Why Sliders Are My Secret Workout Weapon

by Carla Henderson

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I’ve picked up plenty of tips and tricks in my years as a trainer, but one of my favorites will always be incorporating sliders into my workouts and my clients’ programs. The beauty of sliders is they’re so minimal — even when you’re short on space, time or money to invest in workout equipment, you can make it work somehow with sliders.

Throughout my Oxygen Challenge 8 program, you’ll see sliders appear in numerous exercises and workouts. They’re one of the many ways I use to shake things up and keep your muscles guessing.

Here are some of the reasons this simple tool has become my workout secret weapon.

Carmel Rodriguez is one of your Oxygen Challenge 8 Coaches. Find out all you need to know about OC8 here!

Anyone Can Use Them

Sliders are one of the most attainable workout accessories you could ask for. Even if you don’t want to shell out the cash for a fancy pair from a fitness brand, you can still do any slider moves at home with a little creativity.

One of my favorite workarounds is using paper plates or bowls. You simply place your hands or feet on them, and boom, you’ve got yourself a pair of sliders. On hardwood floors, even just wearing a pair of socks can allow you to go through slider movements without any other equipment. The list doesn’t stop there — you can get seriously creative and use anything that allows for sliding through exercises.

They Help You Work Throughout Your Range of Motion

People often comment things like, “It looks too easy when you do it!” on my social media posts. I believe sliders are a huge part of developing the ability to move with control and, in turn, make most movements look (and feel) easier throughout the range of motion. With sliders, you have to be strong from the beginning and throughout the entire range of motion for an exercise.

In a lunge for example, you start standing, step your leg outward, complete your rep, then step and land back in the starting position. You do most of the work within the end range of that lunge when you’ve already stepped out into it. When you slide your leg out instead, the target muscles and stabilizing muscles around that bigger muscle group are working as you slide out into the lunge position.

From the beginning of that range of motion to the very end and throughout, you’re under tension and telling your muscles and tissues to wake up. You’re going to get more out of that slide than just stomping into one end range.

They Help With Injury Prevention

One of the major things I’ve learned through slider work is injury prevention. You can train hard, but to really build the muscle awareness and reflexes that save you from getting hurt, you need to move in your workouts the way you do in everyday life. That means you can’t just expect to move up and down or side to side — twisting and reaching and everything else we do daily should be within your workouts.

When you train with sliders and you train the way that I train, you’re helping your body protect itself, whatever way you fall, whatever way you do something. Once your body has learned all of these movement patterns, if you end up falling or if you end up doing something weird, your body’s already trained for the weirdness. Personally, I wish I had trained this way earlier in my life.

In the end, training this way can unlock a level of ability you never knew you had. At 45 years old, I can still do press handstands from a snap, and I can still do a handstand on my fingertips! That’s not a brag — it’s proof that our bodies are so much more capable than we think they are, if we just get all of our muscles working together.