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6 min read

Are Sliders A Good Workout?

Although it looks and sounds a bit dangerous to put a sliding disc under your feet or hands when you exercise. When used properly, sliders can add new flavor to your favorite movements and open up new exercises altogether. But one question remains, are sliders a good workout?

Sliders are great for workouts since they increase the difficulty of many exercises, and force the use of stabilizer muscles while pushing bigger muscles to work harder. Plus, they're inexpensive, portable, and you can work your core muscles in ways that aren’t possible with traditional exercises.

Sliding discs are incredibly affordable, but if you have a smooth and hard floor, you can often use slides in place of sliders, but making "slides" from towels, which makes sliding exercises great for traveling. Sliders, store-bought or otherwise, have several advantages over traditional exercises that make them worth trying.

What Muscles Do Sliders Work?

Sliders work several core and stabilizer muscles, including abs, obliques, and lower back. But, since sliders can be used in common exercises to make them more challenging, they also work the muscles used in the non-slider version of that exercise.

Sliders offer a unique opportunity to work your muscles in ways that regular weight training can’t mimic. Using a slider forces your body to work differently, even if it’s an exercise you’re used to. Let's take a closer look at how sliders work your core and build stronger stabilizer muscles.

Sliders Work Your Core

To get a sense of how sliders work, let's put them to the test with a push-up. If you have sliders, grab them - if you don't have sliders, use a paper towel or a dish rag for this quick test. Have your sliders ready? Great, let's do a push-up.

  • Get into a push-up position with a slider under each foot.
  • Perform a push-up while keeping the sliders under your feet.

Did you feel how your feet/sliders really wanted to drift back?Because of this, your arms, abs, and shoulders needed to work overtime to keep them in place. 

This simple change to a push-up shows you just how powerful sliders can be. They can make common exercises more challenging. In other words,sliders work the same muscles as a non-sliding exercise, but they incorporate even more muscles into the movement.

As you can feel in the push-up with sliders under your feet,your core is getting used far more than normal exercises. That includes your abdominal muscles and lower back.

Build Stronger Stabilizers

Sliders allow you to move in multiple planes of motion; a plane of motion is a direction, such as forward to back or side to side.Sliders don’t have any set path. They move in any direction you push them towards, which means your body has to provide the direction for each movement.

So your core muscles have to work to prevent your body from moving in the wrong direction.

By contrast, think about a typical cable machine exercise, like a chest press. The machine only lets you move in one direction, forward to back.

Core muscles help stabilize your spine, so you could call them “stabilizers” and they're generallybetter at working stabilizer muscles in the body than traditional exercises. This isn't just hearsay either, one study has proven as much.

A team of researchers looked at the difference in hip muscle activation between a traditional squat and a squat with one leg sliding to the side.

In the slider squat, participants in the study had a slider under one foot. They slid it out to the side as they squatted on the non-sliding leg. If sliders actually work the stabilizer muscles more, then you’d expect to see the hip muscles working harder on the slider squat.

And that’s exactly what happened.

The team found that the glutes, hamstrings, and quads all worked harder in the sliding squat than in the traditional squat.

What Are Gliders Workouts?

A glider is another name for a slider, so the workouts you do with a glider will translate seamlessly to sliders. Some gliders come in a circular disc shape, whereas sliders tend to come in a kidney or hourglass shape.

The American Council on Exercise created a full-body glider workout that only contains three movements - it's simple but challenging. It's perfect for when you’re traveling and need to work out in your hotel room.

3 Moves For An Amazing Glider Workout

Exercise 1: Sliding Lateral Lunges

  1. Put the slider under one foot. Lean your weight towards the foot that’s not on the slider. 
  2. Slide the foot on the glider out to the side as you squat down on the non-sliding leg. Keep the knee of the sliding leg straight.
  3. Continue sliding until you feel a stretch or simply can’t go any further.
  4. Stand up using the non-sliding leg and slide your outside foot back until you’re in the starting position.

Exercise 2: Sliding Push-Up

  1. Start in a push-up position with the gliders under your hands. You can do this exercise with your knees on or off the ground.
  2. Descending into a push-up. As you go down, reach one of the sliders forwards. This motion is similar to a one-armed push-up.
  3. Just before your chest touches the ground, slide the forward arm back and press yourself to the top of the push-up position.
  4. Repeat by sliding the other arm forwards.

Exercise 3: Seal Walk

  1. Start in a push-up position with the sliders under your feet.
  2. Keeping your body in a straight line, without shaking your hips side-to-side, walk forward using your hands. Your feet will drag behind your body.
  3. Take 10 steps forwards with your hands, then 10 back to complete one rep.

What Are Slides In Exercise?

Slides are simply a tool that takes away friction from the surface you’re on for sliding exercises. If you have a hardwood floor or other smooth surface, you can use towels, paper towels, rags, etc. to slide. Carpets or turf require some form of sliding disc to take the friction out of the equation.

In fact,SHEFIT created an entire full-body slider workout with just paper towels for sliders. And you will absolutely feel how challenging these exercises can be, and also how effective something as simple as a paper towel can be for performing sliding exercises.

Once you’ve figured out the ideal slider for your surface, you can get started doing slider exercises.

A great way to get started is by turning some of your favorite exercises into sliding exercises. For example, you can do a sliding reverse lunge by putting a slider under one of your feet, then sliding back instead of stepping back into the movement.

You can also do unique core exercises, such as sliding pikes, which will work your core overtime - you'll realize that rather quickly after starting.

Many personal trainers, such as Emily Higgins agree that they're challenging for the core because they work smaller stabilizer muscles that are harder to reach in traditional workouts, plus they engage the abdominal muscles.Strengthening these muscles helps improve posture, says Higgins

Sliding pikes also work the lower abdominal muscle, which is hard to reach with other ab exercises. And if you needed another reason to love them, they're low impact, making them ideal for people with injuries or osteoporosis.

How To Do Sliding Pikes:

  1. Start in a push-up position with a slider under each foot. 
  2. Slide your feet up towards your hands, raising your hips as high as you can. 
  3. Bring your feet as close to your hands as possible, then slide back to the push-up position.

Try Sliders for Your Next Workout

With a pair of sliders, gliders, or makeshift slides, you can do several unique exercises that can be more challenging than traditional movements.You can add some spice to your core workouts or make traditional exercises like push-ups much harder.

Sliders are loved by many because they keep workouts fresh and push you to improve.

After all, your workouts should always challenge you every time,so if your routine is getting stale or your progress is stagnant, try adding sliders.

Try following a slider routine for 4-6 weeks, but after that, switch things up again. New challenges can boost your motivation because they give you something to strive towards.

Sliders are easy to add because they’re cheap and easy to bring with you, but they're even easier to keep at because they add variety to a workout.