Weight-bearing exercise helps maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis, but high-impact weight-bearing activities may trigger injuries in people with joint and ligament problems. Gliding discs reduce the risk of injury. When placed under the hands or feet, these discs facilitate gliding movements in all planes of motion. Since your hands or feet remain in constant contact with the surface, gliding discs provide low-impact weight-bearing exercise. Manufacturers design discs that work on carpet or wood floors.
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The gliding disc pushup combines the benefits of a bench press and a chest fly. Begin in a pushup position with the discs under your hands and your hands together. Glide your hands apart as you bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor. Glide your hands back together as you straighten your elbows and return to your starting position. To work your inner and outer thighs, place the discs under your feet. Glide your legs apart as you bend your elbows into the pushup. Contract your inner thighs as you straighten your arms and slide your feet together.
Multidirectional gliding disc exercises work your gluteal muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings and inner and outer thighs. Stand in an upright position and place the disc under your right foot. Lift your right heel and slide your right leg behind you, bending both knees. Use your core muscles to help keep your upper torso upright. Perform 10 repetitions on each leg. To add inner thigh muscle engagement, bend your left knee as you slide your right leg out to the side. Move your hips backward, as if you were performing a squat. Straighten your legs and contract your inner thigh to drag your right leg back to the starting position.
Hamstrings and Inner Thighs
This hamstring bridge variation bears resemblance to a similar exercise performed with a stability ball, but the discs provide more friction and make the exercise more challenging. Lie supine with your knees bent and a disc under each foot. Lift each vertebra to create a spinal bridge and remain in the bridge as you straighten and bend your legs for 10 repetitions. Roll back to the starting position and perform two more sets. To work your inner and outer thighs, remain in the bridge and glide your legs apart and together.
Gliding discs also facilitate sport-specific exercises. To train for cross-country skiing, stand upright with a gliding disc under each foot. Glide one foot forward and the other other foot backward in a continuous movement while simulating Nordic ski poling movements with your arms. The mountain climber exercise engages the muscles used in mountain and rock climbing, including the hamstring, gluteal, quadriceps and core muscles. Assume a pushup position with one disc under each foot. Bend one knee and glide it toward your chest. Straighten your leg and repeat on the other side. Continue for as long as you can maintain proper form.