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How to use workout sliders to get a full-body, low-impact workout
Sliders can help you activate your core and they take up little space in your home gym.
Mercey LivingstonCNET Contributor
Mercey Livingston is a health and wellness writer and certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She's written about fitness and wellness for Well+Good, Women's Health, Business Insider, and Prevention.com among others. When not writing, she enjoys reading and trying out workout classes all over New York City.
There's no shortage of innovative, useful and just plain cool fitness equipment out there. The truth is, you don't need much of it to get a great workout. Case in point: all you need is your body and a bit of space to move around to get your heart rate up, blow off some steam and build strength. But if you're considering buying a few select pieces of equipment that can go a long way when it comes to usefulness and not take up a bunch of space, let me introduce you to the workout slider.
Workout sliders (sometimes called gliders) are flat, round discs that are designed to slide on a surface while you step or place your hands on them. According to Lucy Sexton, fitness trainer and co-founder of Bonded By The Burn, they can help you isolate the core during workouts, and are great for using during low-impact workouts.
"Gliders create instability, which in turn forces your muscles, particularly your core, to work that much harder to stabilize you. This added element is a great way to level up and diversify your core work and strength/cardio workouts," Sexton says.
Gliders or sliders are lightweight, portable and compact, making them perfect for small spaces or travel (when that's a thing again). They're also pretty inexpensive, which is another win if you are strapped for space and cash. Keep reading below to find out what to look for when you're shopping for workout sliders and how to get the most out of them in your workout routine.
What to look for when shopping for fitness sliders
I've used several sets of fitness sliders and can say firsthand that it takes trial and error to figure out what works best for you. Some sliders will have two different sides (a plastic side and a fabric side), which is convenient if you don't always work out in the same space. When you shop for sliders, you'll need to keep in mind what type of floor you'll be using them on. Do you workout in a carpeted room? Then you'll need a specific type of slider for that. The same goes for tile or wood floors.
"The key is finding a glider that glides smoothly on your surface so that your movement is uninterrupted. If your glider ever feels jerky or sticky, that's a bad sign and you probably don't have the best glider for your surface. Every glider will work differently on different surfaces," Sexton says.
The best fitness sliders for carpet floors
If you're working out in a carpeted room, according to Sexton the best type of slider to use is a plastic one. You don't want a fabric slider or other material that can keep the slider from moving smoothly across the floor.
Sexton recommends this dual-sided glider for hard wood or tile floors. If you're worried about potentially marking up your floors while using sliders, this set from Sklz is low-friction, which can help prevent marks.
For a glider with the all-around best experience, Sexton likes sliders with wheels attached.
"Gliders with wheels will always deliver the smoothest, most uninterrupted movement. Given that the wheel removes the friction between the surface and the slider, gliders with wheels are also the ultimate challenge."
You can use fitness sliders in a ton of different workouts and classes, but if you want to make the most of your time with them, Sexton recommends focusing on workouts with compound moves to get the most bang for your buck. "I always recommend compound movements, in other words, exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time. The more full-body the exercise, the more you can maximize your time and get your heart rate up," she says.
Sexton shares three workout moves to use with workout sliders and instructions on how to do them.
Criss-cross spider crawl
Set up with two sliders, one for each foot.
Start in a plank, with each foot on separate sliders.
Cross your right leg in front of your left, space out your feet, drop your heels onto the sliders, squeeze your inner thighs and pull your tailbone back and down.
Keeping your left leg straight, bend and pull your right knee in toward your left elbow. Press your right leg back to return to the starting position.
Repeat on the other side.
Side plank bear
Start in a plank position, stack your feet on one slider, right foot down, left foot on top.
Keeping the outer edge of your right foot down and your hips in line with your shoulders, slowly bend and pull your knees below your hips, then slowly press your legs back to the starting position.
Repeat on the other side.
Set up with one glider.
Start in a plank position. Keep your left foot on the slider and hug your right thigh in toward your chest.
Keeping your hips in line with your shoulders, slowly bend and pull your left knee below your hip as you extend your right leg back. Slowly press your left leg back as you bend and pull your right thigh in toward your chest to return to the starting position.
Repeat on the other side.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.