Looking to amp up the difficulty—and gains—from every exercise you do? Grab some sliders.
"One of the most important aspects to strength and function centers around complex and compound movements, like squats and lunges," says Holly Perkins, CSCS, author of Lift To Get Lean. Sliders are incredible because they provide instability to these movements, forcing your lesser-used stabilizer muscles to work alongside your prime movers. "It’s as though you're able to super-charge any basic move by requiring 100% of the muscles in charge of a specific movement pattern," Perkins adds.
Ready to challenge your body in ways you haven't moved before?
Select 10 moves from the following list and perform them back to back with no rest in between for the reps noted. After you've completed one full circuit of all 10 moves, rest for 1 minute and repeat for a total of 3-5 full rounds.
How to do it: Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders. Put your weight into the balls of your feet and rest them on top of the sliders. Extend your legs out until you're in the top phase of a pushup. Draw your knees into your chest, dragging the sliders across the floor, then push your feet back out to the start.
Expert tip: Focus on the contraction of your abs, Perkins says. You want your abdominals to control the push-pull movement, not your hips.
How to do it: Begin on all fours with a cushion under your knees and sliders under your hands. Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders. Then, slide forward until your arms are fully extended, fingers pointing forward, keeping your knees on the ground. "As you slide, push your hands together so they end touching, and stop when your hips are fully opened but not touching the ground," Perkins says. Pause for 3 seconds, then engage your core to pull you back up to the starting position.
Expert tip: To maximize the benefit of this exercise (and minimize risk of injury and discomfort), take the time to stretch your hips. Warm up with mobility drills and dynamic moves like high knees, leg swings, Frankenstein toe touches, walking lunge rotations, and stretches like happy baby pose, deep squat hip stretch, sumo squat to stand, and pigeon pose.
How to do it: Sit with your legs extended straight out and your heels on sliders, toes pointed up. Place your hands, palms-down, next to your hips. Press your hands into the floor and your heels into the sliders to lift your hips off the floor 2-4 inches. Hold this position and drag your left heel towards you until it comes close to your butt, keeping your right leg extended. Press into both heels as you slide your left foot back out the start position. Now repeat on your right leg.
Expert tip: Keep your hips lifted off the floor the entire time, Perkins says, and engage your glutes and core to stay balanced. Don't let your hips drop to one side.
Reps: 30 (15 each leg, alternate as you go)
How to do it: Begin at the top phase of a pushup with your hands on sliders, touching, and your feet together. "Press your hands outward as you lower down, ending with your hands under your elbows like a standard pushup," Perkins says. Pause for 3 seconds, then pull your hands toward each other as you press back to the start position. That’s one rep.
Expert tip: Keep your core as tight as possible. This challenges your abs, chest, and triceps—all in one. If you're struggling, take a wider stance with your feet.
How to do it: Stand on sliders with a long, tall spine and your hands at your hips. Put your weight into your right leg and slide your left leg back, lowering down into a lunge until your left knee just grazes the floor. Drive into your right heel to press back up to the start position. Complete the same on the other side.
Expert tip: "You can add 10-30lb dumbbells in each hand if you want to increase the challenge," Perkins says.
Reps: 30 (15 each leg, alternate as you go)
How to do it: Stand on sliders with a long, tall spine and your hands at your hips. Focus your weight in your right leg and slide your left leg out to the side, keeping your knee extended, but not locked. Lower down as if you were doing a pistol squat (on your right leg) and pause when the top of your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold for 3 seconds. Drive into your right heel and return to standing.
Reps: 40 (Perform 20 reps on the left leg, then switch and complete for 20 reps on the right.)
How to do it: Stand tall with both feet on sliders. Turn your toes out to 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. as if you were standing on a clock. Keeping your chest lifted and head up, slide your feet out as you lower down into a sumo squat. Pause at the bottom for 3 seconds. Then, press into your heels to slide back in and stand up. That’s one rep.
Expert tip: "Use either just your body weight or hold 25-35lb dumbbells at your chest," Perkins says. Begin with bodyweight if you're just starting out and progressively add weight as you get stronger.
How to do it: Stand on sliders with your feet together. Keeping your spine straight and head tall, slide your left foot forward, allowing both knees to bend into a lunge until your left knee is at 90 degrees. Simultaneously, reach your right hand forward and tap the floor by the inside of your left foot. Press into your left heel to press back up and slide to the starting position.
Expert tip: "To increase the challenge, hold 10-15lb dumbbells in each hand," Perkins suggests.
Reps: 40 (Perform 20 reps on your left leg, then switch, and complete 20 on the right leg.)
How to do it: Stand with your back to a stable bench or stair, and place a slider under your left foot. Bring your right foot back so your toes are on the bench and your right knee is bent. Slide your left foot forward 2 feet and stop. From here, lower down until the top of your left thigh is parallel to the ground. Pause at the bottom for 3 seconds and then stand back up.
Expert tip: "While the slider isn't moving in this exercise, it creates instability under your foot increasing the effort in your leg to hold its position," Perkins says. With this in mind, focus on driving through your heels and keeping your movements stable.
Reps: 40 (Perform 20 reps on your left leg, then switch and complete 20 reps on your right leg.)
How to do it: Begin at the top of a pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your toes on sliders. Without locking your elbows or knees, pull your left knee into your chest, but keep your right leg extended. From here, switch leg positions so that your left leg is extended and your right knee is in near your chest.
Expert tips: "For added challenge, complete these as fast as possible," Perkins says.
Reps: 40 (20 on each leg, alternating as you go)
How to do it: Begin at the top of a pushup with your hands on sliders, directly under your shoulders, and legs extended with feet together. Lower down into a pushup, keeping your arms close to your torso so your hands are directly under your shoulders at the bottom phase. Hold this position and hover for a few seconds. Then, immediately slide your left arm forward until it is fully extended. Pull it back and switch arms, extending your right arm.
Expert tip: Don't rush the arm extensions. Work time under tension to get a deep burn going in your core, shoulders, and triceps.
Reps: 10 (5 presses on each side, alternating as you go)
How to do it: Sit on your left hip, with your knees bent and feet together on top of one slider. Your feet should be stacked on top of each other and flexed. Place your left hand under your shoulder and lift up into a side plank, extending your legs. "Your heels, hips, and left shoulder should be aligned," Perkins stresses. From here, slide your feet in toward your butt by bending your knees into a tuck. Pause and engage your ab muscles. Then, press and slide your feet back to the starting position, staying lifted in the side plank. That’s one rep.
Reps: 30 (15 each side)