While slide boards are commonly used to work the stabilizing muscles of the legs and butt, you can also use this simple piece of equipment as a workout for your upper body. By doing a few key exercises, you'll get a challenging workout that can help you build muscle and gain stability.
Since your body is forced to stabilize itself on the slippery surface, even simple activities get more challenging. Start out doing a simple set of pushups. Place the slide board booties on your hands and carefully position your body into a plank position along the board, so that both your hands and feet touch the board. Then do a set of 8 to 12 pushups; along with the regular core and arm muscles used for a pushup, you're also recruiting stabilizing muscles to keep you from slipping.
Isolate the muscles of the shoulders, biceps and triceps by performing arm circles with the slide board. This time, position yourself in a plank position, perpendicular to the slide board, so that your hands -- with booties -- are on the board and your feet rest on solid ground. Raise up to a plank position and tighten your abdominals as you "draw" a circle with one hand, moving your hand in a circle about 1 foot in diameter. Draw the circle clockwise three times, and then counter-clockwise three times. Then switch hands. If you still have strength left, repeat for a second set.
Move back to a killer abdominal and core-strengthening and stabilizing exercise by doing moving pikes along the length of the slide board. This time, the booties should be on your feet, not your hands. Place your hands and feet on the board and assume the plank position. Spread your fingers wide to maintain as much stability as possible, and then brace your abdominals and begin to bend at the waist, moving your feet closer to your hands. Stop when the upper and lower sections of your body are at a 90-degree angle, and then carefully slide your feet back to the plank position.
Side Plank Crunch
If you've done the side plank or side pillar exercise, then you already know it's a good workout for the obliques. By incorporating some movement into the exercise, you'll be recruiting a number of stabilizing muscles in the pecs, shoulders, back and butt. Start by lying on your side with your feet in the middle of the slide board, your legs extending up along the length of the board, and your shoulder area off the top of the board. Place your weight on the forearm of the lower arm, keeping the forearm perpendicular to the rest of the body as you lift your hips off the board. When you are in the "up" position, your body should form a long line from upper shoulder to upper foot. Now comes the tricky part. Brace your abdominals as you bend your knees toward your chest, stopping when your knees are perpendicular to the rest of your body. Move back to the starting position and repeat 8 to 12 times; then switch sides.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.