The average athlete spends 1-3 hours training 5-6 days per week.
This number rises significantly for full-time professional athletes.
Besides practicing the fundamentals of their sport, athletes must also work on strengthening their bodies and improving their speed, conditioning, coordination, and agility.
The need to gain a competitive edge has brought about a rise in different forms of training.
Slide board exercises, which were once only for speed skating and figure skating, are now becoming a useful tool for all sports.
Slide Board Training for All Sports With The Slip Board By PolyGlide Ice
A slide board is a long, rectangular tool used to train specific figure and speed skating skills.
These boards are usually smooth, slippery plastic or wood with a footrest on each end.
Some are now made with polymer plastic for more durability and off-ice training.
The user would wear socks or booties on both feet, then slide from one end to the other.
If you’re a budding athlete or a seasoned professional, you may wonder if adding slide board exercises to your routine makes sense.
Spoiler alert: it does!
Let’s look at some benefits and how you can integrate a slide board to improve your performance based on your sport.
What are the health benefits for athletes that train using a slide board?
When you place your slide board on the floor and use it for the first time, it can feel strange and even a little silly, especially if you’ve never skated.
But as you continue using it, you’ll notice some fantastic benefits, such as:
- Improved cardiovascular health: Athletes must have excellent lung capacity, endurance, and energy stores to compete at a high level. Some more than others. For instance, basketball players can run 4-6 miles per game, while soccer players can run up to 8.5 miles. Slide board exercises help increase and maintain heart rate, improving endurance.
- Improved balance: Figure skaters performing triple Loops or Axels need great balance between takeoff and landing. The same goes for many of the popular high-contact sports today. Slide board exercises activate many stabilizing muscles, such as the core, glutes, quadriceps, calf, and ankle muscles.
- Build your speed: The faster you go on a slide board, the more control you’ll achieve with your overall movement and change of direction. That can translate to more speed and control in your movements.
- A low-impact alternative: Athletes exert ridiculous force on their joints when running, jumping, or colliding with others. Constant joint injuries can shorten or limit the career of even the best athletes. The athletes that stick around the longest (think Tom Brady and LeBron James) focus on flexibility and pliability. Slide board exercises are a low-impact option for strength and conditioning, which can translate to fewer injuries. It’s excellent for lower and upper body exercises. A slide board is also great for recovery from injury. A low-impact option helps athletes to strengthen the surrounding muscles while reducing the shock around the injured joint or muscle.
- It’s just fun!: Even for the seasoned athlete, exercise can be boring. Using a slide board is a great way to add some variety and fun to your training.
What muscles do slide board exercises work?
When looking at how you use a slide board, it’s easy to assume that it’s only for lower body exercises.
However, slide boards are excellent for the entire body.
You must engage your core muscles in any routine to maintain balance.
The constant movement is also a great calorie burner.
A slide board is also versatile as it can also target parts of the upper body.
By assuming pushup or plank positions with your hands or forearms on the board, you can perform a variety of strength-building exercises.
You can perform sliding exercises on the board facing any direction.
Slide boards are known for strengthening the lower body and can target specific exercises.
They are helpful for the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and ankles.
It also supports the hips and stabilizes the knees, protecting the knee’s meniscus and ligaments.
Moving the arms during slide drills is sure to give them a workout.
Yet, slide boards are versatile enough to target specific muscles in the upper body.
You can target the chest, biceps, triceps, and shoulders with pushups, reaches, reverse flies, and planks.
If you play a specific sport, you may be eager to know which slide board exercises are best.
Some exercises help all sports with balance, core strength, and endurance.
However, your discipline may benefit from slide board routines targeting specific body parts.
Here are some of the more popular sports and the respective exercises to enhance performance.
What are the best slide board exercises for skaters?
Figure skaters and speed skaters need a strong core, glute, and leg muscles for balance and speed.
Skaters must also stay light and lean to perform double and triple jumps with ease.
Additionally, strong hips help generate power, enhance agility, and improve flexibility.
Here are 5 slide board exercises to become a faster, stronger skater.
- Skating drills: Use the slide board for its intended purpose, skating side to side. Increase the speed and duration of skating as needed.
- Slide board lunge: Put on your slideboard socks or booties and practice a deep lunge from one side to the other.
