A slant board can be any board with one end mounted higher than the other. Typically, one end is mounted anywhere from 6 inches to 2 feet off the floor and the other end is fixed to the floor. A number of fitness companies have built adjustable, padded slant boards complete with foot restraints. Most enthusiasts prefer the prefabricated slant boards.
The slant board can be used for two different kinds of exercises: static and active. The static exercises entail simply laying on the machine with your head towards the floor and breathing deeply for 5 minutes. This will help massage and tone the internal organs, and relieve stress. The active exercises are far more vigorous, and involve bends and lifts of the torso and legs.
The earliest archaeological record depicts Roman gladiators training their abdominal muscles by means of a Roman Chair. The goal of the Roman Chair was to isolate and strengthen the abdominal muscles. The slant board as we know it today may have been adopted from the fitness equipment imported along with Shotokan Karate in the late 1940s.
Amongst the fitness community, there is a propensity to dismiss the slant board as nothing more than a platform for abdominal exercise. Nevertheless, the slant board is an effective, clinical tool for lowering stress levels and inducing relaxation.
Slant board exercises, both static and active, have the potential to build a fully stabilized core, and release a tremendous amount of stress and tension. For Pilates or Yoga enthusiasts, a slant board session interspersed two or three times a week can do veritable wonders. The dual nature of the slant board makes it an invaluable fitness and relaxation tool.
Slant boards are effective tools when used in conjunction with popular body weight exercises, specifically planks. A plank is an exercise that requires the enthusiast to hold himself in a prone position until muscle fatigue sets in. The most popular plank involves a modified push-up position, as illustrated in the accompanying picture.
Consult your doctor before starting any kind of physical exercise, especially if you have been sedentary. Likewise, people with high blood pressure, ulcers or pregnant women should consult their doctors before using a slant board.