You’re proficient with squats and the various installations of bench pressing, you’ve conquered dumbbells and cables but still you want more out of your workout, both in intensity and fitness benefits.

Luckily, slideboards have been making more and more appearances in gyms and training facilities, bringing with it the unique workouts that come with their range of motion, absent from most training equipment.

The results: you get a great, intense workout that works parts of your body in ways never done before.

SlideboardsSlide Board

What they are: Slideboards are flat pieces of aluminum, about 5-6 feet wide, with bumpers on both sides, designed, originally, for side-to-side lateral movement the likes of which you’d use in ice-skating, skiing or tennis.  (Of course, since its inception, the slideboard has been utilized for different sports and re-imagined into many new exercises and targeting new muscle groups). The ability to train laterally is likely very new to your body; this means you’re going to get a bigger, deeper workout in your legs, knees, hips and core, working the fine muscles and connective tissues responsible for making so much of the movements we use in sports and in our daily lives as well.

As so much of the movement in weight training is linear back and forth, up and down or push and pull, very little has been done for side to side training.  Just like working out a new, or stale, muscle group, the first couple slideboard workouts are going to be murderous and will likely leave you sore for the next day or so.  This is a good thing, however, as it means you’re directly working the muscles in your body that were ancillary in so many of your other exercises and movements, which means, strengthening the tissues responsible for so much of your muscular and skeletal support.

For athletes, this can be an invaluable strength as it will give you more strength and agility to perform better maneuverability on the ice, on the field or on the court, from sports as wide ranging as hockey to football to tennis.  Perhaps more importantly, strengthening these muscle groups also means added protection and less susceptibility to damage and injury while performing.  “Goodbye torn ACL and meniscus.  So long pulled groin and sprained Achilles.  Hello, Heisman.” Of course, you don’t have to be an athlete just to take advantage of the benefits of the slideboard.

Benefits

The benefits described above (added strength, agility and protection) are there for anyone using the slideboard: from the body builder to the fitness fiend to those recovering from physical therapy to simply people who want a good workout.  And the workouts extend beyond simple “skaters.” Lunges, reverse lunges and squats can all be performed with the slideboard, each one adding a little bit of individuality from their dumbbell or rack equivalents.  The slippers surface of the slideboard means it uses a different kind of resistance, one that requires additional muscular control to achieve.

That control is where you’re going to see a lot of the benefits of slideboards, resulting from the fine muscle coordination that has to take place in order to execute each movement without falling.  You can also perform chest and shoulder exercises out of press variations; your core, specifically your abs and obliques, will get a great workout from just about any of the exercises, but there are also ones specific to the slideboard that can get you an extra bit of muscle confusion to bring your workout to the next level.

Good workouts are all about muscle confusion, not allowing your muscles to set in a groove or know what’s coming next.  Slideboards are great for muscle confusion, primarily because you’re working an area of your body never worked before, secondarily because of the unique range of motion slideboards allow.  Slideboards bring an intensity all of their own to the workout; but of course, once you’re comfortable with the movement, you can always bring the intensity up.