1) Why are sliders so great? What body parts are they really working? (Guessing the core is a big one throughout!?)
If you’ve not heard of sliders before then you are missing out on a brilliant piece of fitness kit. Sliders are small discs that you can place under your hands or feet whilst performing exercises to give added challenge. As the name implies, sliders have a natural inclination to glide, so you have to really engage your core to keep them still whilst you perform the exercise. They are brilliant at improving balance, strengthening your core and developing stability in your muscles. Using sliders can help you to develop increased strength in your abs, chest, legs and arms.
2) 5 moves that can be done with sliders at home. Description of each, the body part they work and how many reps of each
There are so many exercises you can do with sliders, but I recommend starting with exercises that you are familiar with. The increased challenge of sliders can cause your form to be a little shaky, so by starting with someone you’re familiar with you will at least know how the basic exerciser should be done.
The plank with arm extension. The plank is a firm favourite and is likely to be an exercise you’ve done before. Start in plank position, face down with arms extended to the floor and legs out straight out behind you, toes bent for added stability. Have a slider under each hand. Keep your core engaged by making your muscles firm and strong then slowly move one slider forward until your arm is stretched as far forward as you can. Return and do the same for the following arm. This exercise is brilliant for strengthening your abs, and will also challenge your triceps. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps.
Sliding mountain climbers. Another exercise that you are likely to have tried is mountain climbers. You start in the plank position with a toe on each slider, then bring each knee forwards to chest level. Try not to do this too quickly as you are likely to lose balance. Done correctly and you’ll be working your glutes and abs, as well as your shoulders and all along your arms. Undertake 3 sets of 10 reps.
Sliding dog. The downward dog is a really popular yoga move whereby you go from your knees into an inverted v shape. The variation here sees you starting in the plank position once more, with your toes on the sliders then gradually moving your toes inwards into that inverted v shape. This is quite a challenging move and will work your core as well as hamstrings and calves. If you can, aim for 3 sets of 10 reps.
Sliding pelvic curl. The pelvic curl is a move you may have tried in Pilates. You lie flat on your back then raise your pelvis from the ground upwards. For added challenge, you’re going to place the sliders under your flat feet before making that pelvic curl. Then, with pelvic thrust held in place you are going to slide your feet inwards towards your bottom and back out. This exercise will work your quads, obliques, abs and your glutes. Once more, try to complete 3 sets of 10 reps.
Reverse plank circles. Again, another move that is popular in Pilates is the reverse plank whereby your body is still straight with arms extended, but you are facing upwards instead of downwards so resting on your heels instead of toes. Get into position with hands flat on the sliders and go up into reverse plank position. When your core is stable, make a small circle with one slider then do the same with the other. This might sound easy but will really test your core strength, developing your hamstrings, you arms and your abs. Aim for 10 reps (5 for each hand) and do this 3 times.
3) Where should our feet be planted on the slider?
It really depends on the exercise, for some exercises like sliding mountain climbers you will position toes on the slider, but for others like the sliding pelvic curl you will need a flat foot on the slider. Just ensure your foot is firmly positioned and feels comfortable, not like it is about to slide off.
4) How can we ensure we don’t slide off?
Exercises using sliders are about developing core strength and stability, this isn’t the time to try to win a race for speed! Instead, concentrate on doing each rep slowly and surely so that you gain confidence in using the slider. You will quickly get your balance and gain faith in the slider.
5) If we don’t have sliders, can we use another piece of household equipment? (i.e tea towel!)
Sliders are pretty inexpensive to buy, but if you don’t have any to hand you can try the exercises on a wooden or tiled floor wearing socks. For the hand sliders, you could use a couple of folded tea towels to mimic the gliding motion of the sliders. As ever though, take care on slippery surfaces and take your time until you are comfortable with the added glide.