Why Glider Workouts Are Plateau Busters

Emily Abbate
by Emily Abbate
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Why Glider Workouts Are Plateau Busters

Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest difference. When it comes to your workout routine, there are loads of different equipment options to kick your fitness to the next level. While popular picks like kettlebells and resistance bands can pack a total-body punch, there’s one lesser-used trainer favorite that we have a hunch is missing from your routine: gliders.

That’s right, gliders. The small plastic discs covered on one side with soft foam instantly add a level of difficulty to popular bodyweight movements — like lunges, planks and squats. Think you’re a squat master? Try doing a squat, then sliding your right foot in and out four times while holding the bottom position. Bam, you’ve got an entirely new, challenging exercise to master.

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“Gliders are super useful when you want to progress an exercise,” says Rachel Mariotti, certified strength and conditioning specialist and New York City-based trainer. “Plus, they create less stability throughout the body. This forces you to use your core — including your abs, back and obliques — more.”

Translation: Double the bang for your buck. When your body starts to get used to certain exercises (like the squat example above), adding a glider creates a new obstacle.

“Suddenly, your joints are moving and stabilizing in totally different directions,” says Mariotti.

Plus, they’re super portable and inexpensive. You can also DIY your gliders by substituting two small towels. In most circumstances they’ll provide you with the same range of motion and muscular challenge.


Here are three simple moves you can do with gliders at home. Take things to the next level by stringing them together for a total-body workout you can do anywhere, on your own time. Rest 30 seconds between each move; do 3 sets.


Start in a high plank position with your left hand on the floor, right hand on glider. Lower into a conventional pushup. With your elbow at 90 degrees, engage your core and slowly slide your right arm forward. Hold for 1 second. Bring it back toward the chest and pushup to start for 1 rep. Repeat on the opposite side. To make it easier, either hold plank on your knees or do a pushup and then reach your arm.

Do 10 alternating reps.


Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, your left foot on a glider, right foot on the ground. Standing on your right side, lower your left leg down into a lateral lunge. Press through the heel on your right foot to return to standing, drawing your left foot back to shoulder-width distance on the glider. That’s 1 rep.

Do 8 reps per leg.


Start in a low plank position, forearms on the floor, core engaged, feet resting on gliders. Engage the core and slowly crawl forward for 10 seconds, making sure not to raise your glutes. Crawl backward to start.

Repeat 3 times.

About the Author

Emily Abbate
Emily Abbate

Emily has written for GQ, Self, Shape and Runner’s World (among others). As a certified personal trainer, run and spin coach, she’s often tackling long runs or lifting heavy things. In addition to that, she’s working on Hurdle, a podcast that talks to badass humans and entrepreneurs who got through a tough time —a hurdle of sorts— by leaning into wellness.


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