Develop your core musculature with these three novel exercises.
By Mike Carlson
It’s not often that something new hits the world of training. A few years ago, sliders started popping up in sports performance gyms, and they have slowly trickled into the world of aesthetics and hypertrophy. Although they can be used for a number of different exercises, physique athletes like them for the unique challenge they can bring to a core workout.
The strength of sliders, which are basically frictionless platforms that allow a smooth motion across 360 degrees, lies in their ability to force the user to keep their abdominals intensely braced while moving through a full range of motion in almost any plane. The abdominal control demanded by sliders, especially during rotational movements, is specifically relevant to Physique competitors and bodybuilders who need to be able to immediately and repeatedly contract their abs while posing onstage. The new breed of Classic Physique athlete should be especially interested in what sliders bring to the table.
“Movements like the superman require a lot of hoop tension and intra-abdominal pressure,” says strength coach and kinesiologist Brian Richardson, MS, CPL2, NASM-PES, co-owner of Dynamic Fitness in Temecula, California. “They develop more control of the diaphragm, which is important for the vacuum pose that Frank Zane used to do. It creates the strength and coordination to eccentrically contract your abdominals to pull them in and pull your guts back.”
A side benefit of these types of exercises is the way they work the stabilizing muscles of the shoulders as well as stimulating the fibers of the lower back, quads, and even the shins. In fact, after one workout with a pair of sliders, you’ll quickly identify weak spots in your kinetic chain.
Sliders like the ones pictured (SKLZ Slidez, $30) are convenient and versatile, and are great for lower-body exercises such as lunge variations. Depending on your flooring, though, you can perform a lot of slide-based exercises using towels. Another trick is to buy an inexpensive pair of furniture-mover pads from a home-furnishing store, which also work very well.
For beginners, complete two rounds of the following circuit, performing 10 knee tucks, 10 pikes, and 10 supermans each round. More advanced trainers can work up to three rounds of 15 knee tucks, 30 pikes, and 15 supermans. Put this circuit in at the end of your workouts two to three times per week for six weeks.
Start in a push-up position with one foot in the middle of each slider. Keep your abs braced and your spine in a neutral position. To begin, perform a traditional pushup. As you return to the top position, slide both knees up toward your chest. Extend your legs back out, descending into your next push-up as soon as the body is completely extended. Continue for the desired number of reps.
Once again, begin in a push-up position with one foot in the middle of each slider. With your feet on the sliders, your core engaged and your spine neutral, drive your hips up toward the ceiling by sliding your feet toward your hands. Be sure to keep your legs straight the entire time. Return to the starting push-up position and repeat.
This is similar to a barbell roll-out, but with a smoother movement and greater potential range of motion. Start with your hands on the sliders and your knees on the floor. Begin by sliding your hands forward and away from your body and extending your hips as you bring your torso toward the floor. (Don’t worry about going all the way down, and do not hyperextend the lower back). To return to the start position, engage your abs and drive your hands back toward your body as you slowly come back up.
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