Gliding Disc Exercises for the Upper Body


Gliding discs are fitness training aids designed to help you work several muscle groups through a range of motion while engaging and strengthening your core muscles. In addition, gliding exercises can improve your coordination, sense of balance and posture. These versatile discs can easily be used to target the muscles in your upper body. Simply place a disc under each hand and slide your hands while performing exercises such as the pushup.

One-Arm Reaching Pushup

  • The classic pushup is designed to work your arm, shoulder, chest and abdominal muscles. When you perform it with gliding discs, you'll also challenge your coordination and balance. Start in the basic pushup position, place a disc under each hand and balance on your hands and toes with your body straight. Simultaneously bend your left elbow, slide your right hand forward until your arm is straight and lower your chest toward the floor, keeping your left elbow close to your body. Slide your right hand back, straighten your left arm and press up to the starting position. Repeat with your left hand to complete one repetition.

Mix It Up

  • Make a few technique changes to the one-arm reaching pushup for variety. Begin in the same starting position. As you slide your right hand forward and lower your body, lift your left leg 6 inches off the floor. Lower your leg and slide your hand back to the starting position. Repeat with your left hand and right leg to complete one repetition. Change the direction you slide your hands. As you perform the one-arm reaching pushup, instead of sliding your hands forward and back, slide them straight out to the side as you lower your body. Another variation is to slide your hand forward and then in a half circle out to the side as your return your hand to the starting position.

Gliding Chest Flyes

  • To focus on your pecs, perform gliding chest flyes. Start in the basic pushup position with your hands directly below your shoulders and a disc under each hand. Slowly slide both hands out to the sides, keeping a slight bend in your elbows. Lower your chest toward the floor as far as you can. Slide your hands back together, return to the starting position and repeat. To make the exercise less intense, perform it with your knees on the floor. Avoid letting your hips sag or sticking your butt in the air; keep your body straight throughout the exercise.

Alligator Walk

  • If you're up for the challenge, perform gliding alligator walks. Set up in the basic pushup position with a disc under both hands and feet. To start, slide your feet together and keep them together throughout the exercise. Move your right hand forward 8 to 10 inches and then your left hand, walking forward while dragging your feet behind you. Walk forward on your hands as far as you can.

Exercise Tips and Options

  • Before you start your gliding disc workout, perform a 10-minute warm up to prepare your muscles and prevent injury. Depending on your strength and exercise level, perform one to three sets of 10 to 12 reps. As an alternative to gliding discs, you can use paper plates or small towels, as long as your floors are smooth and slippery such as tile or linoleum.

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