Using a slant board is one of the most effective ways to radically improve the health of your feet, ankles, and legs.
Whether it’s injury rehab, flexibility/mobility development, or full blown strength training, the slant board is one of the most versatile pieces of training equipment you can own.
Today we’re going to take a look at some of the most effective exercises you can do on a slant board.
The benefits of doing these exercises regularly are simply insane.
I’ve separated the exercises into static stretches, followed by ‘knees over toes’ exercises (or general strength exercises), and lastly some specific exercises for certain leg injuries.
5 Best Slant Board Stretches
A slant board is possibly the most effective way stretch out the calves as well as the Achilles tendon and hamstrings.
For best results, hold each stretch for at least 90 seconds. I personally experienced huge flexibility gains from holding each stretch for 2 minutes.
Let’s quickly take a look at some basic but extremely effective stretching exercises you can do on a slant board.
1. Slant Board Wall Calf Stretch
To perform the wall calf stretch, stand on the slant board with both feet while leaning up against a wall.
Simply hold in the static position for at least 1.5-2 minutes.
You can increase the difficult of this stretch by raising your incline slightly (if you’re using an adjustable slant board) or by performing the stretch on one leg as shown below.
If you don’t have an adjustable slant board, you can move the slant board further away from the wall which will force you to lean at a sharper angle to rest your upper body on the wall.
2. Slant Board Toe Touches
Toe touches are a great way to get a deep hamstring stretch in.
Simply start with your toes elevated on the slant board and, while keeping your lower back in a neutral position, bend over and reach down towards your toes.
You can alter the difficulty of this stretch by standing partially or fully on the slant board and by increasing the incline.
3. Slant Board Soleus Stretch
The single leg slant board soleus stretch (tongue twister?) is performed by starting in a full single leg calf stretch and then pushing your knee as far forward as you can while keeping the heel down.
Find the point in the movement where the stretch is most intense and hold for 2 minutes.
The soleus stretch is also a great way of developing ankle mobility and Achilles tendon length.
4. Slant Board Single Leg Pike Stretch
The single leg pike stretch is another excellent way to stretch the hamstrings.
With 1 foot on the slant board, bend forward and touch your toes while keeping a neutral spine.
Be sure to maintain a slight knee bend (don’t lock your knee out).
5. Slant Board Jefferson Curl
The Jefferson curl can be done both as a stretch or as a strength exercise and targets the lower back and hamstrings.
The idea is to tuck your chin into your chest, flex your spine (i.e. bend your back) and, roll your spine forward one vertebrae at a time.
By doing this exercise on a slant board, you should get a deeper stretch in your hamstrings (as well as calves) for a fuller range of motion.
This is definitely one of the more advanced exercises so proceed with caution!
7 Best Knees Over Toes Slant Board Exercises
If you’re looking for more of a hardcore slant board workout, there’s plenty of really excellent strength exercises you can do to develop really strong quads and hamstrings.
Most of these exercises fall under the ‘knees over toes‘ training methodology which is geared towards increasing strength and mobility through developing your knee and ankle joints.
Let’s take a look at some of my favorites.
1. Slant Board VMO Squat/Cyclist Squat
The VMO or cyclist squat is simply a heel elevated squat using the slant board.
You can do these using a dumbbell to make them into a goblet squat, but remember the goal is to keep the stance fairly narrow and to maintain an upright back.
Your knees should protrude forward over the toes and not out to the sides.
You can do these with just your bodyweight or you can use kettlebells, dumbbells, or even a barbell.
For more detailed instructions on this exercise and why it’s so effective, be sure to check out my full article on slant board squats!
2. Slant Board Patrick Step
The Patrick step is a simple single leg stepdown which can be performed on a slant board.
Make sure your knee moves out over your toe and keep your other leg straight for balance.
If done correctly, you should feel a strong burn in your VMO.
3. Slant Board Split Squat
The slant board split squat is a great way of increasing the knee/quad activation during the typical split squat movement.
In a split stance, drive downward through your front knee using your rear leg only for stability.
Incline angle doesn’t matter too much here.
4. Slant Board Front Squat
Deep front squats are incredibly difficult without an elevated surface and some degree of lower back rounding is likely.
By using a slant board, you can hit full depth much easier with a straighter spine.
This exercise is no different to the VMO/cyclist squat, only that we’re using a barbell for load.
5. Rear Foot Elevated Deadlift
Using a kettlebell or dumbbell, stand on the slant board with one foot and lower the weight to the ground while focusing on shooting your hips backward instead of bending at the knee.
This is a great unilateral glute exercise.
6. Slant Board Tibialis Raise
The decline platform is the hardest variation of the tibialis raise.
Simply stand on the slant board and pull your toes up towards your knee using the muscles on your shins.
The higher you stand on the slant board, the tougher the exercise will be.
Squeeze at the top briefly before lowering and repeating until your shins are on fire!
7. Slant Board RDL
The slant board can be used to increase the range of motion in a typical Romanian deadlift.
As the hamstrings are engaged throughout the entire motion, the slant board will ease the load on your lower back and increase it on your hamstrings.
