gliding disc workout

Do-Anywhere Workout: Gliding Discs

These challenging moves will help you maintain intensity when you’re traveling.

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Travel-ready gliding discs are lightweight and easily fit in a small drawer or carry-on bag. However, their benefits go far beyond the convenience factor—sliders can improve your flexibility, strength, and endurance. For proof, look no further than buff figure competitor and New York City-based Equinox instructor Mary Onyango, who incorporates the discs into her classes and workouts. “Gliders let you move through a fuller range of motion,” she says. “And because there’s no impact, there’s less stress on your joints.” This makes sliding workouts ideal for people returning to exercise after an injury or postpartum. 

But don’t mistake low impact for reduced results: “Using gliders for a high-intensity move like a mountain climber lets you go harder for longer before you get exhausted, which increases your calorie burn,” says Onyango. “Plus, the tools create a somewhat unstable surface, which challenges your proprioceptive system [the receptors responsible for body awareness] as well as your core.” In other words, with every rep your brain and your core are working hard. 

Experience the effects of gliding with Onyango’s favorite disc moves. Cherry-pick a few for your regular routine; or for a quick total-body workout, perform each exercise for 1 minute in order. 



The Runner: Stand with each foot on a gliding disc, hip-width apart, and arms bent at sides as if you were running. Bend left knee as you slide right foot back, then bring right foot forward and slide left foot back. Return left foot to starting position. Next, slide right foot to the right and then glide left foot at a diagonal behind it. Repeat in the opposite direction, sliding left foot to the left and gliding right foot at a diagonal behind it. Return to starting position and repeat the entire sequence at a quick pace.



Slide-Through: Sit with legs extended on the floor in front of you, each heel on a disc, palms on the floor beside hips. Lift hips. Slide feet forward as you raise hips until you’re in a reverse plank, with your body aligned from shoulders to heels. Reverse the motion, sliding feet back until you’re in a pike position. Repeat.



The Kicker: Lie face-up with knees bent and each foot on a gliding disc, close to your hips. Extend arms at sides, palms on the floor. Tuck pelvis forward slightly and lift hips. Keeping back flat (not arched), press down on the discs as you extend legs in front of you. Bend knees to return to starting position; repeat. (To make this move easier, extend one leg at a time, alternating legs each rep.)



Side Plank Shoot-Out: Get in a side plank position on your left side with left foot slightly in front of right, and a disc under the ball of each foot. Extend left arm toward the ceiling. Keeping hips facing forward, slide left foot forward as you glide right foot back, so your legs form a V. Slide feet back to starting position and repeat. Switch sides (after 30 seconds if you’re doing this move for 1 minute) to complete set.



Military Crawl: Get in plank position with forearms on the floor and each forefoot on a gliding disc, hip-width apart. Keeping body aligned from head to heels, reach right hand forward, then left hand, pulling your body forward. Repeat once more, then reverse direction, walking your hands four “steps” backward. Continue, moving forward and back.



Sliding Sit-Up: Lie face-up with legs extended on the floor in front of you. Extend arms in a T at sides, palms facedown on gliding discs. Sit up as you slide hands toward each other behind your back. Reverse motion to return to starting position, then repeat.


Double Extender Push-Up: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, a disc under each foot, and place two discs on the floor in front of your toes. Squat deeply and place a hand on each disc in front of your feet. Extend both legs behind you as you simultaneously bend right elbow straight back and reach left arm forward, lowering chest toward the floor. Push up as you bring left arm and both legs to starting position. Repeat, extending right arm forward as you bend left elbow. Continue, alternating arms each time. 


The Climber: Get in plank position with a gliding disc under the ball of each foot. Bend right knee toward your chest. Extend right leg as you bend left knee toward your chest. Continue, alternating sides.