Exercise Machines That Glide Side to Side

Inline skater by beach

Get your body primed for recreational sports by exercising with machines that glide from side to side. Laterally gliding machines exercise areas of your body that are difficult to tone and are gentle on your joints and ligaments. In some cases, your physical therapist may recommend one to assist in rehabilitating an injury. While these machines share the side-to-side motion, muscle groups that are targeted vary. Always check with your family physician before attempting any exercise routine.

Slide Boards

A slide board has a solid, slippery base that comes in widths from 6 to 8 feet with bumpers to stop you from slipping off the ends. Booties fit over your shoes and increase your speed or provide resistance. The slide board is designed to condition your lower-body muscle groups and improve core strength, balance and agility as you move from side to side. This lateral movement targets muscles that you do not use on a daily basis but you frequently use in sports like skating, skiing, basketball and hockey. Many physical therapists also use slide boards to rehabilitate injured knees and torn anterior cruciate ligaments.

Lateral Ski/Skate Trainers

Lateral ski trainers mimic the side-to-side motion that slalom skiers use. But how the machines accomplish this movement varies by device. Platform cross trainers have a rounded bottom surface. You stand on two moving boards and slide your body back and forth laterally as though you are skiing. They offer different levels of resistance to strengthen your muscles while being gentle on your joints and ligaments. Another type of lateral ski trainer is the ski/skate trainer. You stand on foot pedals, hold on to a handrail and use the same stride as you would to ski or speed skate. Some devices add electricity to power magnetic motor-driven resistance systems.

Lateral Leg Exercisers

Side-to-side leg exercising machines are designed to glide laterally, and the exercise movement is similar. Place each foot on a platform, which is attached to a track, hold on to the hand rail, push your legs away from each other and glide them back toward the center. Some lateral leg exercisers use a pulse-resistance technology to increase resistance to tone your inner and outer thighs. Instead of standing on a gliding leg machine, you can use a kneeling thigh machine. Place each knee on a gliding platform attached to a track using resistance cords, hold on to the handrail and glide your legs away from each other and back together again. Because you are kneeling, the side-to-side thigh gliders are designed to target your hips, thighs and buttocks.

Passive Toning Machines

Passive toning machines -- also known as toning tables -- resemble a doctor’s examination table. You lie on your side with your head propped up on one elbow. The upper portion of the table is stationary while the lower portion moves your body from side to side. The tables provide a gentle lateral stretch designed to improve your flexibility and increase your blood flow.