6 Sliding Disc Exercises for a Quick Full-Body Workout

Strengthen the muscles you didn't know you had

Female Athlete Exercising with Sliding Discs

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Sliding discs are a popular piece of fitness equipment among those seeking a challenging full-body workout. Also known as gliding discs or sliders, sliding discs are a great tool for athletes and fitness fans alike. Sliders provide serious strength training for anyone who's aiming to get a quick full-body workout at home.

Similar to the size and look of a frisbee, sliders are small, flat, two-sided round discs—one side is hard plastic and the other is fabric, or depending on which ones you choose, both sides may have a coated canvas-like material. The variety of sliding discs allows you to perform the exercises on different types of surfaces and floors.

Use the smooth side of the gliding disc to slide easily on carpet, or put the fabric side down to slide on hard surfaces such as wood or tiled floors.

Because sliders are compact and lightweight, they are ideal for your home or travel workouts. At about $20 for a set or less, they are an excellent addition to anyone's fitness collection and make a great gift.

Are Slider Workouts Effective?

Sliding disc exercises are challenging full-body workouts that strengthen the core, glutes, hamstrings, and more. Slider workouts build strength, endurance, and stability and also promote flexibility.

Standard bodyweight exercises often involve lifting and lowering the arms or legs in a variety of movement patterns to provide resistance training. But gliding discs work by sliding your hands and feet across the floor while also supporting your own body weight, which makes the muscles in the weight-bearing limbs work even harder as the core stabilizes to control the movements.

In fact, a 2020 study suggests that lateral sliding squats performed with a gliding disc may produce more muscular engagement than regular squats.

Depending on your fitness goals and the bodyweight exercises you're keen on trying, you can get a high-intensity cardio or interval workout, or you could focus solely on building strength by targeting specific muscle groups.

Sliders are useful for home workouts because they're inexpensive, small, and portable. The variety of different slider exercises provide stability and strength training for the whole body, especially the core.

Benefits of a Slider Workout

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

Exercises performed with a gliding disc work to:

  • Create more muscular tension. Because you are in contact with an unstable (sliding) surface during the entire range of motion for each move, your prime movers and stabilizers will need to maintain constant tension to sustain good form.
  • Generate muscular contractions. Whether you are sliding on your hands or your feet, you will perform both concentric and eccentric muscular contractions in most sliding disc exercises.
  • Improve balance and stability. Using sliders can be a useful way to practice balance and coordination, which in turn, improves strength and stability from head to toe.

6 Sliding Disc Exercises for a Full-Body Workout

The number of moves you can do with an exercise disc is only limited by your creativity. The following sliding disc exercises are some of our favorites for getting the most out of a slider workout in the least amount of time. Before you try this fun and challenging full-body circuit, follow these tips for exercising with sliding discs to help you get started.

Slider Workout Tips

  • Start with a short warm-up. Do a quick full-body warm-up such as lightly jogging in place or perform the first few sliding disc exercises using slow and controlled movements before increasing your tempo and intensity.
  • Use your full range of motion. As you perform each exercise, maintain a smooth and controlled effort as you explore your body's range of motion without forcing the joints beyond their capacity.
  • Do each exercise for 30–60 seconds. The length of time for each sliding disc exercise will depend on your level of fitness.
  • Repeat each circuit for 3–5 rounds. Aim for a number of sets or a designated amount of total time.
  • Increase the duration and intensity over time. As your fitness improves, ramp up the workout by building on the time and intensity with each session.
  • Rest when you need to. If you find that you're unable to maintain good form, give yourself permission to rest as you build up your strength. This will help prevent injury.
1

Sliding Disc Mountain Climbers

The mountain climber exercise is a great full-body, high-intensity exercise that is a staple in boot camp workouts. Incorporating gliding discs into the movement takes the standard mountain climber to the next level. As each leg slides you'll have to keep your core constantly engaged to control the movement patterns.

  • Start in a high plank position with both feet on the sliders and hands planted just wide of the shoulders for stability.
  • Think about pushing the floor away from you with your hands to avoid collapsing your hips as you gaze out in front of you.
  • Engage your core and slide your right knee forward to your chest as you focus on your alignment.
  • Slide the right knee back and repeat on the left side.
  • Increase the intensity by speeding up each sliding movement, but only if you're able to maintain good form.

