Every few years we see new tools come to the mainstream. Recently, we’ve been seeing a lot of these tools where people are essentially squatting on an inclined surface.
This is great, in many ways. We’re getting people doing the simple, foundational squat. Best of all, in a position that is more accessible.
The problem arises when we’re only squatting with this tool or are not progressing toward the feet being on the ground. So, how and why use a slant board in the first place?
Slant boards are a tool, and our goal is to be able to move freely and with confidence in any position. This includes squatting on an incline or on the ground. In this guide, we’ll go over how to use a slant board properly and how to incorporate it in our long-term goals.
What Are Slant Boards Used For?
Slant board squat offers a versatile approach to your fitness routine. They enable a greater range of motion and provide benefits for various muscle groups.
Slant board exercises are best for individuals with ankle mobility restrictions. They help you reach the end ranges of your knee and hip.
Those dealing with conditions like plantar fasciitis and tightness in calf muscles can benefit from it the most. Incorporating gentle calf stretches and nurturing the Achilles tendon contributes to holistic relief and mobility.
When you stand on the slant board correctly, you reduce the need for excessive dorsiflexion. It can help alleviate knee pain and promote better knee-over-toe positioning, particularly when targeting the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) . The modified foot placement on these slant board exercises fortifies the VMO muscles and enhances knee stability.
The benefits of using a slant board can be life-changing with consistency. Here’s how to use slant boards to get you started, along with easy and effective slant board stretches
Dr. Starrett’s Guide: How To Use a Slant Board Properly
Slant board squats vs. ground squats changes essentially one thing: your foot position. It removes that dorsiflexion element, allowing you to squat with your torso more upright. It also reduces the pronounced relationship from the foot to the knee.
If you have acute or chronic restrictions, this is where a tool like this is useful. It removes dorsiflexion which improves accessibility to the bottom of the squat. This is why so many lifters like a shoe with a big heel wedge. Without dorsiflexion at the end ranges, there’s easier access to the bottom of the squat.
Very commonly, people with ankle mobility are often unable to perform a full squat.The slant board is a great workaround for accessing the end ranges of your knee and hip by bypassing your ankle mobility.
Bonus: Maximize slant board squat benefits with Jefferson Curls. Stand on the slant board with both feet shoulder-width apart. Then, flex your spine gradually from the neck down. To leverage the slant board’s angle for a full range of motion and better control, try to bend your knees slightly.
This strength training exercise helps stretch and strengthen the spine, hamstrings, and lower back. Maintain a slow and controlled movement pattern throughout. Gradually increase the board’s angle to intensify the stretch as you progress in flexibility and mobility.
Why People Love Olympic Lifting Shoes
Torque and hip stability are two reasons why shoes with a heel wedge have become so popular in the Olympic lifting community.
Keeping the feet on the ground, the weight supported in the arches places rotational demand on the hip. Add in the need to keep the torso upright, and you amplify this effect. Under load, you’ll need to shove the knees out more to stablize your femur and hip and elevate your torso.
For many, using Olympic lifting shoes reduces the need for skill and range of motion in the bottom position. However, it doesn’t help improve your movement competency, coordination, and movement transfer.
When Using A Slant board Becomes Problematic
God only knows how often people have said “only squat with your heels on the ground.” Let’s clear the air. I want you to be able to squat in any position you need to.But with heels on the ground as your ultimate archetype.
Using a slant board becomes problematic when it’s the only squatting you do.How much time are you spending in a squat daily? As it happens, this very question is the first video we ever made. How much time are you spending in a squat? A slant board should not be the only time you’re addressing this fundamental position.
Remember that practice doesn’t make perfect.Practice makes permanent. Squatting on a slant board or on your toes may work in this controlled environment. But when you have to squat or land in a heels-on-ground position out in the wild, you might run into some complications.
If you’re using one of these slant boards, do so with the progressive goal of squatting with your heels on the ground. Reduce the angle of the board as much as you are able over time.
Follow our routines in The Ready State Virtual Mobility Coach to work on opening up your ankle mobility. This hack gets your feet on the ground. We have some great tools for helping you reach that ass-to-grass squat you’re looking for. Check out the 14 day squat challenge and the 10 minute squat test.
So to wrap it up, slant boards and Olympic lifting shoes are great tools. They bypass ankle mobility range of motion requirements to allow easier access to the bottom of the squat. This is a useful tool for progression. However, it should not be the only position you are squatting in. Practice makes permanent. Our goal for you is movement competency in the wild, not just in the gym.
Reap the benefits of slant boards the right way, the TRS way.