Comparison of a PowerSkater vs. the Lateral Slide Board

How does the PowerSkater compare to a lateral slide board? “It doesn’t. The lateral slide board has been used by many hockey players to strengthen their muscles, improve their stride and knee bend. The movement does not mimic proper skating technique, for it is from side to side as well as thrusting your weight from side to side. You can create bad habits on a lateral slide board which will actually slow you down on the ice. The PowerSkater and ProSkater replicates the skating movement and uses your energy and muscles correctly.”

                 slide board vs

Importance of Skating to Hockey: If you can’t skate you can’t play the game! We all know that. Skating skills can make the difference between every level of player from Squirts to Juniors to the NHL. If you don’t take skating skill seriously, you are missing out on the basic understanding of the foundation of the game. Successful hockey players are great skaters who work diligently on their skating skills. Nothing, including Slide Boards, PowerSkaters, or Skating Treadmills can replace ice. Getting adequate ice time is naturally very important. Off-ice training tools can assist a player in their athleticism and skill.

Skating Technique: Skating is legs, legs, legs, thus building up your lower body for skating is very important. What makes up a good skater? If you said balance, power, strength, and agility you are right, but what does that mean to a hockey player? First of all, skating has been compared to “Ballet on Ice” because the player is on a very unstable surface with a very narrow blade where they are excelling and moving in all directions, therefore having good balance is critical. Power comes from the push, body angles, knee flexions, extensions, ankles, body lean, and controlled returns. Speed comes out of great technique and quickness of your feet from push off to return. Agility is tied a lot to balance, using your edges, and control. Strength comes from conditioning and strength in your lower body and core. You want your movement to be in the direction of travel – if you are skating forward all your movement needs to be forward. You do not want your movement to have any side to side action for this will slow you down and fight the direction of travel.

Slide Board Mechanical Design: A slide board – also called a lateral exercise trainer – is a large smooth surface with blocks on each side to push off from and stop the sliding movements. Typically the material consists of a slippery plastic surfaces were booties are worn on the athlete’s feet to allow movement across the distance of the board. Distances vary from 6 to 10ft. in length and are usually 24” wide. Thickness of material varies from an 1/8th – ½” thick depending on retail selling price making most slide boards light enough in weight to be portable.

Purpose of a slide board: Slide boards are designed to condition and target the lower body muscle groups: quads, hamstrings, glutes, and the primary joints of the knees, ankles, and hips. The slide board can assist in developing lateral speed, agility, coordination, balance, and explosive power, all attributes to skating and to condition the muscles used for lateral movements in numerous sports, including field hockey, football, soccer, basketball, and baseball.

PowerSkater Mechanical Design: A PowerSkater is a 90 degree track design with a truck (carriage) that rolls almost frictionless free down the track. Specially designed resistance bands are attached to each truck to provide a load for each truck as it travels down the track. The unit is primarily made from extruded aluminum with a steel mounting plate connecting each track. The truck is centered in the track with 8 wheels containing 36 sealed ball bearings. The steel mounting plate contains a hook mechanism that locks the opposing truck when one truck is moved down the track. The player stands on the truck at the apex of the machine. When they push off with their pushing leg their leg travels 45 degrees back behind their body.

Purpose of a PowerSkater: The PowerSkater was designed to mimic the biomechanical movement of skating as well as condition the lower body muscle groups: quads, hamstrings, glutes, and the primary joints of the knee, ankles, and hips. Movement is out and back behind the body and not side to side. Each push is loaded out and back, thus each push and return has a loaded concentric and eccentric movement. Movement is specific to proper skating technique. Power comes from firing your glutes – maximus, minimus, and medius. Quickness and acceleration comes from the explosive push developed by driving against a load. Power skating focus is on stride depth + stride length, which is same for the PowerSkater. On-ice, however, using edges, players need human motion to power the leg from an explosive start through a full long stride – but harnessing the muscles to APPLY power – this is trained by pushing against a load. The PowerSkater is a tremendous developer of the Core since the abdominals and back must activate so the legs have something to produce leverage against for the push to drive the load to full extension.

Key Points to a Slide Board:

  • develop strong quads
  • builds muscles in the inner and outer thighs
  • strengthens the ligaments of the hip and knee joints
  • provides an aerobic activity that increases overall fitness.
  • improves balance
  • condition the muscles used for lateral movements
  • push-glide motion
  • movement is side to side
  • loading is gravity and weight

Key Points to a PowerSkater:

  • develop strong quads
  • builds muscles in the inner and outer thighs
  • strengthens the ligaments of the hip and knee joints
  • provides an aerobic activity that increases overall fitness.
  • Improves balance – weight transfer under load
  • condition the muscles used for lateral movements
  • concentric and eccentric loading
  • movement is forward and backward
  • loading from resistance bands from light to overload

Key Differences:

  • Skating is NOT a side to side motion, the Skating Slide Board is all side to side
  • PowerSkater loads both sides of the muscles – concentric and eccentric
  • PowerSkater allows the push off and return in the same direction as actual skating
  • PowerSkater allows for upper body freedom to move forward and backward
  • Slide Board loading is dependent on weight and gravity
  • PowerSkater loading is from progressive resistance bands of various loads
  • PowerSkater teaches skating technique

Learning the motor skills for skating is critical at a young age; the older the player the harder it is to correct bad habits. It is imperative that a young skater learn the proper technique and posture for skating. Teaching a young player to sway from side to side will adversely affect their skating mechanics. Neither product replaces ice, but many key elements of skating can be taught on a PowerSkater as opposed to a skating slide board. Both condition the lower body but ONLY one device does it in a biomechanical movement similar to power skating technique. Overloading a young player’s joints can be harmful to their safety. The PowerSkater allows for varying loads appropriate to the age and strength of the athlete using it.