Words by Gede Foster
We are always looking for the next best thing, a new exciting way of working out. We know that the only way to continually improve our fitness journey is to apply progressive overload. But this usually involves increasing the weight you lift, adding impact to body-weight exercises, or increasing your reps. Today I want to introduce a new way to level up your body weight workouts with gliders!
WHAT ARE GLIDERS?
Gliders are small discs that come in various styles. Some are completely material, some have a hard surface one side and a soft spongy surface the other. Depending on the floor type you workout out on will determine what is best to use. For example, if you have wooden floors a material or spongy glider is best. If you have carpet the hard shiny surface is better.
A DIY version of gliders if you are having trouble getting equipment ordered:
Hard floor: Tea towels / flannels
Carpet: Picnic plates
WHAT ARE THE BENEFIT OF GLIDERS?
A way to add challenge to your body weight exercises without adding impact or weight
Increased challenge to the core
Challenges you to engage your intrinsic as well as global muscles at the same time
Increased range of motion
Gliders create an unstable surface which means you recruit a lot more muscles through all of your body weight exercises engaging the smaller intrinsic stabilising muscles as well as your larger global muscles.
Gliders are a great way to level up your workouts as an alternative to adding weight or impact. As all glider workouts are low impact they are a great option if you are getting back to exercise from an injury.
It is almost impossible to do a workout on the gliders without engaging the core because of the instability so it’s a big thumbs up for the core! Having a strong core is important as it plays a role in everything we do. If the core is weak or we don’t fire and engage properly it can lead to back injuries so having a strong core is vital for everyday life.
Many exercises on the gilders also allow you to increase your range of motion and mobility while challenging you to maintain strength at that end range. Being flexible and mobile is important but can cause injuries if you aren’t able to support and sustain that flexibility and gliders challenge both so win win!
ABOUT THE WORKOUT:
There is an endless amount of exercises you can do on gliders but here are 7 of my favs for you to put together in a workout. Check out the instagram page for a follow along version of this workout.
If it is your first time trying gliders expect a bit of 'air hockey’ to go on until you master them!
Muscles worked: Glutes / Hamstrings / Quads / Core / Inner thighs
Start: Toes onto the gliders and heels off.
Slide both legs out at the same time dropping into your squat, keeping your shoulders back. Then slide both legs together at the same time.
You will feel all the same muscles as a regular pop squat but with the gliders you will feel the inner thighs and pelvic floor / core work much harder than the regular version.
Modification: Side one leg out at a time.
LATERAL LUNGE + CURTSY LUNGE
Muscles worked: Inner thighs / Glutes / Hamstrings / Quads / Core
Start: Toes on the gliders, heels off.
Your supporting heel acts like your brake as you slide your working leg back into a curtsy lunge. On the Curtsy lunge watch out for your supporting knee. Make sure it is following the line of your second toe, if it is in the right place you will feel your glutes on fire.
Alternate your curtsy lunge with a lateral lunge. Sliding out as far as you can control bending the working leg, hinging the hips backwards, keeping the other leg straight the whole time. Then here comes the hard part to zip up and bring the legs back together. This is a great exercise for challenging your range of motion.
MOVING PRESS UP
Muscles worked: Chest / shoulders / Core
Start: Hands on the gliders in press up position.
Inhale as you slide one hand out sideways as you bend both elbows into a press up. Exhale as you simultaneously straighten your arms and bring the gliders back to your high plank position.
This variation works your chest far more than a standard press up while also working all your shoulder stabilisers.
Modification: Dropping to your knees for the press up.
PLANK PIKE + OBLIQUE CRUNCH
Muscles worked: Shoulders / Core / Obliques
Start: Toes on gliders in high plank position.
Exhale as you scoop up in the belly initiating from your abdominals to pike the hips in the air. Try to keep your shoulders over your wrists and rise up onto your tip toes in the pike position especially if you are flexible in your hamstrings.
Then return to plank position to bring your right knee to your right elbow.
The slower you move with this exercise the more you’ll get out of it!
Modification: If your hamstrings are tight the pike may not be available. No fret! You can get just as much work to the core bending the knees in keeping your hips inline with the back of your rib cage.
Muscles worked: Quads / Glutes / Hamstrings / Core
Start: Toes on heels off the gliders standing.
Slide one leg back behind you into a lunge position with two right angles in the legs. Try to minimise any urge to jump and instead glide as you switch legs.
Modification: If this feels unstable, or you have any knee issues, slide one leg back at a time really grounding the front heel down.
HAMSTRING CURL GLUTE BRIDGE
Muscles worked: Hamstrings / Core / Lower back
Start: Lie on your back. Heels in the middle of your gliders. Lift the hips up. Tuck the pelvis towards you until you feel you have the support from your core for the lower back. Make sure you have a fist distance under your chin.
Slide your feet away with control then exhale drawing them back in, simultaneously lifting your hips up to fire the glutes.
Modification: If both feet at the same time is too much to start with, try one leg at a time.
BREAKDANCER - A fancy variation coming up here!
Muscles worked: Shoulders / Core
Start: 4 point hover with your toes on the gliders.
Twist your body to the left as your right leg slides through the gap opening your left arm. At the end range of motion, fully stretch both legs. Then bring everything back to the 4 point hover. It may take a few attempts to get the coordination going on this one. (think of it as a low impact option of kick throughs).
Once you have mastered it, try to glide and slide as smooth as possible.
Modification: Keep both hands on the floor for stability and work on the legs first.