Doug Balzarini by Doug Balzarini

As trainers and coaches, we have endless options to choose from when it comes to equipment. A Google search reveals literally thousands of different tools we can use. Between cardio machines, strength-training machines, bars, bells, balls, bands, tubing and ropes, how does one decide what to use? Here are a few features I look for in equipment:

-Effectiveness - Does it help us get to the goal?
-Efficiency - Can I get a full-body workout?
-Versatility - Can I use it with different populations?
-Simplicity - Is it difficult to learn and use?

Of course, we must keep the client’s goals in mind. If he only wants to get bigger and stronger, the elliptical machine is not going to be my go-to choice. Keeping those aforementioned features in mind, one piece of equipment that fits the bill is the slider. This simple tool can be used in a variety of ways to challenge the entire body. With a pair of sliders and a little space, you can help your clients get in a great workout.

There are many brands out there when it comes to sliders—HavykSliders, Valslides, purple gliders, furniture sliders from your local Bed, Bath & Beyond, paper plates…the list goes on. Depending on your goals and the surface you are working with, I may recommend one option over another.

The Versatility of the Slider

Here are some additional reasons the sliders should be a part of your fitness toolbox:

-Great for Groups - With its fairly short learning curve, sliders are great for training groups
-Ideal for Non-gym Settings* - Sliders can be used almost anywhere, including in-home trainings or other non-traditional locations
-Portable - Because of their portability, sliders can be taken on the road and used in a hotel room

*I’ve used more durable versions, like the HavykSliders, outside and they hold up pretty well.

When I mention full-body routines, we could generalize that into three areas: upper body, lower body and torso. If we hit those main areas, chances are we are getting in a fairly well-rounded workout. (Note: The body is, of course, much more intricate and sophisticated than that, but for the purposes of this article, I’m keeping things simple.)

Here are some of my top slider movements:

Upper body - Push-up Variations. With the sliders under your hands, move one or both hands in a variety of directions while performing a push-up.

Lower body - Lunge Variations. Using one slider under the moving foot, perform  reverse and lateral lunge variations.

Torso - Ab Exercises. With each foot on a slider, perform knee tucks, pikes and seal walks.

Sample Exercises

Here’s a quick clip showing a simple three-movement routine that targets the lower body, upper body and torso.

For the majority of my clientele, I program full-body exercise routines designed with their goals in mind. We are in the results business, so work with your clients to devise an effective plan that will produce the results they desire and they’ll keep coming back for more. The slider is a simple and effective tool that can help you along the way.