Hear the word sliders and you’d be forgiven for thinking they were poolside summer shoes.
But in the fitness world, they’re probably the most under-utilised piece of equipment on the gym floor.
Fitness sliders (also known as exercise sliders, gliders or discs) are small, round, flat discs that can be placed under your feet or hands to enhance an exercise.
Sliders are an ‘instability surface,’ that force you to engage your muscles the entire time you do a move. These discs can make the simplest exercises more challenging and cause you to engage more muscles creating a strong, sculpted body.
Most people don’t have a clue how to use them and those that do are probably limited to basic moves like mountain climbers and lunges. However, New York-based fitness experts, Lucy Sexton and Tracy Carlinksy, cyst from clomid say you can have a killer full-body, low impact workout with just these two pieces of kit.
‘Sliders reduce the amount of friction that exists between your body and the ground,’ says Lucy. ‘Limited friction creates instability which forces your core and stabilising muscles to work that much harder to control you and sliders. When performing dynamic slider exercises you are working time under tension and lengthening connective tissue around your muscles.
‘This added element is a great way to level up and diversify your core work and strength/cardio sessions. To use them, place your sliders between your feet (and/or hands) and the ground. Press down into the slider to control the movement of the slider and your body as you perform a dynamic exercise. The most common moves include things like lunges, pikes and a forearm saw, but sliders can be used for everything from running man to a side bear crawl.’
Lucy and Tracy are founders of the online fitness platform Bonded By The Burn, which they launched during the pandemic.
‘We wanted to shift the idea that home workouts are easier than the ones taken in clubs,’ says Lucy. ‘We believe that home workouts can be some of the hardest out there and using simple, effective equipment can really help you engage muscles you never knew you had.’
Fitness sliders are best used on a hard floor to get the maximum effects and the girls advise trying a few different sliders before you find the perfect fit for your surface. ‘Every glider will work differently on different surfaces. The key is to find one that allows you to move smoothly, without interruption. If a slider feels jerky that is an indication you might not have the best slider for your particular surface.’
And the benefits don’t stop at the fitness gains. They’re cheap to buy with the average cost of a pair of sliders around £10, great for homes with limited space or downstairs neighbours (no jumping involved), and convenient as they’re small and light so can be carried around in your bag and used anywhere. To be honest, you don’t even need to invest in slider products as there are plenty of things around the home that work just as well.
‘Several household items can be used to sub out sliders,’ adds Lucy. ‘If you are working on wood, tile, or vinyl, try paper plates, slippery socks, a hand towel, or even pieces of cardboard. If you’re working on carpet or turf you can use plastic and, depending on your carpet, paper plates might also work. The key is to find a material that allows you to slide smoothly on your surface without interruption.’
Using sliders can also have long term health benefits as the low-impact nature reduces stress on your joints. So, with all these positive points, it would be silly to right past them next time you see them online or at the gym.
Lucy shares four exercises to jump start your slider workout.
‘Start by lying down on your left side. Place both feet on separate sliders. Slide your left foot in front of your right foot to stagger your feet, and drop your heels onto the sliders. Press your left forearm down, push into your heels, and lift your left hip off the ground. Place your right hand up behind your head. Bend your left knee, pull it towards your chest, and simultaneously rotate your right elbow toward the ground. Lengthen your left leg back out to starting position and rotate your right elbow open to the ceiling.’
‘Start in a plank position with your left foot on a slider. Keep your hips level with your shoulders and pull your right thigh up and in towards your chest to start. Slowly bend your left leg, pull your knee underneath your hip, and simultaneously extend your right leg out behind you. Then bend and pull your right thigh in again to your chest as you extend your left leg back to return to starting position. Repeat other side.’
Single foot plank to pike
‘Start in a plank position. Place both feet on one slider by dropping your left ankle over your right ankle so that your right foot toes are the only thing resting on the glider. Press your palms away from the floor as you slowly pike your hips up and bring your chest towards your thighs. Slowly lower your hips back down into the plank position. Repeat on the left side.’
Start off in a standing position with the ball of your left foot on a slider. Push your left foot back and lower into a lunge. To return back up, push your right heel into the ground and slowly stand through your right leg, stacking your quad over your shin. You can use a resistance band support. Repeat on the other side.’
The best sliders to buy
CampTeck Dual Sided Gliding Discs Core Sliders
Buy for £7.99 from Amazon.
Strength Slides and Booties
Buy for £29.95 from teambeachbody.com.
Buy for £29.99 from P.volve.
Take your pick from pattern or bold colour.
Contur Smooth Move Leggings
Sustainable, stretchy and supportive, the Contur Smooth Move Leggings will allow you to move freely with confidence. £59, hibana.co.uk.
Pocket Sport Claude Leggings
A high-waisted fit to flatter and squat proof and quick drying material make these Pocket Sport Claude Leggings a workout winner. £48, pocket-sport.com.
Quiz Pink Leggings
Seamless and with a high waistband, these Quiz Pink Leggings are super stretchy to give you maximum movement. £26.99, quizclothing.co.uk
Mama Life London White Leopard Leggings
Mama Life London’s White Leopard leggings have a high-waist and are made with spandex material so are sculpting and supportive. £45, mamalifelondon.com
Accessorize Printed Leggings
Accessorize Full-Length Printed gym leggings are made from a soft, stretchy fabric and the abstract print is perfect for hiding lumps and bumps. £39, accessorize.com
Halo Tie Dye Lightning Leggings
The Halo Tie Dye Lightning 7/8 Leggings have extra compression to make them hug in all the right places and keep them in place during your workout. £52.49, halofitness.eu.
This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.
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