girl doing a slider workout at a gymShare on Pinterest

If you’ve ever noticed those small purple and teal discs in the stretching area at the gym and wondered “WTF?”, you’re not alone.

Though we admit that some sliders come with cheesy ’80s flair, they can truly take any bodyweight move to the next level.

For example: Maybe you could do squats all day, but add a set of sliders — forcing yourself to slide your feet apart and then pull them back together to stand — and you’ve got a challenging new move.

And the best part? If you don’t have sliders, you can do these moves with two small dish towels. (Just don’t dry your plates with them after this.)

Check out all the exercises you can do below. When you’re ready to put it all together, try our fast and effective workout at the end.

1. Knee tuck

Start in high plank position with both feet on sliders. Pull knees in to touch chest.

Focus on keeping core tight, and don’t hike hips too high. Push feet back to return to high plank. Repeat.

2. Mountain climber

Start in high plank position with both feet on sliders. Slide right knee forward to chest. Push knee back to return to high plank. Repeat on the other side.

3. Single-leg mountain climber

Start in high plank position with right toes on a slider. Pull left leg to chest and hold, hovering toes a few inches off the floor.

Slide right leg forward to chest, then push out. Hold left leg steady at chest throughout. Repeat on the other side.

4. Cross mountain climber

Start in high plank position with both feet on sliders. Pull right knee in to chest and across your body, aiming for left shoulder. Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.

5. Wide mountain climber

Start in high plank position with both feet on sliders. Pull right leg forward to the outside of right arm (like a Lizard Pose in yoga).

Push right leg back to starting position and repeat on the other side. Focus on engaging your core and using this move to open your hips.

6. Plank jack

Start in forearm plank position with both feet on sliders. Push feet apart to at least hip width, then pull them back together. Repeat as quickly as possible.

7. Pike

Start in high plank position with both feet on sliders. Brace core and hike hips toward the ceiling, pulling feet in toward hands.

Make sure to keep hands and shoulders in the same place. Slide feet back to starting position and repeat.

8. Thai plank

Start in high plank position with both feet on sliders. Bring right foot up toward right shoulder, bending right knee and opening right hip, as you bend both arms and lower into a push-up.

Your right knee should be close to right elbow. As you push up, slide right foot back, so you finish in high plank position. Repeat on the other side.

9. Side knee tuck

Start in high plank position with both feet on sliders. Bring knees in toward chest. Slide both feet to the right, making sure to engage your obliques.

Finish with both feet outside your right hand. Push back into high plank and repeat on the other side.

10. Reverse tuck

Lie faceup with knees bent and both feet on sliders. Lift hips off the floor into a bridge position, engaging glutes and hamstrings.

Slide both feet away from your butt, keeping hips in the same position. Pull feet back in, keeping hips lifted throughout. Repeat.

Make it easier: Slide one foot forward at a time.

11. Skater

Start standing with both feet on sliders. Slide left foot behind right as far as possible, simultaneously bending right leg and reaching right fingertips to touch the floor.

Pull left foot back as you return to starting position. Repeat on the other side. Continue to alternate sides.

12. Reverse lunge

Start standing with both feet on sliders. Bend right leg and slide right foot back into a low lunge, keeping left foot stationary.

Straighten your leg and pull right foot in to return to starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Make it easier: Remove slider from under the fixed foot so you have more stability.

13. Squat

Start standing with both feet on sliders, shoulder-width apart. Engage glutes, hamstrings, and core.

Send hips back and push both feet away from your midline as quickly as possible, dropping into a low squat.

Using your inner thigh muscles and glutes, pull your legs back together to stand. Think about “zipping” your legs together as you return to the starting position.

14. Lateral lunge

Start standing with both feet on sliders, shoulder-width apart. Engage glutes.

Send hips back as you slide right foot to the right, bending left leg slightly without allowing left knee to go past toes.

Extend right leg as far as you can, balancing most of your weight on your left (bent) leg. Pull right foot back toward you as you straighten left leg to return to a standing position. Repeat on the other side.

15. Reaching reverse lunge

Start sitting on the floor with knees bent and both feet on sliders. Keep hands on the floor with fingertips facing forward.

Lift hips until knees form a 90-degree angle, arms are straight, and hips are level (a Reverse Tabletop position). From here, flex right ankle so only right heel rests on slider. Send right foot forward, engaging your glutes and hamstrings, then pull back to Reverse Tabletop.

Lower right foot and flex left ankle. Send left foot forward and pull it back. Repeat.

Make it harder: As you push each foot forward, perform a dip by bending both arms. Straighten both arms as you pull foot back to starting position.

16. Plank kick-out

Start in high plank position with both feet on sliders, legs bent, and knees together. Push both feet to the right and fully extend legs. Bring legs back to center, then swing them to the left, fully extending legs.

17. Toe point

Start in high plank position with both feet on sliders and feet flexed, so just your toes are touching the sliders.

