Tone every part of your body at home or the gym with gliding discs
New Year, new… workout? If you’re looking for a way to shake up your workouts in 2022, take a look at gliding discs. These super-affordable bits of fitness kit are fun, versatile, and work every part of your body.
Gliding discs workouts will sculpt your body, burn fat, and build strength. If you think that sounds too good to be true, read on to understand why these nifty bits of kit work so well.
What are gliding discs?
Gliding discs are smooth circular discs that slide along the floor under your hands (or feet) to instantly make any bodyweight workout tougher! They’re cheap, light, and easy to take with you wherever you work out. And they really work, cranking up the intensity of any body weight movement.
3 benefits of gliding discs
They might be the least-fancy piece of fitness kit you’ll ever own, but don’t underestimate them. These unassuming circles amp up any workout to help you burn more calories, build strength and tone up your muscles.
1. Build muscle
Gliding discs bring a new dimension to bodyweight workouts and core exercises, putting a new stimulus through your muscles so you tone up and build lean muscle.
2. Burn fat
Using the discs, you’ll continually need to activate and stabilise your muscles. This means you’ll burn more calories and lose more fat than if you didn’t use the gliding discs. And because gliding discs offer a low-impact workout, you can do it more often (which will burn more fat than infrequent workouts).
3. Build strength
Adding discs to your training sessions builds the kind of strength you usually see in gymnasts or calisthenics athletes. It’s a different kind of strength to the power you get from pushing heavy weights. Gliding discs strength is full body strength and stability that includes your core muscles.
How to use gliding discs
Gliding discs are simple, but you need to spend time getting used to them. The biggest change you’ll notice with is that your body moves in all three planes of motion: sagittal (forward and back), frontal (side to side), and transverse (rotational). This is a bit different to more traditional workouts which stick to one plan of motion. But that’s what makes them so effective!
Gliding discs workout technique
Ready to get started? Just place both hands, both feet, or one of each on the discs. Doing a workout on them can feel weird at first. Your body will be working extra hard to control its own weight on the moving discs.
Start with small movements so you can get used to the slidiness (if that’s not a word, it should be!) Try a plank with both hands on the discs, and move one hand slightly out in front of you.
What muscles do you activate using gliding discs?
Everyone thinks they are a core workout tool, and that’s true. Almost every movement you do on gliding discs will activate your core muscles. But they work so many more muscle groups than your core.
Check out the exercises below and you’ll see how gliding discs can work your leg muscles and glutes, upper body, shoulders, arms and back.
All the muscles you need to tone for a lean, shapely physique – without high intensity or heavy weights.
The best workouts for different muscle groups
Gliding discs exercises for abs and core
Start in a table top position with both hands on the discs.
Slide your hands out in front, with straight arms, keeping your core tight.
Slide out as far as you can with good technique, then pull your arms and hands in by activating your core.
Lie flat on your back (legs out straight) with the discs under your heels.
Crunch up into a sit up, pulling your heels in with your knees bent.
Pause the top, then lower back down – keeping your heels on the discs throughout.
Start in a plank position either on your hands (hands under shoulders) or forearms.
Make sure your bottom isn’t sagging down or sticking up – your body should be in a straight line
Holding the plank position, slide one hand or elbow forward slightly
Follow this with a “step” forward with the other hand or elbow
The aim is to travel forward slowly
Gliding discs for arms and shoulders
Start in a plank position with the discs under your hands
Maintain the plank position as you slide one hand outwards in a large circle
Bring it back to the start position and repeat with the other arm
Get into a press up position (feet or knees to suit your ability level)
Have the discs under your hands
Perform a regular press up
The aim is not to move the discs, in fact the challenge with this exercise is stabilising yourself to keep the discs in place
Full-body gliding discs exercises
Start in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders
Put the gliding discs under your feet
Bring your left knee to your left elbow and back again
Repeat on the right side
You’ll need two sets of discs for this full-body exercise
Start in a plank position with your hands and feet on gliding discs
Initiating the movement from your core, pull your hands and feet together underneath you
Paise at this top position, then slowly control the body back to the starting plan
Gliding discs for leg muscles
Disc hamstring curl
Lie on our back, knees bent and feet on the floor
Place the discs under your feet
Squeeze your bum and core as you lift your hips up high
Keeping the hips high, bring your feet in towards your body as far as you can (it might not be a big movement) and back again
Disc reverse lunge
Stand up with one foot on a gliding disc
Lunge down, bending the leg that is not on the disc, and send the gliding disc behind you
Stand back up to complete the rep
Do a set on this side, then switch sides to do all your reps on the other side
Kneel upright with the discs under your knees
Side your knees outwards then squeeze your adductors (inner thighs) to bring your knees together
Common mistakes to avoid with gliding discs
Moving too quickly
The key to a good gliding discs workout is slow, controlled movements. If you try to do the exercises too quickly, not only will you risk hurting yourself but you won’t get the true benefits of the deep muscle activation.
Too much focus on abs
We all want lean, toned abs, but don’t forget to use your gliding discs for upper body and lower body moves too. Almost any exercise you do on gliding discs will target your core muscles anyway!
Not using the discs correctly
Gliding discs are great for home workouts, hotel room workouts, or a quiet corner of the gym. Take some time to get familiar with them. If you’re working out on a carpeted surface, put the smooth side down. If you’re using a hard floor, put the fabric side down.