The slant board is a piece of fitness equipment that has been greatly increasing in popularity in recent years. Low cost, simple to use, and offering a great number of benefits, people have started to purchase them in their droves, to see what all the fuss is about for themselves.
However, with such a basic design, there have also been many people deciding not to buy a slant board and to create one for themselves instead. While this may sound like a difficult and perhaps unwise idea with most pieces of fitness kit, with a slant board there is no real reason why you can’t.
If you do decide to go this route though, it is essential for both the effectiveness of the product and your own safety that you do it right. Luckily, it is a task that the majority of people will be up to.
So, if you are looking for a project that combines exercise and construction, join me as I take you through a detailed guide on how to make your own DIY slant board that matches all your needs.
What Is A Slant Board?
A slant board is a small, simple fitness equipment designed primarily to benefit the lower body. Used to stretch the ankles and calves, it can strengthen and condition the bones and connective tissues in the area and can even benefit some parts of the upper legs and core as well.
Normally made from durable, lightweight materials like plastic and wood, slant boards usually (but not always) feature an angle of between 20 and 25 degrees, which is where they get their name. Invented in the early 1900s, they have been popular since at least the late 1940s.
Why Should You Build A DIY Slant Board?
A slant board isn’t usually one of the more expensive pieces of fitness equipment on the market, so there will be many who question why they would build one, as opposed to simply buying one. Well, there are a few answers to that question.
Firstly, you have the ability to create a board with an angle that is perfect for your own wants and needs. This means you are guaranteed to have a slant board that allows you to do your stretches and exercises how you see fit, which may not be possible when purchasing one off of the shelf.
Sticking with the theme of customisation, the DIY route gives you the ability to tailor a slant board to be exactly what you want from the product. Whether this be how the slant board looks or how it feels while you are using it, there is nothing stopping you from making it exactly how you want.
Finally, while slant boards aren’t usually too expensive, that doesn’t mean you can’t still save a little money. Provided you have the tools and technical know-how, buying the raw materials and putting a slant board together yourself can be a much cheaper option that can even offer a fun little project.
Preparing To Build Your Own DIY Slant Board
Once you have decided to build your own DIY slant board, it is important you set out a clear plan, rather than just diving in. With that in mind, we will now take a look at each of the steps you need to take, before you begin actually building your slant board.
Choosing The Dimensions
The dimensions are one of the first and most important things you need to consider as you begin to make your own DIY slant board. When you start to lay out your plans, you must factor in things like where it’ll be used and what your main goals are, to decide things like its angle, length, and width.
A common set of dimensions for a portable slant board is 12 inches (W) x 10.6 inches (D) (30.5 cm x 27 cm). As you are making a board from scratch, you can change these common dimensions though, to ensure you get a board that is more suitable for your own foot size and exercise routines.
You also need to know the angle that you want to use on the slant board. The most common option is from 20 to 25 degrees, but you will also often find slant boards with an angle of up to 45 degrees.
A height of around 5.5 inches (14 cm) will give you an angle of around 20 degrees, and each inch (2.5 cm) you add will increase this by around 2.75 degrees.
Deciding If It Will Be Adjustable Or Reinforced
Some slant boards are adjustable, which is a great benefit if you want to do stretches at a variety of different angles and achieve the best results. Adjustable slant boards often also fold down totally flat, which makes them a great option for those worried about transporting or storing one.
However, this more intricate design will make an adjustable DIY slant board a harder product to build, while having moving parts can also make it less durable and stable.
You need to work out which mix of variety and compactness or stability and durability is more important to you in a slant board before deciding which one to make and beginning its construction.
Some slant boards are also made with a reinforced design. This makes it much stronger and more durable, and it is a very good idea for heavier users or those who plan to do stretches or exercises on one while using weights. It does, however, also make a reinforced slant board much heavier.
Work out if your weight or planned use for a slant board will need this extra reinforcement or if the greater weight will be too much of a negative before you choose whether or not to add this feature.
Collecting The Materials
A slant board only requires a small selection of materials to build, but it is extremely important to make sure you choose the correct ones and get them all together before you start the project if you want it to be successful.
While commercial slant boards are often made from wood or plastic, you will want to make your DIY slant board with wood, as it is much easier to work with. Decide on the type of wood you want to use and try to pick an option that is attractive and strong but not too hard to cut, such as pine.
You will need to get one piece for the bottom of the slant, which will provide the support and a large top piece that will serve as the platform on which you stand. You can also incorporate two side pieces and a back piece if you which, as they will make it both more durable and more attractive.
In addition to the wood, you will also need screws, nails, a powerful wood glue, or a selection of all three, to ensure you can fasten all the wood together as securely as possible.
Tools You Will Need
Once you have all the necessary materials, you must get the tools required to put everything together.
If your wood hasn’t already been cut to size for you, you will need a saw to trim it down to your measurements. A mitre saw is a great handheld option, while a circular power saw can make the job easier if you already have one, although they are quite expensive so you may not want to buy one.
A drill is useful if you want to join the pieces of wood together using screws, as you will first need to make the holes for them to go in. However, if you aren’t worried about being able to take your slant board apart again, some people may prefer to use a nail or hot glue gun instead.
You will also need a ruler and an alignment guide to make sure everything is cut correctly and fits together well. A protractor can also be extremely helpful for getting all of the angles right. If you want to use screws, you will also need to make sure you also have a screwdriver to hand.
Anyone who wants to customise their slant board may also want to think about getting some sandpaper, brushes, and varnish or paint as well. If you decide to go this route, make sure you get one that will give a smooth yet non-slippery finish, which also won’t stain your clothes.
