The slant board is an incredible piece of exercise equipment that has helped thousands of people strengthen their quad muscles and knee joints! Using a slant board in your workouts can help reduce your chance of injury, improve your biomechanics and make your training more productive. In this article, we discover how using a slant board reduces the chance of injury.
A key benefit of using a slant board when doing quad exercises such as squats is that the slant board position makes any squatting exercise a more direct quad exercise. The slant board squat especially works the vastus medialis, or VMO, head of the quadriceps. This is the tear-drop shaped muscle that sits directly above the knee on the inner side of the thigh.
The VMO is the quadricep muscle that most directly stabilizes the knee when you are doing a squatting motion. Squatting is something that we do every time we get off a chair or go to the bathroom. Weak VMO muscles are by far the most common structural imbalance issue of the lower body. This results in knee complications and imbalance problems that cause fall injuries.
The VMO is responsible for knee extension. So, the more the knee travels over the toes when you are squatting, the more VMO activation there will be. Squatting with elevated heels (like when using a slant board), brings your knees out over your toes. The lower you squat, the more knee-over-toes action you will get. That means that the slant board squat is an ideal exercise to target the VMO muscles, and in turn, this strengthens the musculature that surrounds and activates the knee joint, helping…
- Less stress on the knee joint
- Greater mobility through the knee area
- Increased lower body balance
An additional related benefit of squatting with a slant board is that it allows people who are not very flexible to squat deeper than if they had their heels on the floor. This brings the knees more over the toes which, in turn, activates the VMO even more.
The tibialis is the muscle at the front of your lower leg. Its job is to flex the foot and allow for up and down movement of the foot. Yet it is a muscle that most people have never heard of, let alone one that they regularly exercise.
It’s no surprise, then, that most people have weak tibialis muscles. As we get into our golden years, that weakness becomes more and more apparent with mobility issues. Sportspeople, too, can come unstuck from weak tibialis muscles. This is especially so when they come to a sudden stop or are leaping vertically.
The slant board is a fantastic way to work the tibialis. Check out this article for an awesome slant board tibialis workout [link to tibialis article].
Slant Board Body Positioning
Standing on a slant board allows you to achieve an upright, natural body position when you are performing any type of squatting movement. One of the biggest problems with squatting is that the lower back has a tendency to round. This increases the sheer force on the spine. This creates a horizontal force that acts in tandem with the vertical force of gravity. Prolonged rounded back squats can result in extreme spinal stress, prolapse, or herniated discs.
Many people have inherently injury-prone lower backs before they even start exercising. Squatting with a rounded back is only going to aggravate the problem.
When you stand on a slant board, you elevate your heels. This pushes your pelvis forward slightly in the standing position. Then when you squat, you will remain in a more upright position throughout the movement.
When you use a slant board, whether you have a weight on your back or not, you will find it virtually impossible to round your back when squatting. You can prove that to yourself right now by squatting with your heels on a book or board that elevates them a few inches.
As a result of your body positioning on a slant board, your chance of lower back injury is greatly reduced.
In addition to the above injury-reducing benefits of the slant board, you’ll also be able to perform some terrific stretching and balance exercises for your lower body, which will help to keep you safe. All-in-all, the slant board is a pretty smart training investment if you want to remain healthy and injury free.