Exercises done using gliding discs, also known as exercise sliders, are far more challenging than doing a simple body-weight exercise, because they engage the core muscles more efficiently. All exercises in standing, seated, supine, prone or box positions can be done using this simple equipment.
What you need is a smooth tiled, or wooden floor, two discs or small paper plates or a couple of tissues for each leg. The workout can be done with or without shoes. Place the ball of your foot on the equipment. The heel should be off the disc. Do wear comfortable apparel that has the capacity to stretch.
I would recommend that you use the disc under one foot to start with, and as you get adept, try using the disc under both feet. As always, warm up before you begin.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place the ball of the feet on the disc. Your hands can be placed on the hips, as this will aid a strong posture. Slide one leg behind to take a lunge posture, the forward knee bending to a 90-degree angle. Pull the disc back to a standing position as you come off the lunge. Repeat 16 to 20 times. As you get better, you can include arm movements to the lunge. This challenges stability.
Lie face-down on your mat and place both hands on the discs, by the side of the chest. Bend the knees so that the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling.
As you inhale, slide the hands, along with the discs, forward, and making a big arc, come back to the starting position. Your body lifts off the floor as you execute this exercise. This arm movement is very similar to a breast stroke in swimming. This is an excellent exercise for the back muscles.
Lie face-up on a mat, feet on the discs on the floor. Lift the hips off the floor to get a feel of the exercise. Once you are confident, lift the hips off and slide one leg away from the hips. Repeat on the other leg as well. This works the glutes and hamstrings.
Front hold. Place the ball of the foot on the discs, as you assume a full arm plank. The more advanced athlete can be on the elbows. Slide the leg sideways one at a time, or both legs simultaneously. This is very challenging for the core and the whole body. One set of mountain climbing can be an additional exercise to add on in the same workout.
Sit with both legs stretched wide. Place your hands on the discs. As you bend forward, you will feel a stretch in the back muscles. You can repeat this 4 to 5 times. Follow this with stretching the right arm towards the left foot; hold for 5 seconds and repeat on the other side. Repeat 5 times.
Nisha Varma is an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist.
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