Hand and Foot Sliders for Exercise
Sliders are a unique piece of exercise equipment that allow you to do some fun and challenging exercises, ranging from push-up variations to intense ab exercises.
Purchase sliders to use on a rug or hardwood floors or, if you have a large hardwood floor, you can put a towel down and use it in the same way. The slider is designed to minimize friction which allows you to slide around the floor. It feels almost like you are gliding on ice and opens up opportunities for some interesting exercises.
If you're at a gym with rubber flooring there's a simple modification you can use to get your sliders to work. According to Valerie Waters, creator of the Valslide, "when I’m at a gym with rubber floors, I put a towel down on the rubber. The towel sticks to the rubber and the slider slides on the towel."
Use this workout that uses sliders to add some variation to traditional exercises. The two lower body, two upper body and two core exercises will challenge your muscles in a way that normal exercises don't.
1. Sliding Reverse Lunge
This is a single-leg exercise that works the hamstrings, glutes and quads differently than standard lunges. According to Jayel Lewis, certified personal trainer, "The leg in front has to be a lot more stable and the sliding increases range of motion and adds fluidity to the movement."
HOW TO DO IT: From a standing position, put your left foot on a slider. Slide back with your left leg while keeping your weight over your right leg.
As your left leg goes back bend both knees to go down into a lunge position. Focus on moving down and back so that you don't slide too far back with your left leg.Slide back up to a standing position. Perform 10 reps on the left leg and 10 on the right.
To make this exercise more challenging, hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms straight down at your sides.
2. Sliding Hamstring Curl
This exercise isolates your hamstrings in a way that no other exercise can. By holding your hips in the air you take your glutes out of the movement which means that your hamstrings have to do all the work.
It can also be used to prevent hamstring injuries. According to an article in the Strength and Conditioning Journal, hamstring curls directly target the hamstring muscle, which makes it more resistant to tears.
HOW TO DO IT: Lie on the ground flat on your back with your legs out straight. Put sliders under your heels. Slide your feet in towards your butt. At the same time, push your butt into the air like you are doing a glute bridge.
Keep sliding up until your heels are under your knees and your feet are flat on the ground. At the top position your butt should be up in the air so that you body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Perform eight to 12 repetitions of these.
3. Push-Up Reach
This is a tough variation of the push-up that tests the strength of your chest, shoulders, triceps, and core.
HOW TO DO IT: Start in a push-up position with one hand on a slider. Slide your hand forwards while you descend into a push-up. Try to keep most of your weight on the arm that isn't sliding.
Keep sliding until you are close to the ground and the arm that is sliding is reaching up over your head. To get back up, push down and slide back with the hand on the slider as you push yourself up with the arm that isn't sliding. Perform five repetitions on each arm.
If this exercise is too tough, try performing only the lowering portion of the push-up with the slide, go all the way down to the ground, and reset to the top of the push-up. This is also known as doing the "negative" portion of the exercise.
4. Spiderman Push-up
This push-up variation is as much a core exercise as it is an upper body exercise because it involves stabilizing yourself as you twist your lower body.
HOW TO DO IT: Get into a push-up position with your feet on sliders. Descend into a push-up. At the same time, slide your left foot up towards your left elbow and bow your left leg out so that your left knee doesn't hit the ground.
Slide your left leg up as far as you can before you reach the bottom of the push-up position.Push yourself back to the top of the push-up position while sliding your left leg back into place. Repeat this five times on the left leg and then five times on the right leg.
This exercise is simply a plank with some movement of the arms. The hard part is keeping your core still and preventing your back from bending.
HOW TO DO IT: Get into a forearm plank position with your elbows on a soft surface and sliders under both feet. Keeping your entire body completely stiff and maintaining a straight line from your head to your ankles, push your arms forward so that your entire body slides backwards. Only go back as far as you feel comfortable, usually not more than six inches.
Once you are as far back as you feel comfortable, pull your arms back towards your body so that you slide forwards. At the same time, squeeze your abs so that your back doesn't arch. Remember to stay completely stiff throughout the exercise. Work your way up to perform eight reps.
Sliders can be used to make simple exercises more exciting.
6. Sliding Pike
While this may look like the Downward Dog position in yoga, don't let it fool you. This is a tough ab exercise.
HOW TO DO IT: Start in a push-up position with your feet on sliders. Slide your feet forwards towards your head while you raise your hips up into the air. You are essentially doing a jackknife, or a folding-in-half motion. Use your abs to pull you up.
Slide your legs and hips back down to the push-up position where you started with your legs straight and shoulders over your hands. Perform 10 to12 repetitions of these.
Henry is a freelance writer and personal trainer living in New York City. You can find out more about him by visiting his website: henryhalse.com.