When your typical body-weight workouts start to feel a little lackluster, using a pair of exercise sliders can help you amp things up. Exercise sliders add an element of instability, forcing you to recruit more muscles to maintain proper form and perform moves.
"Exercise sliders are an amazing tool to add more challenge to your workout routine," says Alonzo Wilson, founder and director of training at Tone House in New York City. "They do force you to activate your core during exercises, but they do a whole lot more than that. They can work every muscle in your body, build strength and even help improve your conditioning and respiratory system."
The Best Exercise Sliders
How Do Exercise Sliders Work?
Instead of placing your feet or hands on the ground for any given exercise, you'll place them on a slider, which glides along a flat surface.
"A move like a traditional mountain climber can be tricky for some people, especially on toe impact when switching legs," says Karim Baylor, a National Council on Strength and Fitness-certified personal trainer based in New York City. "The sliders take the bounce out of the equation and provide a transitional time under tension aspect to the whole move."
Because of that additional time under tension, you need to move more slowly and with control to keep your muscles engaged.
"They allow for gradual movement through the eccentric and concentric muscle contractions, which is when you lengthen or shorten your muscle during an exercise, as well as isometric work, which is the static contraction or amount of time you hold an exercise without moving," says Kenny Santucci, a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)-certified personal trainer and creator of STRONG New York in New York City.
Exercise sliders are also versatile enough that beginners and more seasoned athletes can benefit. "You can use them for low-impact movements and full-body work, which typically engages the legs and arms, and targets the core muscles heavily in an unconventional way," Baylor says.
Plus, because they're small and lightweight, sliders are a perfect on-the-go workout tool. "Sliders are a great option when you're looking for something you can pack for travel or just heading to the gym or park," says Curtis Williams, a NASM-certified personal trainer and owner of Training C.A.M.P. based in New York City. "They enable you to get a lot of movements with a simple piece of equipment."
What to Know Before You Buy
While most exercise sliders are circular discs, they come in different shapes, such as ovals and hexagons. The shape you choose depends on how you plan to use them and the size of your hands and feet. For example, an oval slider might provide more surface area for planting your limbs.
Sliders are generally dual-sided, too, so you can use them on different surfaces. "The surface you'll be using them on is important," Williams says. "Typically turf or carpet would require a hard-bottom slider, while some fitness studio floors or hardwood ones at home would call for sliders with a felt-like material on the bottom."
You also want to be sure that at least one of the surfaces on your sliders is sweat-friendly and easy to grip, so you don't slip off when things get heated. "It's great if the top has some soft grip for your hands and toes," Williams says. "You want your workout to go as smoothly as possible without having to stop and reset your sliders."
5 Best Exercise Sliders to Amp Up Your Workout
Thinking about trying a pair? Here are five exercise slider options to help you take your workout to the next level.
1. Best Overall: Synergee Core Sliders
For less than $11, you can get these versatile sliders, which easily glide across most surfaces. On one side, there's a soft foam material that can be used on hardwood floors, and on the other, there's a plastic that's best on carpet and turf. Choose from green, black, pink, red or yellow.
"I use these sliders regularly," Santucci says. "They're great quality, and I like that they can be used on different surfaces, like hardwood or cement floors, as well as turf." The sliders have more than 6,000 Amazon reviews, which average a 4.5 out of five stars. Sounds pretty stellar to us!
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $10.95
2. Best Hexagon Sliders: SKLZ Slidez
The hexagonal shape of these sliders reinforces functional movement because you can move more easily in different ranges of motion. They're also made out of soft material that won't scratch or mark the surfaces you use them on.
"These sliders are good because from my experience, they're very well-made with a bit more material than your typical slider," Williams says. "This means more padding for your hands, and more grip for your feet to slide without interruption."
Another feature Williams loves is that the sliders are dual-sided, so they can be used on different surfaces, including tiles and hardwood and ceramic floors. Although they are pricier than most sliders, reviewers love their durability and quality materials.
"The feature that separates the SKLZ slider from other options is you can connect both slides together to create one long slider," Williams says. "This is great for pikes, double-knee tucks or even just traveling pushes for a beginner who is new to using sliders as a tool — you don't have to isolate and stabilize with each arm or leg individually."
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $19.11
3. Best Oval Sliders: Valslide Discs
These oval sliders can turn any surface, from carpet, tile or hardwood floors, into a training zone. You can use them to do everything from push-ups to lunges to plank walk-outs. They're also great for deepening stretches. Plus, they come with an exercise DVD with two slider workouts to try at home.
"The Valslides have a slightly thicker foam padding, which may increase the need for stability, and can also cause you to activate differently on certain exercises like reverse lunges or plank reaches, recruiting more muscles," Baylor says. "I like the oval shape because of the long surface area. It's good for foot and hand planting."
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $29.95
4. Best for Travel: iQinQi Exercise Sliders
At 22 centimeters in diameter, these sliders are a little wider than traditional ones, but "they're probably the lightest pair to carry around and store," Baylor says. "If you're looking to save space in luggage, these sliders can go with you on any trip, and personal trainers can easily pack them to use with clients."
Reviewers who rated these sliders with five stars rave about how well they work on carpets as well as hardwood floors — and that they're just as effective as some of the pricier options on the market.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $9.99
5. Best on a Budget: Iron Core Fitness Sliders
These durable sliders work well on multiple surfaces, so you can use them at home on tiles or hardwood floors, or bring them with you to the gym to use on turf or padded floors. When you purchase a pair, you'll also get PDF and paper exercise guides, as well as access to a video workout series. As the cheapest pair on this list, you'll also save a few bucks.
"You can't go wrong with this versatile pair," Baylor says, "and the padding is just enough for stable hand and foot placement, without the fear or annoyance of slipping around once things get sweaty."
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $6.95
Put Your Sliders to Work
Try this full-body slider workout — it only takes 20 minutes!