Brrrn Board: Slide into Strengthening and Aerobic Fitness
The Brrrn Board is a modern iteration of a glide (or slide) board — users don shoe coverings and laterally glide back and forth over its slippery surface. Most commonly seen in physical therapy and sports rehabilitation scenarios, slide boards are also used in sport-specific training, particularly for ice-skating events like speed skating and hockey. But the Brrrn Board is marketed as home gym equipment.
I have been rehabilitating from a traumatic knee injury for a few years and welcomed the Brrrn Board as an adjunct to a comprehensive program to get me back to action in several outdoor sports. I initially viewed the board as a way to strengthen muscles used for lateral motion, but after four months of use, I discovered it was a legitimate form of zero-impact aerobic work. The board would be a great addition to anyone active in sports, particularly since most cease lateral movements once they leave the typical stick-and-ball sports of youth.
Disclaimer: l have a kinesiology degree, a massive base of experience in physical therapy (both as an athlete and for work), and I’m an American College of Sportsmedicine certified trainer. I have aided in over 65 national or world championships, and I’m a curmudgeon when it comes to fitness equipment. I am the worst person to review a fitness item if you are just fishing for a positive review. I assume most products are recycled from the past, with a marketing spin, and built to last only long enough for the next fad to start. I initially assumed the Brrrn Board was such a product since slide boards are nothing new. (Just so you know.)
Brrrn Board Basics
In basic terms, the Brrrn Board is a low friction surface with wood bumpers on each end. Low friction shoe covers and mittens complete the glide board system. The wood bumpers, which have foam pads to protect feet, allow pushing off, while numerous rubber pads on the underside of the board keep it all in place during use.
The black gliding surface is a substantial chunk of plastic; stiff and ½-inch thick, it gave the impression that the Brrrn Board was a permanent addition to my home gym equipment arsenal. The 2.25-inch-tall wood bumpers felt equally stout. The 31-pound weight of my 6-foot-tall adjustable version added to the sense of durability and quality.
Brrrn uses a synthetic woven fabric for the slide booties and mittens. Lastly, a pack of Armor-All Wipes is included to clean and enhance the slipperiness of the board.
My 6-foot board allows for adjustment of the “playing” surface from its full length down to 5 feet, and the MSRP is $299. A 5-foot, non-adjustable version for folks under 5’5” sells for MSRP $229.
Brrrn Board Review: Great Knee Rehab
I immediately found the Brrrn Board to be an ideal way to introduce lateral forces to my affected side, from waist down. It was blatantly apparent I had yet to adequately stress my lower body laterally. Everything from my hip to my foot ached during my first session. And, since my feet never left the board, the motion was zero-impact, making it a safe way to introduce lateral forces compared to other activities.
As I progressed in my rehabilitation, I could attack the board with more intensity, and within weeks I was able to go as hard as my aerobic capacity allowed. I could still feel a difference between sides, but it consistently diminished, proving the benefit to my overall rehabilitation program.
The board and booties are no worse for the wear, and a bi-weekly wipe down with the Armor-All Wipes kept everything functioning perfectly.
The bumpers live on the ends, or one bumper can move a foot inward. I am 6 feet tall and consider myself a lifelong athlete, so I had no problems using the whole board from the beginning. But the narrower option is undoubtedly valuable to shorter people or those less able due to injury status or other reasons.
Although the board was cumbersome to move about my small home, it stored flat under the couch or against the wall, making it much more portable than most other exercise devices. And the zero-tech nature of the Brrrn Board means that unless something catastrophic happens, I don’t foresee any maintenance issues.
I didn’t consider the Brrrn Board to be an aerobic fitness tool when it arrived, but it proved to be just that: a zero-impact, low-tech aerobic fitness tool. I am not a fan of indoor cardiovascular training, but for those who are, this safe option comes with the added benefit of forcing lateral movements, which is uncommon in popular individual aerobic exercise.
Once I established a rhythm and could glide back and forth at a consistent rate, my heart rate and perceived exertion were equal to trail running efforts that I frequently did before my injury. I really enjoyed that feeling. And in fact, I could not have replicated the feeling in another way due to my injury status at the time.
Brrrn At Home
Brrrn Board knows everything I just wrote in this review, so they leverage all of it in an at-home video service dubbed “Brrrn At-Home.” The on-demand service offers instruction and session leadership in 10, 20, 30, 45, and 60-minute sessions in nine different categories. These include learning how to slide, high-intensity intervals, yoga flow sequences, mobility, and even Pilates-inspired exercises.
Brrrn Board charges $15/month or $144 annually for the Brrrn At-Home service.
I considered the Brrrn Board a crucial addition to my knee rehabilitation program and believe it an ideal tool for at-home rehabilitation for lower limb injuries. I also thought it an effective specific training tool — for skating sports and any activity where an unexpected lateral load to the lower half of the body could result in injury (like skiing, trail running, skateboarding, or any team sport). All this with the added benefit of it being zero-impact.
During my review, I discovered that the Brrrn Board was a viable form of zero-impact aerobic and anaerobic training. This is especially true if you are inclined to train indoors or have time constraints.
I have not said the following three things about home gym equipment in quite some time: 1) You can get a great aerobic, or even anaerobic, workout in short order, right in your house, without adding much mechanical load. 2) I think it would be an ideal addition for the elderly populations, and of course, for those rising from the ashes of a severe injury. And 3) the Brrrn Board is low-tech by nature and built to last, and I feel the price is fair.
This glide board is not a fly-by-night money grab of a product. You will not stop gliding because the Brrrn Board falls apart, has a software glitch, or gets outdated. Only your desire will halt progress.
The curmudgeon approves.