Point toes as much as possible to move sliders just a few inches, keeping core engaged. Pull toes back to a flexed-foot position.

Yes, this one is a tiny movement, but we promise you’ll still feel your calves working. This exercise will help strengthen your ankle and foot muscles.

18. Sliding burpee

Start standing with both feet on sliders. Squat, place hands on the floor, and slide back into a high plank position. Perform one push-up. Pull knees back to chest and stand. Repeat.

19. Curtsy lunge

Start standing with both feet on sliders, feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hips slightly hinged (as if you were just starting to lower into a squat).

You should feel your glutes and hamstrings already engaged. Using all the muscles in your right leg, push right foot behind left and come into a low curtsy lunge.

Return to starting position by pulling right foot back so it’s parallel to left, keeping knees bent and hips hinged throughout. Repeat on the other side.

20. Sliding jack into wide squat

Start standing with both feet on sliders. Push feet out as quickly as possible and come into a low, wide squat. Make sure toes are turned out to the sides (like a second-position plié) and simultaneously raise your arms overhead into a clap.

Using inner thighs and core, pull legs back together as quickly as possible as you bring hands down to your sides, like a jumping jack. Repeat.

21. Leg circle

Start in a half squat with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hips slightly hinged, as if you were just starting to lower into a squat.

You should already feel your glutes and hamstrings engaged. With right toes on a slider, slide right foot forward and, keeping left knee bent, send right leg into a wide arc out to the right side and then back, bringing it full circle to meet left foot.

Now push right foot back and send it into a reverse arc, bringing right foot back to meet left foot. Repeat for desired number of reps, then switch the slider and repeat on the other side.

22. Corkscrew

Start in high plank position with both feet on sliders. Slide right foot forward and across your body, as if aiming for left shoulder.

Lift left hand off the floor and rotate to the left so all your weight is on right hand (almost like Wild Thing in yoga).

Tap right knee with left hand before sliding back into high plank position. Repeat on the other side.

23. Side plank with leg cross

Start in a right side plank with right forearm on the floor, obliques engaged, and left hand on left waist. Left foot should be on the floor behind right foot, with left toes on slider.

Pull left toes up toward your butt, bending left knee and keeping left leg crossed behind right leg. Slide left leg back to starting position and repeat for desired number of reps before switching sides.

If you already have great hip mobility, this move might feel a little easy. If not, this can be a great hip opener. You should feel your left glute engage, along with your obliques.

24. Ski

Start standing with both feet on sliders. Push right foot forward as left foot pushes back. Then reverse — left foot forward, right foot back — moving as quickly as possible, as if you’re cross-country skiing.

25. Grasshopper

Start in high plank position with both feet on sliders. Keeping right leg straight and hips as level as possible, cross right leg under left.

Push right leg out to left side, turning hips to the left but keeping both hands on the floor. Pull right leg back to starting position and repeat on the other side.

26. Arm slide

Start on all fours (think Tabletop in yoga) with both hands on sliders. If you have any knee sensitivity, you may want a towel or mat under your knees for this move.

With core engaged, slide both arms forward at once, trying to get your chest as close to the floor as possible. Pull arms back in toward chest and repeat.

Make it easier: Push each arm forward individually.

Make it harder: Perform this exercise from a high plank position.

27. Sliding push-up

Start in high plank position with both hands on sliders and hands close together. Slide hands apart to a little wider than shoulder width and perform a push-up.

Return to starting position by sliding hands back together.

Make it easier: Perform this exercise with your knees on the floor.

28. Arm circle

Start in high plank position with both hands on sliders. Slide right arm forward. Make a large arc as you slide right arm around and to the right side of your body.

Push back to starting position and repeat on the other side. (Wax on, wax off.)

Make it easier: Perform this exercise with your knees on the floor.

Make it harder: Slide both hands up and around at the same time, instead of individually.

29. Arm cross-under

Start in high plank position with both hands on sliders. Push right hand to the left, crossing behind left hand and, if possible, coming to the outside of left hand.

Pull right hand back to return to starting position. Repeat on the other side.

30. Staggered push-up

Start in high plank position with both hands on sliders. Push right hand forward several inches.

Perform a push-up in the staggered stance. Switch the position of your hands, so left hand is staggered forward, and perform another push-up. Continue to alternate sides.

Make it easier: Drop to your knees.

31. Arm crawl

Start in high plank position with both feet on sliders. “Walk” forward using only your hands, one in front of the other, and drag your feet on the sliders behind you.

After several paces, reverse the walk, moving backward to return to starting position.

Here’s a selection from the above list that combines to make a primo 15- or 20-minute workout. Perform each move below for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest. Complete 2–3 rounds of the entire circuit.

  1. Reverse lunge (alternating legs)
  2. Sliding jack into wide squat
  3. Staggered push-up
  4. Sliding burpee
  5. Pike
  6. Reverse tuck
  7. Arm crawl