Get a Full-Body Workout With Sliding Disc Exercises

One of the latest trends in full-body, portable workout equipment is sliding (or gliding) discs. And although they may seem just trendy, these sliding discs are a seriously effective workout tool that is perfect for every athlete at every level of sports training. Sliders are inexpensive, portable and provide a challenging workout that builds both strength and stability, and can also be used to build endurance, flexibility, and even assist in injury rehab.

What Are Exercise Sliding Discs?

These small, flat round discs are designed to create a sliding surface between your hands or feet and the floor. So rather than lifting your arms or legs during bodyweight exercises, you slide your hands and feet across the floor while supporting your full weight.

About the size of a frisbee, sliders are two-sided discs (one side hard plastic and the other fabric, or both sides a strong coated canvas-like material) that allow you to exercise on a variety of floor types. Keep the smooth side down to slide more easily on carpet, and keep the fabric side down to slide on harder surfaces, such as wood or tile floors.

Depending upon your goals and the specific exercises you perform, you can use your own body weight and sliders to get a high-intensity cardiovascular or interval workout or build strength by targeting specific muscle groups. Because they are so small, compact, and lightweight, they are ideal for home use or travel workouts. At about $20 or less for a set, they are an excellent addition to a home exercise equipment list and they make a great gift.

What Are the Benefits of Using Sliding Discs?

Exercise sliders are useful for home workouts simply because they are small and portable. The variety of exercises that can be done is also fairly comprehensive.

Sliders offer a low to no-impact workout and are easy on the joints, so they are often prescribed during physical therapy for athletes who want to maintain fitness while recovering from an injury.

Because you are in contact with an unstable (sliding) surface during the entire range of motion, sliders work the muscles differently than typical bodyweight exercise. In order to slide from one position to the next, you need to maintain constant tension in the muscles, both the prime movers and the stabilizers, during the full range of movement on a slippery surface. Whether you are moving your hands or your feet, you will be performing both concentric and eccentric muscle contractions during nearly every move. Using sliders also can be a useful way to improve balance.

Top 5 Slider Exercises for a Full-Body Workout

The number of exercises you can do using core sliders is only limited by your creativity, but there are five moves that offer the biggest bang for your buck by building strength and stability from head to toe.

Sliding Disc Workout Tips

  • Start your exercise session with a short full-body warm up, or perform the first few sliding disc exercises in a slow, gentle and controlled manner before increasing your tempo and intensity.
  • Perform each exercise through the full range of motion with a smooth and controlled effort.
  • Perform each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds, depending upon your fitness level.
  • Repeat entire circuit for a total of 3 to 5 rounds, or for a designated amount of time.
  • Increase the duration and intensity of each exercise as your fitness level increases.
  • Rest if you can't maintain your form and get sloppy with your movements.

Mountain Climber

Mountain Climber
D. Haller

The mountain climber exercise is a great full-body, high intensity exercise most often found in boot camp workouts. Adding gliding discs to the movement bumps the standard mountain climber exercise to a new level because it adds constant core engagement during the sliding motion of each leg, and eliminating the impact of jumping your legs forward and back. 

Start in a high plank position with both feet on the sliders. Slide your right knee forward to your chest, keeping your hips low. Push knee back and repeat on the other side. You can increase the intensity by increasing the speed of your motion.


Wide Mountain Climber

Wide Mountain Climber
D. Haller

As an alternative to the basic mountain climber, you can do the wide mountain climber. This exercise will engage your core as well as open your hips. Choose one exercise or the other each time you move through the circuit.

Start in a plank position with both feet on the gliding discs. Keeping your hips low, pull your right leg forward to the outside of your right arm into a runner’s lunge. Slide your right leg back to the starting plank position. Repeat with your left leg.


Knee Tuck

Knee Tuck
D. Haller

The knee tuck works your glutes, core, and hip flexors. Start in a high plank position with both feet on the sliders. Keep your hips level and pull both knees in to touch your chest, keeping your feet on the sliders. Keep your core tight and push your feet back into your original plank position.


Single Leg Curl From Bridge

slider leg curl
D. Haller

Target your hamstrings and glutes with this move. Lie on your back with your knees bent and both feet on the sliders. Lift your hips into a bridge position, engaging glutes and hamstrings. Keeping your hips level, slide on foot forward, away from your glutes, then pull your foot back in. Repeat with the other foot and continue alternating sides. To increase the intensity or this exercise, curl both legs together.


Side (Lateral) Lunge

lateral lunge with discs
D. Haller

Start standing with your right foot on a slider and your left foot on the floor, feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your standing leg and glutes for balance as you drop into a one-legged squat position while sliding your right foot on the disc out to the right side. Pull your right foot smoothly back to toward you as you return to a standing position.  Perform 5 lunges with your right leg, then switch to the other side and repeat with your left sliding out. Switch and repeat again to fatigue.


Sliding Push Up

Slider push up
D. Haller

This modified pushup works your entire upper body. Start in a high plank position with your hands on the discs and your feet hip-width apart. Lower into a pushup while sliding your right hand out to the side, keeping your core engaged and your hips level. Repeat the pushup with your left hand sliding out and continue, alternating sides.

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