There’s a lot to love about sliders. The versatile disc-shaped exercise tools that you place under your hands or feet during bodyweight moves add dynamic movement to your strength workout. This increases core engagement and amps up the difficulty of basic exercises like planks by activating more muscles at once.
Sliders are small, portable, and work well on a number of surfaces, including wood, carpet, and linoleum, making them an easy addition to your at-home gym or travel workout kit. Plus, they’re affordable, at about $8 a pair.
Below, Nell Rojas, a Boulder, Colorado–based strength and conditioning specialist, running coach, and elite marathoner, shares a six-move slider workout for outdoor athletes. She incorporates sliders into her workouts about once a week and designed the below routine to activate the glutes and core, two major muscle groups that are critical for everything from hiking to swimming. The routine also targets the hamstrings, inner thighs, and shoulders and incorporates some stability work. Do this workout before or after your main workout as supplemental strength training, or try it on its own for a standalone burst of strength work.
You’ll break the following six moves into three sets of two exercises. Perform each set three times, resting as much as you need between each round to maintain good form. After three rounds, rest for two minutes before moving on to the next set.
Set 1: 20 single-leg reverse lunges (10 each side), 10 body saws
Set 2: 20 single-leg squats (10 each side), 10 pikes
Set 3: 10 double-leg eccentric hamstring bridges, 20 mountain climbers
Single-Leg Reverse Lunge
What it does: Instead of stepping your leg back into a lunge, you slide it, which allows you to better focus on engaging the standing glute. The slow-fast tempo—you lower into the lunge with control, then explode back up—builds both strength and power in your lower half.
How to do it: Stand up tall with your feet hip-distance apart and your hands clasped in front of your chest. Place one foot on the slider. This is the starting position. Over the course of two to three seconds, push the slider backward and bend your knee to lower into a lunge. Make sure your standing leg doesn’t cave inward: keep your hips, knees, and ankles all in one line. Pause when your leg forms a 90-degree angle. Squeeze your standing glute and quickly reverse the movement to return to the starting position—this should take about a second. This is one rep. Make it harder by holding a free weight or medicine ball at your chest.
Volume: 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat
What it does: Works the stabilizer muscles in the core and shoulders by adding dynamic movement to a plank.
How to do it: Lower into a forearm plank with your feet on the sliders. Your chest, hips, and ankles should be in one long, straight line. Engage your glutes and brace your core. Staying in plank position, shift your body weight as far forward as you can over the course of two seconds, bending deeper into the elbows and moving forward through the shoulders. Pause, then slowly shift your body weight back as far as you can over the course of two seconds. That’s one rep. Make sure your hips stay elevated as you shift back and forth. Increase the challenge by slowing the tempo.
Volume: 10 reps
Single-Leg Lateral Squat
What it does: Targets the gluteus medius—a small, important stabilizer toward the side of your butt—by emphasizing controlled yet explosive lateral movements.
How to do it: Stand up tall with your feet hip-distance apart and your hands clasped in front of your chest. Place one foot atop the slider. Bend your standing knee—the leg that is not on the slider—and drop your hips back into a squat as you keep your other leg straight and slide it out sideways. Squat down slowly over the course of two to three seconds, lowering as far as you can without letting the heel of the standing foot leave the ground. Pause at the bottom of the squat. Squeeze your standing glute to quickly reverse the movement over the course of one second. That’s one rep.
Volume: 10 reps on each side
What it does: Engages deep midsection muscles by requiring the core to drive the entire movement.
How to do it: Get into a forearm plank position with your feet on the sliders and chest, hips, and ankles in one long, straight line. Squeeze your glutes and brace your core. This is the starting position. Keeping your legs straight, slowly raise your hips as high as you can over the course of two seconds, using your core to bring your feet toward your hands. Pause, then slowly reverse the movement to return to the starting position over the course of two seconds. When you come back to the starting position, make sure your hips stay in line with your chest and ankles. Up the challenge by placing both feet on the same slider.
Volume: 10 reps
Double-Leg Eccentric Hamstring Bridge
What it does: Strengthens the hamstrings. This eccentric move—meaning the muscle is lengthening under load—is especially important for anyone who hikes or runs downhill, since it mimics the way the hamstrings engage during downward movement.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet about hip-width distance apart and flat on the ground about six to eight inches from your hips. Let your arms rest at your sides. Place a slider under each foot so that the center of the slider is under your heel. This is the starting position. Press through your heels to lift your hips until they are in a straight line with your quads. From here, slowly straighten your legs over the course of six to eight seconds, so that you wind up with your heels on the ground, legs fully extended, and pelvis still lifted off the ground. Keep your hips as high as possible. Once your legs are fully straight, lower your hips to the ground. That’s one rep. Make it harder by lifting both arms straight up.
Volume: 10 reps
What it does: Strengthens the shoulders and builds core stability and strength.
How to do it: Get into a high plank position with your feet on the sliders and your chest, hips, and ankles in one long, straight line. Squeeze your glutes and brace your core. This is the starting position. Keeping your upper body still and your core engaged, quickly slide one knee straight up toward your chest and back out. Repeat with the other knee. That’s one rep. To target your obliques—the muscles on the sides of your stomach—slide your knee into your chest diagonally.
Volume: 20 reps
Lead Photo: microgen/iStock