How To Build A DIY Slant Board
You want to start out by putting your plan down on paper, as this is vital to make sure the slant board comes out as you expect. A great way to do this is to draw the assembled structure with all of the measurements on the sides, so you can clearly visualise what the end product should look like.
You then need to carefully and precisely cut each of the pieces of wood that will form the sections of the slant board into their required sizes and shapes. Make sure you use guidance tools like a ruler, pencil, and even a protractor to help you get straight cuts and the correct angles.
During this stage, you must remember that cuts that even slightly deviate from the plan can cause the pieces to not fit together properly. This can cause effects varying from a slant board that doesn’t work properly to one that simply can’t be used at all.
With all the pieces cut right, you now need to begin putting your DIY slant board together. Use your chosen adhesive method here, which could include screws, nails, glue, or a combination of all three.
Begin with the base and start adding the other pieces to it. Add the main surface next, as this is the most important, then do the sides and back last (if you are using them), as these can be cut down if they aren’t quite right. If you have used glue, you now need to leave the slant board to dry.
Once everything is dry and assembled, you can add any final touches that affect the appearance of the board. If you plan to paint or varnish it, you should first sand off the surface of the slant board, to ensure a smooth finish. Once it has dried, you may also want to consider giving it a second coat.
Try A Quick, Low Budget DIY Slant Board Alternative First
Making your own DIY slant board isn’t the hardest task but it will still take a fair deal of work and commitment to complete. For those who aren’t 100 percent sure that building or even buying a slant board is for them, why not try making a quick, low-budget version to try out first instead.
For a temporary solution, you can try things like placing a flat, square piece of wood on the edge of a step or resting on a thicker piece of wood. Some people have even taken to options such as filling a lever arch file with something hard enough to allow it to support your weight.
These and other similar options will all create a temporary angle that mimics that of a slant board. While not a long-term option to use going forward, it will at least let you test out a slant board and see how it feels, to make sure you will actually use one before you start building your own.
How Do You Use A Slant Board?
Slant boards are extremely easy to use for most people, as they can be utilised by simply standing on the sloped side. The direction your toes face will depend on the exercise you are doing and whether you are trying to strengthen, stretch, or develop the muscles and joints in the area.
If you have an adjustable slant board where you can change its angle, you will also be able to stretch through various ranges of motion. These can be slightly less stable but offer better development of the bones, joints, and muscles in your legs.
Slant board sessions can range from around 4 to 5 minutes for beginners, while experienced users can stretch this up to about 10 minutes. Outside of your legs, you will feel the benefits of slant boards in some other areas too, like your back, chest, and shoulders.
Slant boards are extremely beneficial, but there are always risks involved with exercising, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or injuries. Always use your slant board as directed, listen to your body, and seek professional advice if you are unsure on anything regarding its use.
What Are The Benefits Of Slant Boards?
Despite their simple design, slant boards offer a range of benefits for both the lower and upper parts of the body. Let’s quickly take a look at some of the most popular benefits it can offer, to give you a clear picture of what you can hope to achieve by using a slant board.
Encourages Greater Balance & Stability
Slant boards are often used to improve a user’s balance, and this can be done by simply standing on them. Standing on it in different positions, it will force the muscles and joints in the lower body to work to keep you stable, helping them to develop.
The most common way to achieve this is by performing stretches on a slant board, as its angle will create sustained tension for the duration of the stretch. This will work the entirety of all the ligaments, muscles, and tendons in your lower body.
It also boosts the strength of your hip and leg muscles, further improving your balance and stability.
Helps With Inflammation & Rehabilitation
Using a slant board helps to reduce inflammation even more than traditional stretching, as it increases the blood flow to the muscles even further. This not only supplies it with as much oxygen and nutrients as possible but also improves its tensile strength, maximising the effects of stretching.
Doing this right after a session is the most beneficial option, as the muscles will be warm and easy to stretch through their full range of motion, with little to no risk of injury. This can even make it useful for treating conditions like arthritis, Achilles tendonitis, patellar tendonitis, and other similar issues.
Add in their ability to strengthen and stabilise joints and slant boards are increasingly becoming a popular addition to top rehabilitation centres. Stronger joints, reduced inflammation, and better balance can all be combined to enhance a person’s ability to walk.
Slant boards are even useful as they shift a user’s centre of gravity forward. This will help to strengthen the stabiliser muscles and connective tissues throughout the lower body, improving your balance, reducing your chance of injury, and enhancing your posture.
Enhances Exercise Recovery & Reduces Post Workout Soreness
Slant boards are also a great tool to use to warm up or cool down before or after a workout. This is because performing your pre and post-workout stretches on a slant board can make them significantly more effective.
By allowing the stretches to get deep into every fibre of each muscle, they can stop lactic acid from building up. As a result, you will experience much fewer aches and pains after a session, your recovery time will be faster, and your results are likely to be improved.
While it may be easy to just go out and buy one of the best slant boards on the market, there are a number of reasons to build your own DIY slant board. These include saving money and gaining max flexibility with its angle and appearance to the simple enjoyment of completing the project yourself.
This guide will hopefully have given you all the information you need to know about slant boards to make one that matches all of your wants and needs. From the slant board exercises and stretches you do to the goals you hope to achieve, your DIY slant board will allow you to train how you see fit.
So, what are you waiting for? All you have to do now is draw up your plans and buy your tools and equipment, so you can reap all the rewards that slant boards offer for yourself as soon as possible.
Steve is a retired professional wrestler with over 10 years of experience in the personal fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer working with a wide variety of athletes as well as a fitness writer.