Be sure to take a look at my full list of knees over toes exercises.
3 Best Slant Board Exercises For Knee Pain
Depending on which specific type of knee pain you’re suffering from, you may like to choose different exercises.
I recommend having your knee pain diagnosed by a professional before doing any rehab exercises.
1. Slant Board Step Down
This is a modified/easier variation of the Patrick step.
The only difference is this step down is slower and more controlled and you finish the movement on the ground before stepping off and starting again.
If this is too easy, consider switching to the Patrick step if you can do it without pain.
2. Slant Board Patrick Step
When you’re ready to progress from the above movement, start incorporating the concentric movement by transitioning into a full Patrick step.
This is an effective way to develop the VMO while avoiding aggravating the knee.
Start with just the slant board to begin with and once that’s fairly easy, you can elevate the slant board on some weight plates to increase the range of motion.
3. Slant Board ATG Squats
ATG squats are no different to the VMO/cyclist squats we discussed earlier.
These full depth squats are one of the best ways to develop squat strength through the full range of motion.
Only perform these if you can do them without pain!
Best Slant Board Exercises For Plantar Fasciitis
As someone who’s gone through a bout of plantar fasciitis, I can completely understand how annoying life can be with this condition.
I was able to work through my fasciitis in a number of weeks, not months, and you might have similar results if you start regularly doing some of these exercises.
Slant Board Wall Calf Stretch For Plantar Fasciitis
The wall calf stretch is one of the best exercises you can do for plantar fasciitis with a slant board.
I discussed this exercise earlier but the key is to hold for quite a long time.
Aim for a couple sets of 2 minute holds, 3 times a day.
Scroll up to the first exercise in this article for more information on how you can make this stretch more difficult.
Slant Board Calf Raise
Calf raises are one of the best ways to remedy plantar fasciitis and doing them on a slant board is a great way of maximizing range of motion.
You can hold onto the wall or a piece of furniture for support while performing this exercise.
Try to only do calf raises every 2-3 days to give the muscles a chance to recover.
3 Best Slant Board Exercises For Achilles Tendonitis
Achilles tendinopathy rehab can also be performed using a slant board. Below are some of the more popular exercises for this ailment.
1. Slant Board Soleus Stretch For Achilles Tendonitis
The soleus stretch is performed by standing on a slant board and pushing your knee as far forwards as possible while your heel stays on the ground.
You should feel a strong tendon stretch down the back of your leg.
2. Up With 2, Down With 1
This is an advanced exercise I recommend doing under the supervision of a physical therapist.
It’s done by performing a normal bilateral calf raise on a slant board at around 25 degrees incline.
After reaching the top of the movement, come back down very slowly on the injured leg.
Physios recommend performing 50 reps 3 times per day, but warn that this is not an entry level exercise!
3. Slant Board Wall Calf Stretch For Achilles Tendonitis
One of the best ways to improve tendonitis is by simply lengthening the tendon and surrounding muscles.
Our standard slant board wall calf stretch is one of the best stretches for Achilles tendonitis.
Best Slant Board Exercises For Patella Tendonitis
As a former patella tendonitis sufferer, there are plenty of exercises I’ve already discussed in this article which will help improve the condition.
I’d recommend trying all of the knees over toes exercises to see which ones you can perform to strengthen your VMO without causing knee pain.
Here are a couple extra ideas I’ve not yet mentioned.
Slant Board Knee Circles
The idea of this exercise is to draw a semicircle in the air with your knees, going back and forth.
This exercise should reveal any range of motion imbalances you may have in each leg.
Slant Board Wall Calf Stretch For Patella Tendonitis
I’ve already mentioned the slant board wall calf stretch several times, but it works great for patella tendonitis as well.
One extra variation you can try is to shoot your hips backwards and climb down the wall with your upper body.
This will produce an epic stretch down the backs of your legs.
Best Slant Board Exercises For Ankle Mobility
Any of the aforementioned stretches will go a long way to developing ankle mobility.
Similarly, any of the strength exercises which utilize that full ‘ass to grass’ range of motion will also tend to positively impact ankle mobility.
Here’s one extra exercise you can try.
Slant Board Ankle Drivers
The idea of the ankle drivers is to ‘pulse’ into a typical slant board calf stretch using your hips and knees.
You should start with your knee in line with your toes, but you can also try a variation where your knee pushes over your pinky toe or big toe – the idea is to pulsate that ankle joint from multiple angles.
How Long Should I Stand On A Slant Board?
If you’re looking to develop flexibility by using a slant board, you should hold the stretch for an absolute minimum of 90 seconds.
I prefer and have had better results holding each stretch for 2 minutes.
This gives the muscles plenty of time to relax and lengthen which will create a lasting effect on your flexibility.
Possibly the biggest mistake people make when using a slant board is not holding the stretch for long enough!
Which Slant Board To Use?
There’s tons of slant boards on the market, many of which are a waste of money, and others that are really worthwhile.
Be sure to check out the following roundup article to get a good idea of which products make sense for you.