Exercises You Should Be Doing: Slideboard Bodysaw

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NOTE: I know I just did an Exercises You Should Be Doing installment not too long ago, but I needed something short and quick this morning, so you’re stuck with another one. Don’t you do it! Don’t you roll your eyes at me! I’ll turn this car right around. Don’t test me.

What Is It: Slideboard Bodysaw. For the record, however, if you don’t have access to a slideboard, you can also perform this exercise using a pair of Valslides.

So, in essence, this could also be called the Valslide Bodysaw, or the I’m Too Cheap to Buy a Valslide so I’ll Use This Folded Up Towel On the Gym Floor Instead Bodysaw. Whatever floats your boat.

Who Did I Steal It From: Mike Boyle, in his book Advances in Functional Training, which coincidentally, I briefly discussed yesterday.

What Does It Do: While most fitness enthusiasts- and professionals for that matter- believe the main role of the abdominals is to perform trunk flexion (i.e. countless repetitions of crunches/sit-ups), they may be surprised to find out that their abdominals aren’t, you know, a hamstring.

I’ve discussed my disdain for crunches numerous times, so I won’t belabor the point here. Needless to say, while trunk flexion is certainly one of the primary functions, the abdominals ( rectus abdominus, internal/external obliques, as well as the transverse abdominus), are also responsible for resisting trunk extension, posterior pelvic tilt, and most importantly, transmission of hoop stress; the latter being a fancy name for anti-rotation/stability.

With respect to anti-rotation/stability, most trainees are quick to bemoan the idea of planks. And to be quite frank, I’m right there with them. I mean, planks are about as exciting as a Matchbox 20 concert. Except in the case of planks, I have less of an urge to cut my penis off. Nonetheless, planks do serve a purpose, and as I’ve stated in the past, I’d rather make them harder than longer. Which is exactly what the bodysaw does!

Key Coaching Cues: While squeezing the glutes and keeping the abs tight, assume a plank position with the feet on the slideaboard. Your eyes should be looking directly at your fists to start. From there, simply “push” yourself away (driving through the elbows) as far as you can without your hips dipping. Return back to the starting position, and repeat. Trust me, it’s more challenging than it looks!

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