Exercisers can often benefit from a change in routine. If you've been performing the same core exercises in your abdominal workout for months at a time, you can enhance your results with a change in approach. The addition of sliding pads to your ab workouts will offer a new twist to familiar exercises by providing a greater challenge to your core muscles. These benefits are achieved through the instability created by the sliding pads, which force your core muscles to work harder to maintain balance.
How to Use Sliding Pads
Sliding pads are often referred to as gliding discs. The pads are circular with a 9-inch diameter and made of plastic. Sliding pads are typically used in a pair, with one pad placed under each foot or under each hand. For exercises done while standing, place the ball of the foot in the center of the disc and the heel extending off the edge so it can be used as a "brake" should you become unstable. With exercises done from a seated or lying position, the heel of the foot should be in the center of the disc and the ball past the edge of the disc. For exercises using the discs under the hands, the position will vary based on the movement. If you are unable to locate sliding pads, you can use heavyweight paper plates to produce similar results.
When you use sliding pads under your feet, your core is engaged throughout the movement. Sliding the pads away from and toward your body mimics skating movements. Other options include dance moves such as the twist, which involves rotating your hips and legs by using the sliding pads as a pivoting point. Sliding pads also are good for strengthening exercises such as lunges, moving squats and curtseys. Since you perform these exercises on the sliding surface of the pad, your core contracts to help maintain balance and posture.
Using sliding pads to perform ab exercises from a seated position can increase the benefits. Place the pads under your heels to perform abdominal crunches with leg curls as you slide your feet toward and away from your butt. For a greater challenge, place your hands on the pads while performing a crunch and slide your hands along the floor throughout the movement.
From a prone position, with the sliding pads placed under your feet, you can perform abdominal strengthening exercises such as mountain climbers, knee pull-ins and pikes. Using the pads allows your feet to move smoothly regardless of the floor surface. A simple exercise to strengthen your core is holding a plank position and moving your feet together and apart, back and forth. To increase the challenge, place the pads under your hands and perform a plank by sliding one hand at a time as far as possible and then back, and repeat by using the opposite hand.
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images