Slide Your Way to Stronger Hips!
The slider board was first introduced to gyms in the early 1990s. Professional football player, Jeff Markland, was looking for a new, innovative way to recover from injuries. After working with speed skaters, he developed the first, mass-produced slide board called the Kneedspeed. Unfortunately, this was a time when gyms were more interested in-group exercise classes that were specifically choreographed to music so the slide board did not fit that category. Slowly but surely the slide board has been making its way back into the fitness centers around the country. Although it is not just the athletes breaking out the slide board, but those looking for general fitness, new cross training, and especially injury prevention.
Movement on the slide board is performed as a closed-kinetic chain exercise. This means that the foot or hand remains in contact with the ground throughout the entire exercise. This ‘closed’ movement creates load on the joints and muscles, which increases joint stability during dynamic movements. This style of training is perfect for rehabilitation, since there is a constant load placed on every aspect of the joint (ligaments, tendons, and muscles), particularly in recovering from ACL tears. Lateral sliding on the board works both the outer and inner thighs, working to strength the medial ligament, which is commonly damaged during ACL injuries. Sliding also tremendously helps with IT Band syndrome, which is extremely common in long distance runners. By working lateral aerobic endurance and stabilizers, runners can move forward more efficiently with less risk of injury.
Here are a few exercises to try on your own:
Lateral Sliding– With booties over your shoes, place your foot against the block at the end of the slide board. Squat and press into the outer edge of the foot to send the body across the board to the other side. Try to prevent the legs from splitting apart. Instead, think about keeping the feet as close to hip width throughout the whole movement. This will help protect the knees and will work the inner thighs more.
Reverse Lunge– With the booties over your shoes, face away from the slide board with one foot on the board behind you. While maintaining an upright posture; slide backwards as you slightly bend the back knee. Keeping the stomach tight, stand up while sliding the foot back to the start position. Try to prevent putting any significant weight in the back foot. You should feel a stretch down the thigh of the leg behind you as you make the movement.
Side Lunge- With the booties over your shoes, stand beside the slide board. Keeping your weight over the foot on the ground, push your hips backwards as you bend at the knee. Make sure you keep the opposite leg straight with the quadriceps muscle engaged. As with the reverse lunge, try to prevent putting any significant weight into the foot that is on the slide board. This exercise will work the lateral stabilizers of the hip and ankle as well as stretching and strengthening the inner thigh muscles.
Pikes/Tucks- Start in a plank position with your feet on the slide board and the hands on the ground out in front. Pressing out of the arms and pulling in the stomach, lift the hips up in the air as you slide your feet up. You will feel a hamstring stretch at the top of this movement. Carefully lower your hips back down to the plank position making sure you don’t let your hips drop too low which will help protect the back.
For being a simple piece of equipment, the slider board can provide ample fitness benefits. It is a great cross-training tool for most activities such as: running, biking, downhill skiing, skate skiing, squash and tennis. As with any exercise, start small and slow, working your way up to more challenging movements and faster speeds. The Seattle Athletic Club has two slide boards located just beyond the lobby in the cybex room by the hand towels. If you would like to learn how to use the slide board within your workout routine contact Thomas Eagen.