This article was originally posted on the site in 2007, but we are posting it again as a StrengthCoach Classic to serve as a refresher and so newer members can see it.
The slideboard may be the most “bang for the buck” in the world of work capacity or conditioning development.
No other piece of equipment can do all of the following:
1) Place the athlete in a sport specific position (Almost regardless of sport)
2) Positively stress the abductor and adductor muscles
3) Allow athletes to work in groups of three to four on one piece of equipment
4) Provide work capacity training in an interval format for 3-4 athletes with no adjustments (seat height etc.) for under $600.
At Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning, all of our athletes, regardless of sport, will perform lateral conditioning on the slideboard 2 times per week during a four day work week. In fact the slideboard may be the best, most cost effective conditioning mode available for athletes exclusive of actually running.
In training for the game of hockey the slideboard may be the most important training device available to the hockey player. Until the advent of commercially available slideboards hockey players were relegated to off-season training on an exercise bike or on a track. Although both techniques, running and biking, can increase aerobic capacity and anaerobic endurance there is little similarity to the motion of skating.
It provides a highly specific method for performing work capacity workouts for hockey players. In addition the slideboard allows the athlete to improve skating technique. Athletes can easily self correct as they view their knee flexion, knee extension and ankle extension while training on the board when the board is placed in front of a large mirror. The mirror will provide an immediate feedback mechanism for the athlete.
The slideboard also reduces the player's chance of incurring a groin injury in pre-season. This is one of the reasons I like the slideboard for any sport. The motion of the slideboard works the abductor, adductor and hip flexor muscles, something that does not occur on a bike or while running.or
In addition, for hockey players the combination of plyometrics, land sprints and the slideboard is a major part of improving on-ice speed.
Training Program Ideas
A slideboard training program can be developed using simple interval training concepts. Athletes should begin a slideboard program with some introductory workouts of one part work to three parts rest. ( 30 secs work 1:30 sec rest). This is a great basic program designed to familiarize the athletes with the concepts of interval training on the slideboard. Up to eight to ten intervals can eventually be performed. This generally results in heart rates of 160 to 190 beats per minute. These programs will actually be aerobic if the heart rate is maintained above 120 beats per minute during the recovery period. However the real purpose of the slideboard is to provide an excellent anaerobic endurance workout. You may manipulate the work to rest ratios to meet your own needs.
Technique- Athletes should maintain a knee bend of 120 to 130 degrees ( Figure 1). Emphasis should be placed on extension of the ankle, knee and hip joints. When you reach the end of the board, think about trying to touch the knee of the push leg to the calf of the leg that has just arrived at the bumper. The hips should stay at the same level the entire time you are on the board. We tell our athletes that if could plot the position of their hips on a graph it would ideally be a straight line. Athletes are also instructed to not bring their foot behind their body. The recommended length of the board is one and one half times the athlete's height. For this reason most of our athletes utilize a 9 foot board.
Work Interval 15- 30 sec
Number of Intervals Begin with 5
Rest Interval 45 sec- 1:30 sec
Length of Workout 10-50 minutes
Please note: Work intervals longer than 30 seconds usually result in loss of technique and are recommended only for advanced athletes with great leg strength. Rest intervals should be 2-3 times the work interval. We generally try to increase the number of work intervals or to decrease the rest time rather than lengthen the time interval. A simple two day per week slideboard program is illustrated.
Slideboard Conditioning Program- based on 2 lateral emphasis days per week
add 10 lb vest
add 10 lb vest
It should be noted that our athletes condition every day. The difference is that in a four day of-season program our athletes will do lateral movement oriented conditioning twice and linear conditioning on the other two days. For three dayproams we simply alternate linear and lateral. This means we get thre linear days and three lateral days every two weeks.
Just remember, the slideboard is not a hockey tool. It is a great conditioning and injury prevention tool for any field or court sport.