The question: My gym recently got these purple disks called gliders. What do I do with them? Should I go to classes that incorporate them?
The answer: I like gliders. You can use them to work your entire body, plus they offer fun twists on traditional favourites like push-ups, lunges and planks.
My only caveat is that people shouldn't use them to add variety or intensity to their workouts before mastering the basics. Make sure that you have perfected the standard version of exercises like the lunge, squat, deadlift, plank, push-up and pull-up before doing modified versions with gliders.
Their best features are they are inexpensive and easy to transport. Use them at home and when you travel in place of more cumbersome or expensive pieces. They make it easy to workout anywhere since you can do fun exercises like glider knee tucks on a dock, in your living room or in your hotel room!
When you can't get to the gym, use glider knee tucks to replace stability-ball core exercises. Start in a plank with your toes on a glider and hands under your shoulders. Pull your knees into your chest so the glider moves along the floor. Return your legs to their starting position and repeat.
Do glider hamstring curls to replace lower body favourites like stability-ball hamstring curls: Lie on your back with each of your heels on one glider. Lift your hips into a bridge. Straighten and bend your legs so the gliders move to and from your bum.
At the gym, use the gliders in addition to free weights and traditional body weight exercises, not instead of free weights and the basics likes squats and lunges. For example, do 10 lunges with your right leg forward. To make the lunges harder, hold free weights. Then, without resting, place the glider under your left toes. Slide your left foot forward and back 10 times. Make sure to stay low in the lunge, your right knee bent and torso stable. Switch and repeat both exercises with the left leg forward.
Trainer's tip: There are two types of gliders: one that slides on carpet and one that slides on hardwood or tile. Don't have a glider? Substitute a Frisbee on carpeted floors or a towel on hardwood or tile.
Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.