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HEALTHY LIVING: Incorporating sliders into workouts

HEALTHY LIVING: Incorporating sliders into workouts

Sliders, discs about 9-inches in diameter with smooth plastic bottoms and padded tops, function as exercise equipment and make it easy to complete a full-body workout wherever you have room to move. It’s best to use sliders on a hard surface to allow seamless transitioning from one movement to the next.  

Sliders, also known as gliders, can be used to assist challenging movements like mountain climbers and lunges. Since you are using your own body weight, sliders are ideal for strength training. They are also designed to increase agility and range of motion. The equipment ranges in cost from about $10 to $40 at various online retailers. 

Sliders are a versatile piece of fitness equipment to keep your muscles contracted throughout the entire repetition of a particular exercise.

When a muscle contracts and shortens all at once, this is known as a concentric movement. Whereas an eccentric contraction means that the muscle is lengthening, while also keeping tension. Both of these foundational elements of biomechanics, or how our body moves, are achieved when exercising with sliders. 

Many different sliding exercises increase upper-body mobility. Upward arm slides require you to balance on your knees while slowly pushing the discs past your head with your hands. Some other configurations for the biceps, chest, and triceps are in-and-out push-ups, arm circles, and arm crossovers from a plank position.

The lower abdominals are notoriously difficult to target, but a knee tuck using sliders keeps the entire midsection engaged. Different variations of the mountain climber are also popular slider moves for the core. From the traditional mountain climber, to the single-leg, and cross climber, there are modifications for every athletic level and ability. 

Skaters, reverse lunges, and lateral lunges are some slider-user favorites. Since primary movements in daily life consist of forwards and backwards movements, incorporating lateral movements into your workout regimen is important.

Since little side-to-side motions are required regularly, this can have a negative impact on balance. Utilizing the muscles on either side of the quads to move left or right helps to improve reaction time, resulting in fewer accidents.

Adding sliders to movements already familiar movement is a great way to keep your workout fun and challenging. Flexing your feet in a glute bridge so your heels press into the sliders as you bring your hips upward will put extra tension in your core. 

Squatting with sliders on the bottoms of your feet makes staying upright more difficult. Using sliders while performing push-ups increases upper-body muscle usage and can help to engage muscle groups you may not have been aware you were missing.

One of the main draws of using sliders is learning how to harness your balance in compromising positions while enhancing mind-muscle connection.

Although these nifty devices are popular among athletes, they also play an important role in functional fitness. 

Functional fitness is centered on increasing physical capabilities in practical ways, such as making it easier to climb up and down stairs, carrying groceries, or navigating a gravel pathway with minimal effort.

Sliders are commonly found in athletic centers and fitness retailers.

They offer a creative take on traditional movements, adding value to users’ workout regimens by enhancing athletic agility and daily functionality. 

Kristen Dearborn is a Wallingford native,  NASM certified personal trainer and author of the blog dearfitkris –