Below is an XR-Slide – I admit I’ve had mine sitting in my sample cupboard for weeks now, but funnily enough sliding about my bedroom on two pieces of plastic never really felt like the type of thing I wanted to do either before my weekend long run – or directly after it, so I’ve been ignoring it. However my body got very confused by my switching my runs to Friday and Saturday last weekend and was itching to do some kind of exercise on Sunday so, I got it out of its packet. I was assuming it wouldn’t be that good. What’s that saying? ‘Assume makes an ass out of u and me’ – well if that’s true, mine will be awesome.
The premise is simple – there are two foam pads set on top of pieces of plastic. You put the Slides on the carpet, plastic down and place either your feet or your hands on top and them do moves like lunges – in about three different directions, mountain climbers, reverse curls and adductor moves. Because the slides are, erm slidey the moves are easier to execute, but harder to control than they would be normally, this leads to some serious muscle engagement, two sets of lunges had the middle of my thighs burning and I was out of puff with the mountain climbers as they allowed me to go faster than I would normally.
On the piece of paper I was following there were 15 different moves, which if you did them all would give you a great all over body workout. They don’t tell you how long to do anything for but I was working on either the 3×20 or one minute for moves like Mountain Climbers and was pretty achy by the end of it. Another less formal idea, it actually feels like being on the cross trainer so you could just slide back and forth for a while and get a fairly good at home lower body workout – if you had the patience of a saint. I did also discover that they make twisting moves rather fun – cue happy few minutes going ‘up and down and round and round’ in the manner of Chubby Checker. I may keep them by my desk and do that every time I need a bit of fun in my day.
However, if you’re excited by the sound of this, hold off – it seems you don’t get the instructional bit of paper with the product if you order it today. Thought they tell me it’s going into all orders as of later this week. If you can’t wait until then, they do offer free videos like the one above on the website but my problem with those is that they assume a level of efficiency that you might not have as a beginner. This could see people going a bit faster than they should before they get used to the gizmo – and therein lies potential muscle pulling, or the vision I had in my head of having to call some kind of emergency service because you’ve got stuck in a wide legged pose that you can’t quite get yourself out of. My top piece of advice if you do use the videos is don’t try and keep up, work at the speed at which you can control the movement – which, depending on your muscle tone may be a lot slower than the models online. But better slow everyday, than fast one day and at the physio the next.
In summary, yes, they look gimmicky, but they do actually kick your butt – and at £24.99 they’re pretty cheap too. Find them via panacea-life.com in the UK, xrslide.com.au in Australia. If you’re in the US, the Valslide by celebrity trainer Valerie Waters (she counts Jessica Biel and Jennifer Garner among her clients) is the same idea. You’ll find that at amazon.com