You don’t need heavy weights to carve out strong glutes and core muscles. If you want to spice up your bodyweight workouts, add gliders – light plastic circles that you place under your feet to really challenge balance, strength and control. If you don’t fancy buying a pair, why not test these exercises using folded tea towels?

Lockdown required us to get more creative with our workouts. While there were those who blew a month’s salary on Peloton, many of us realised that we could do a lot with very little by way of equipment. Now that we have access to more options, however, there’s an argument for keeping those simple but effective workouts in our regimes. Enter: gliders.  

No, we don’t mean those tasty little burgers, but the super-lightweight round exercise discs loved by personal trainers for the way they challenge big muscle groups. Perfect for travelling and known to improve flexibility, strength and endurance, gliders are the secret to strong, lean muscles whatever your floor space or time limits. 

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“Gliders are a very easy way to make your training sessions work harder for you without putting strain on your joints,” says personal trainer Amélie Khellaf. “They’re ideal for any low impact routine. They require a certain amount of balance which also means that you’re engaging your core much more than with any other piece of equipment to keep you steady and tapping into those small stabilising muscles. 

“They are also very handy to take a bodyweight workout to the next level by adding natural resistance and challenge to every move.”

If you’re new to gliders, Amélie suggests doing your research as some products are better on carpet whereas others are specifically designed for use on hard flooring. “This is all about very slow, controlled movements. Keep your movements like a flow, uninterrupted in one sequence to make sure your foot is continuously on the disc which will also prevent injuries.”

A good way to get used to them, she says, is performing a simple plank with one foot on the discs and slowly slide it out to the side and back in again – “you’ll notice your core and back muscles engaging instantly. To make sure you really target the deep core muscles, engage your midsection at all times and keep checking your form throughout to make sure you’re not slouching. Re-adjust yourself as many times as you need.”

 The most effective way to use gliders is to “keep going when your muscles start to burn” as that’s when you’re going to start feeling a change to your body. And yes, you’ll probably wake up with some serious DOMs the next day – so you’ve been warned! 

5 move glider workout for the glutes and core

This workout involves doing three sets of five moves. Each set involves working for 45 seconds before taking a 15-second rest between moves.  

Move 1 – abs and glutes

  1. Come onto your hands and knees, hands under shoulders, hips above knees and place the gliders under your feet. 
  2. Get into a high plank by extending your legs out using the sliding motion. 
  3. Stay there for two seconds before sliding your feet in to bring your knees to your chest. 
  4. Hold for two seconds before sliding your feet back out.

Move 2 – glutes and obliques

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Place the gliders under your feet.
  3. Bend both knees and starting with the right leg, slowly draw a rainbow with your foot – sliding your leg right behind you and bringing it back to the squat position. 
  4. Keep the supporting leg slightly bent at all times. 
  5. Repeat for 45 seconds then switch sides.

Move 3 – abs and glutes

  1. Start in a high plank position, hands under shoulders, hips above knees and place the gliders under your feet. 
  2. Place your right foot on the glider and slide it forward to the outside of your right hand, keeping both legs straight.
  3. Hold for two seconds, then slide the foot back so bring you back into that initial plank position. 
  4. Repeat for 45 seconds, then switch sides.

Move 4 – glutes

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips, with gliders under your feet. 
  2. Slide to the side with your right leg then push your hips back, bend your right knee and lower your body until your right knee is bent nearly 90°. 
  3. Return to the start.
  4. Repeat for 45 seconds, then switch sides.

Move 5 – glutes

Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides and heels on top of gliders. 

Engage your hamstrings, bend your knees and bring your feet toward your butt.

Slowly return to start. 

Looking for more glute-loving exercises? Try one of our new bodyweight exercise videos designed to fire up the lower body with squats, lunges and deep core moves.

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