Slide Into Fitness Gains
Can a simple board deliver big results? We gave it a try.
One of the things I miss most about actually going to the gym is trying new things. It's how I learn. I've got no shame about interrupting you between sets to ask about the exercise you were just doing. I'll watch someone on a new piece of equipment and then follow their lead. But during the pandemic, I've lost out on this vital education.
Thankfully, there's Instagram. That's where I'm now picking up some new moves to try and where I noticed a lot of trainers, celebrities and all-around fit dudes sliding. The slide board is an underrated piece of equipment that's been around for decades but is enjoying a resurgence because of their ability to harness all of the core-building and body-toning power of instability.
Of course, not all slide boards are made equal. Like any piece of equipment, you want to pay attention to the quality of the materials because it will directly impact your sliding experience. You want a flat, firm and slippery surface with heavy-duty bumpers at each end to absorb your full weight. And a non-slip back ensures your board won't slide around on the floor (or slide out from under you).
Brrrn, the boutique fitness studio, focuses entire workouts on lateral training using their signature Brrrn slide boards. They're made by the same manufacturer that builds slide boards for the U.S. Olympic team, collegiate training programs and professional athletes. And now, they're selling the Brrrn Board directly to consumers. What's more, each one comes with access to an on-demand library of high-quality, instructor-led workout videos.
It didn't take long to get me onboard—no pun intended. You pull some booties over your sneakers and step onto the long rectangle of what feels like black ice. It takes a second to find your footing but I quickly got the hang of it, gliding back and forth. Instantly, you can feel all of the stabilizing muscles in your legs and core kick into gear to keep you upright.
I log into a 20-minute workout and the trainer warms us up off the board before we start sliding. Then he leads us through a core-strengthening workout, using the slide board to boost bodyweight exercises like lunges, planks and mountain climbers. In between sets, I'm instructed to “jog” or “sprint,” sliding back and forth like a speed skater on the board. It's so fun, this frictionless back and forth, that you barely mind the sweat-drenching workout happening around the sliding. The hurts-so-good soreness indicates the areas you worked on the board. In case you're wondering, that'd be the calves, quads and glutes along with your upper body and hard-to-train areas like the obliques on the sides of your abs.
After months of feeling a bit “out of the loop” when it comes to fitness, this fun and highly effective board has got me motivated to keep moving. The fact that it delivers a solid core workout as well? That's even better.
Boards from $229
(with free on-demand workouts until 2021)
The starter slide board ...
By no means as solid, this roll-up mat is a silky smooth alternative that delivers decent slide. The bumpers are plastic and not cushioned but it gets the job done. Just make sure you’re on a flat, smooth surface.
$99 by American Lifetime