- Reverse Planks: Follow this guide. You’re going to sit on the floor, press your arms behind you at shoulder width, then extend your hips and torso to the ceiling. With the board, you can slide your feet around in different directions to increase the intensity.
- Leg lifts: Lie on your back flat on the board. Raise one foot at a time (or both) to stabilize and strengthen the core.
- Slide board squats: Use the board to slide your feet out while you squat. You can also try split squats, alternating feet using the board’s sliding effect, or the curtsy squat, an excellent exercise for skaters.
Along with these strengthening exercises, the slide board is also a great tool to practice the mechanics of a figure skater’s jump, helping coaches to correct any technical flaws.
What are the best slide board exercises for hockey players and goalies?
Hockey players, especially goalies, have the added burden of nearly 15 pounds of gear while on the ice.
Endurance and speed are vital for hockey players who must establish a low center of gravity when racing for the puck.
They also need strong arms and shoulders for holding the stick and receiving (or giving) the occasional body check.
Some useful slide board exercises include:
- Lateral slides: Stand in the center of the board with a tall body, strong core, and hands on hips. Slide one foot away from the body as far as possible (without bending the knee) while maintaining your rigid body position. You can change things up by bending the knee of the standing leg when performing your slide.
- Standing Lunges: Stand tall and extend one leg back and away from the body as far as possible while bending the knee of the standing leg.
- Skating drills (with or without your stick): Use the board to slide from one end to the other. Grab your stick to establish the same motion and mechanics, keeping your knees always bent and a low center of gravity.
- Explosive skating drills from a kneeling position: For our goalies out there, you’ll constantly find yourself on your knees, protecting your goal as much as possible. A great slideboard drill is to start on one end from a kneeling position, then explode up to your feet, sliding to the other end. Repeat to get back to your starting position. Do this with your stick in hand for an effective full-body workout.
- Slideboard pushups: If you’re recovering from an arm or shoulder injury, try low-impact pushups. Get into a pushup position with your arms on the slide board. Stretch one arm away from your body as you lower yourself into a pushup, then return the arm when you come back up.
Repeat these exercises as many times as recommended by your trainer or doctor (if you’re recovering from injury).
What are the best slide board exercises for baseball players?
Baseball players need strong, explosive arms and shoulders for pitching and hitting.
That means strong wrists, forearms, biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
Pitchers can throw hundreds of times per week in practice and games.
The same goes for those practicing their hitting, swinging over 100 times a day.
Combining a slide board with dumbbells, resistance bands, or kettlebells can take your performance to the next level.
Here are some slideboard exercises:
- Sliding Lunges: Baseball players may pitch and hit, but they depend on their lower bodies to generate power. Lunges can strengthen the hips, quadriceps, and glutes, improving performance.
- Side-to-side slideboard drills: Just because you’re not a figure skater does not mean you can’t skate. Build your endurance with side-to-side slide board exercises.
- Plyometric pushups: Gain explosiveness in your arms and shoulders with these plyometric pushups. Explode up from the slide board with every rep.
- Slide board shoulder extensions: Place your arms on the slideboard in a plank or modified plank position. Extend one arm as far in front of you as possible, lowering your body to get the best range of motion. Return to the starting position, then extend the opposite arm.
- Arm circles: Adopt a plank position with your arms on the slideboard covered with socks or booties. Form circles one at a time with each arm.
Slide boards are great low-impact tools on days you need light exercise or as a part of physical therapy after an injury.
What are the best slide board exercises for basketball, football, and soccer players?
Basketball, football, and soccer players all depend on full-body power and endurance.
These disciplines require a strong core and lower body.
Basketball and football players also benefit from strong shoulders.
Some of the best exercises include:
- Dumbbell lateral lunges
- Mountain climbers
- Romanian deadlifts
- Single-leg squats (pistol squats)
- Shuffle exercises
These can all be modified by adding weights, resistance bands, or kettlebells.
How can someone improve their athletic performance using a slide board?
Whether for strengthening your body or improving your performance, slide boards are excellent for all sports.
They are also invaluable for ramping up recovery.
Slide boards are a low-impact tool for increasing strength around the injured muscle and joint.
Along with improving your cardiovascular performance, agility, and mobility, slide boards are a fun way to exercise and remain motivated through a grueling season.
Remember to stay consistent, follow the instructions of a coach or trainer, and be consistent to enjoy the benefits of a slide board.