me wrong, these are all great products but they are expensive, heavy and difficult/impossible to store.
The slide board is fun, compact, and inexpensive.
Now, the only downside that I have seen on this device is that you will have to fight your children for it. They will be slipping and sliding all over this in no time. Once you get the kids comfortable on the slide board it is safe and effective for them to use as well. Kids get comfortable on this pretty quickly. It is a fun tool to introduce them to a general feeling of lateral skating (and introducing the concept of “pushing off the edge” of the skate). So, don’t worry if your kids take turns on the slide board. Watch them make sure they are safe but let them have some fun too.
At Home Training with the Slide Board – Expected Benefits?
So, we have established that the slide board is fun, compact, and inexpensive. A lot of things tick off those requirements. The next question is what benefits can you expect from training with a slide board?
1. Low Impact Conditioning
So, let’s just accept one thing to be true – to gain conditioning you have to expend time. If you want to engage in similar conditioning to that of a runner/cyclist/rower/swimmer then you will need to spend time. There is no magical piece of exercise equipment that will create conditioning in a few minutes a week. With that being said, there are a few pieces of equipment that will allow conditioning to be built in a fun and low impact fashion. Enter the slide board.
The slide board can be an exhausting piece of exercise equipment. The first thing that you will notice when beginning training on the slide board is that it takes you a few minutes to get your “legs under you”. We normally try to do all we can to avoid sliding and slipping. Now you have stepped onto a piece of equipment that is designed to get you sliding. Be patient with this new feeling.
The conditioning you will be doing on the slide will be primarily on the side-to-side “skating”. This movement, if done right, is smooth and really no impact (except for the few times where you may end up on your backside learning how to slide). Unlike running there is no jarring of the joints as you pound out the miles.
Your joints stay fairly aligned the entire time – unlike cycling which is a repetitive piston motion that can be tough on the knees, hips, and lower back.
2. Development of Lateral Strength
So, have you ever noticed the legs of a professional ice skater?
Pretty nice, right? Well, a lot of that shape and definition (not all of it) comes from the basic movement of the slide board. Lateral movement is not a common movement for our daily lives. Humans are pretty one-plane animals. We walk forward the vast majority of the time. We move a bit laterally and some in reverse.
Ever wonder why so many of us have knee and hip issues as we age? This is largely because we do not maintain much lateral strength. Running, cycling, rowing, and swimming are all one direction sports. The only sports that have a lot of multi-directional movement tend to involve a ball or puck – or conveniently for us, skates.
The slide board is a repetitive hip abductor and converse hip adductor movement. A focused effort on the hip abductors and adductors provides amazing foundational stability for strength and stability – which leads to great legs and injury prevention.
3. Core and Torso Stability
Now time for the gratuitous ab shot
Can the slide board get you abs like this? Well, the answer is yes…I guess. But please, remember that you are much more likely to find those hidden pockets of muscle with a diet focus complemented with an exercise routine. You can find some of those helpful articles here, here and here if you would like.
Now, what the slide board can do is give you the exercise routine I talked about above. Not only does the side-to-side slide help with core and torso stability, but you will also be able to use to board for planks, v-ups, and many other core-focused exercises.
At Home Training – Exercise Programs
Okay, so you have read why you should buy a slide board and what benefits you can expect to receive from the board (these really are to just name a few, by the way). So, the next question is what exercises should you be doing?
We have searched through youtube and we are sharing with you some of our favorite routines that have shown great results for us:
This video (as you can see) uses additional resistance bands right above your knees. If you want to up the challenge you can use these bands for the same effect.
We really love the slide board. We think it is a fun, compact, inexpensive, and versatile piece of home training equipment. In times like these…these are all great things. We hope you will enjoy learning, growing, and playing with your slide board.