As a bonus, sliding disc mountain climbers eliminate the impact on your joints from jumping forward and back. 

2

Wide Mountain Climbers With Sliding Discs

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.

  • Start in a plank position with both feet on the gliding discs, just as you would with regular mountain climbers using sliders.
  • Let your hips drop a little as you slide your right foot forward to tap your right elbow.
  • Slide your right leg back to the starting plank position. Repeat with your left leg.
  • Speed up the movement only if you're able to use control with each slide.

If you're performing the whole circuit, it's recommended you choose between regular mountain climbers or wide mountain climbers. Then, you can perform the other move when you perform the next set of the circuit.

3

Sliding Disc Knee Tucks

When practiced with a sliding disc, the knee tuck works your glutes, core, and hip flexors. The move is a variation on the stability ball knee tuck, which is an advanced core strengthening exercise.

  • Start in a high plank position with both feet on the sliders and your gaze forward.
  • Keep your hips level and begin to slide both knees in to touch your chest, keeping your feet on the sliders.
  • Push the floor away with the palms of your hands as you allow your spine to round slightly forward in spinal flexion, which will naturally lower your hips as your tailbone tucks under.
  • Pull your abs in as you slide your feet back to your starting plank position, returning to your neutral spine.
4

Single Leg Sliding Disc Curls In a Bridge

Target your hamstrings and glutes with this sliding disc variation on a basic bridge exercise.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and both feet on the sliders about hips-distance apart. Rest your arms by your sides.
  • Engage your glutes and hamstrings as you lift your hips into a bridge position.
  • Maintain a neutral spine—neither tucking your tailbone under nor overarching your back.
  • Keep your hips and pelvis stable as you slide one foot forward, away from your glutes, then slide your foot back in.
  • Repeat with the other foot and continue alternating sides.
  • To increase the intensity of this exercise, slide both legs at the same time.
  • Be sure to use your hamstrings and glutes to avoid straining the muscles in your lower back.

If you feel any discomfort in your lower back you may have lifted your pelvis too high. If you feel pain in this region, release your hips to the ground and stop the exercise immediately.

5

Side (Lateral) Lunge With Sliding Discs

This side-to-side lateral move uses one exercise disc at a time to target the glutes and hamstrings, improve stability, and test your balance.

  • Start standing with your right foot on a slider and your left foot on the floor with your feet hips-distance apart. 
  • Engage your left leg and glutes for balance as you slide your right foot on the disc out to the right side and bend your left knee into a lateral side lunge.
  • Slide your right foot back in using a smooth, controlled motion 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 foot sliding out and in.
  • Switch back to your right foot and repeat 5 more lunges, then again with your left.
6

Sliding Disc Pushup

This modified pushup works your entire upper body and challenges the core using a gliding disc.

  • Start in a high plank position with your hands on the discs and your feet hips-distance apart.
  • Lower into a pushup as you slide your right hand directly out to the side. Avoid collapsing in your hips or shoulders by drawing your abs in to engage your core.
  • Slide the right hand back in as you press back up to a plank.
  • Repeat the pushup with your left hand sliding out as you lower, and then back in as you lift.
  • Continue for your set number of reps or duration, alternating sides each time.

A Word From Verywell

Sliding disc exercises are fun and even a little intense since they work the muscles you may not have even known you had. Sliders take many bodyweight exercises to the next level by engaging multiple muscle groups to hold you steady as you slide the discs in and out.

Keep in mind that if you have joint stability issues, sliding discs may not be the best way for you to exercise. Talk to your doctor, physical therapist, or consult with a certified trainer first. You can also get started with our Total Body Strength Workout for Absolute Beginners to improve your stability, which will help you learn how to safely perform challenging full-body moves with an exercise disc as you build up strength.

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  1. Krause DA, Hollman JH. Electromyographic analysis of hip muscle activation during a single limb squat lateral slide exerciseInt J Sports Phys Ther. 2020;15(5):755-762. doi:10.26603/ijspt20200755