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45. Exercise Equipment: Slide Boards


This article is from the Fitness FAQ, by Jeff Gleixner (glex@cray.com) with numerous contributions by others.

45. Exercise Equipment: Slide Boards

The October, 1993 issue of Shape magazine contains an article about
the latest fitness craze, slideboarding. I got an e-mail request
for more info and thought other folks might like a synopsis, too.
Here goes:

Slideboarding looks easy, but isn't, at least at the beginning.
Several consecutive minutes will leave you huffing and puffing.
Getting from one side of the board to the other requires just
about every muscle in your lower body, which is why slideboarding
is an excellent, and tough, workout. You'll condition your
heart and lungs, work on your balance and coordination and burn
a lot of calories.

Slideboarding is used by physical therapists to rehabilitate knee
injuries, especially tears of the anterior cruciate ligament
behind the knee cap. It's effective because it strengthens your
quadriceps without having to straighten your knees.

It's important to use proper technique. Improper technique can
place too much stress on your ankles, knees and lower back.

One reason sliding probably will be tough at first, even if
you're in good shape, is that it's different movement from most
everyday movement patterns. This makes sliding great training
for several sports that require you to constantly shift your
weight and move from side to side, such as volleyball and tennis
(and basketball).

Because sliding is so new studies haven't been done to determine
exactly how many calories it burns, but it seems to burn as many
as running an eight-minute mile or cycling at a brisk cadence.

Because sliding is so tough, it's not something you can do for
hours at a time. Start by interspersing short bursts of 30 seconds
with other aerobic activity and work up to 20 to 30 minute sessions.

A flimsy board will travel halfway across the room with each pushoff
or buckle in the center and require constant straightening. Others
make a noise like the tearing of paper, which may make sliding to
music difficult. Portable units are available, but some weigh up
to 30 lbs.

Make sure you get one with high enough bumpers so you won't go
sailing over the end every time you build up some momentum. Square
bumpers give a faster, more explosive skate, whereas angled end
ramps slow things down. The board should be slick, but not so
slick that you feel you're skidding across an icy sidewalk.

Wearing slide socks without shoes will give your feet more of a
workout, but you'll get a smoother ride and more support with your
shoes on (and booties over your shoes). Booties come in different
speeds. Goretex or silky fabrics send you flying; rougher material
will slow you down but make you work harder.

A short list of slideboards Shape magazine has "seen":

Slide Reebok (formerly Kneedspeed) -- Rubberized end ramps curve
slightly upward to ease stress on ankles, knees, hips and lower
back. Slide, socks and an instructional video are $99.99.
Call 1-800-REEBOK-1 or 1-800-843-4444.

Body Slide Club Pro (formerly The Training Camp Slide) --
The top-of-the-line model for $199, is self-polishing, so it gets
faster and smoother with use. Other pluses: adjustable stop-block
to vary the length of the glide and rubber webbing underneath to
prevent the board from sliding as you do. Call 1-800-238-5241

The Original Slide Board -- Well-crafted, it's the best board around.
Stop blocks can be set up as either vertical or angled. Hinged in
middle for easy fold-up and storage. All models under $200.
Call 1-516-921-2003 (This takes you to an answering machine which may
or may not have anything to do with the Slide Board. If anyone
knows a better number for the Slide Board please let me know.
Jeff Gleixner -glex@cray.com- )

Body Slide -- Hawked on late-night TV, is cheap ($50) and slow.
Collects dust easily and must be polished frequently with a soft
cloth. Each pushoff sends both you and the slide flying.

The article also includes instructions on how to slide. Topics
include "The Basics," "What to Do with Your Arms," "How Fast to
Slide," and "Making Your Workout Tougher" including subtopics
"Kicks," "Turns," and "Lunges." Sorry, I don't have time to type
in all the instructions (besides, the article is copyrighted).
You might try checking your library for a copy of the magazine
if you want more info.


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