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Understand The Benefits
Chances are you’re familiar with the standard fitness equipment – from the cross trainer to dumbbells and kettlebells – but gliding discs are a PT’s best-kept secret. Also referred to as sliding discs, sliders, or gliders, they’ll provide a unique challenge to your muscles to sculpt leaner lines and burn fat without the high-impact nature of a HIIT session. “Gliding discs are one of my favourite ways to build strength without using actual weights,” says Maria Eleftheriou, head of barre at Psycle London. “They come as a pair and look like two circular frisbees. You can use them on your hands or feet for a full-body workout that creates some serious burn – in fact, lots of the hero moves done with gliders take inspiration from reformer Pilates, renowned for its body-sculpting powers. Gliders will also work deep into your small stabilising muscles as well as larger muscle groups. Plus, they’ll help increase your range of motion and mobility – there’s a lot to love about them.”
Use Them For A Stronger Core
If you’re guilty of skipping your core workouts, sliding discs are worth incorporating into your regime. Like TRX, they create an unstable surface, which challenges every muscle, including your core. “Gliders are particularly effective at strengthening the core and abdominal wall,” Maria says. “When using gliders, it’s impossible to not work your core as you’re always working against an uneven surface.” Maria adds that one of the simplest ways to start using gliders in your workouts is by adding them to plank variations. “My ultimate move with a pair of gliders is a gliding full plank to plank,” Maria tells SL. “Start in a shoulder plank, with both gliders under your feet. Exhale as you scoop the belly up and draw the feet with the gliders towards your wrists, with your bum pushing high in the air, trying to keep your legs as straight as possible. Then glide slowly back to a plank. This move offers the ultimate full body burn.”
Incorporate Them Into Lower-Body Work, Too
“There is a tonne of exercises you can do with a pair of gliding discs, so it’s possible to train almost every muscle group with them, but they work particularly well for the quads and hamstrings,” adds Bryony Thompson, trainer at WithU. “Try a side lunge with your gliders, where one leg slides out to the side, or a back lunge by sliding your leg backwards. By forcing you to have continual muscular tension throughout the entire exercise, they’ll work muscles you didn’t even know you had. One of my favourite moves is the lying hamstring curl, which is a fantastic way to work the hamstrings and glutes. Almost everyone has weak hamstrings and glutes and tight hips, but this will strengthen weak muscles and open up tight ones. Lie on your back with your legs straight and your heels on the gliders, then bridge up, pushing your hips to the sky. Meanwhile, draw your heels underneath you and contract your hamstrings. You’ll feel the burn almost instantly.”
Add In Other Pieces Of Kit
To level things up, consider adding in a pair of dumbbells or resistance band, says Maria. “It’s for this reason that gliders often feature in my barre classes – they work so well when paired with other pieces of kit. Using a resistance band around your thighs with your gliders can create a challenging leg set, and I often use weights in my hands if I want to work the lower and upper body simultaneously. For example – think a gliding lunge with an overhead shoulder press. Just be sure to master the basics before you move on – adding in equipment is there to increase the intensity but nailing your form is essential before you even incorporate the glider. For example, learn how to do a plank well before adding in gliders.”
Keep Things Slow & Controlled
“One of the most common mistakes people make when using gliders is moving too quickly,” Maria says. “In an ideal world, your range of motion should be long and controlled – this is when you’ll feel the magic of the glider burn and see the sculpting results. The only exception is when you use gliders in the form of a short cardio burst, such as mountain climbers done with the gliders on your feet. To reap the benefits of gliders in cardio form, start slow for a few reps, say with your mountain climber, and then speed things up for a final 30 seconds.”
Take Advantage Of Their Versatility
“Gliders tend to have two sides – one soft and one hard,” says Maria. “This means you can use them on both carpet and wooden floor and their lightweight nature means they’re perfect for taking on holiday.” If you’re bored of your regular cardio workouts, gliding discs can also offer an alternative there, too. Depending on the exercise you’re performing, discs can help you raise your heartrate and hold it there, providing excellent cardio benefits. This, in turn, will keep your heart healthy and boost your metabolic rate. If you’re looking for a disc-inspired cardio burn, try Psycle’s Glide & Sculpt online workouts as part of their on-demand offering – the 45-minute sessions are some of the best we’ve tried.
THE WORKOUTS TO TRY:
The perfect full-body workout, this 25-minute class utilises light hand weights and gliders to sculpt the upper and lower body.
Tag this ten-minute session onto the end of your favourite workout to tone the abs and build core strength.
If you have a little more time on your hands, this 30-minute, high-energy workout will tick both the strength and cardio boxes.
Perfect for beginners, this low-impact workout takes things at a slower pace. Plus, Nicole is proof a towel works just as well as a pair of gliders.
Don’t be deceived by the name – this is far from a yoga-inspired workout. It will, however, strengthen the core and tone the arms, chest and glutes.
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DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.