A pair of carpet slides is an essential tool for every home gym.
Carpet slides add a new training dimension to a boat load of exercises. Slides can be used with exercises like reverse lunges, lateral lunges, crawling drills, hamstring curls, core work, and in this particular case, push-ups.
Probably best of all, they’re incredibly economical at $2-$7 for a pack of 3-4 sliders. How? The carpet slides marketed for fitness purposes are dangerously close in design and functionality to the furniture sliders available at your local home improvement store.
In the past, carpet slides have received the most attention when incorporated with lower body training. Think hamstring curls and reverse lunges.
But carpet slides are extremely useful for upper body training also. Using slides to introduce new variations of push-ups can be refreshing, and brutally challenging.
Carpet slide push-up variations are amazingly challenging. Not everyone is ready for the coveted single arm push-up, and for those of you that are, maybe you’re looking for a new variation. Something you can integrate into a work capacity circuit or load up with a weight vest and grind it out.
This is it.
Progression-wise, the carpet slide push-up w/ reach exists somewhere between a traditional two-arm push-up and full-blown single arm push-ups.
Some (not all) of the load is from the moving hand does take on some loading during the exercise, although this can be limited by the exercisee.
- Begin in the top position of a push-up, hands centered on top of the sliders.
- Slowly lower yourself to the floor, hugging sliding the non-working arm out in front of your body.
- Keep the elbow of the working arm pulled into side body
- Pause briefly at the bottom, working elbow at 90 degrees.
- Press up and repeat on the other side, alternate for scheduled reps.
- Rep range: 6-12 reps per side with bodyweight, beyond than add more weight.
- Load: Bodyweight until 12 reps are achieved, then add weight.
- Sets: This depends on goals, 3-5 sets is plenty.
- Tempo: Slow it down on the descent to the bottom, 3-5 seconds on the way down.
- Technique break down = rest
Where does this exercise belong?
The strategy of building fitness progressively from the ground up is awesome. Your current fitness level and past training experience will determine how and where you place this exercise into a workout.
For some, this will be a strength training drill, you’ll need adequate rest after the set. 3 simple sets of 6-8 reps will leave you drained. That is fine. Beat on it for a few weeks, aim for improvement. Expect to be sore through the chest and tender around the obliques in the coming days.
For others, the carpet slide push-up will provide a delightfully saucy challenge in a short burst metabolic training session. I’ve worked it into a long circuit or kept it simple as part of a 3-exercise burner.
Here’s an example of where this exercise could live within a total body workout:
Alternating Split Squat Jumps x 8 each side
***Carpet Slide Push-Up (with forward reach) x 8 each side***
Airsquats x20 or Goblet Squats x8 (load up here)
Suspension Trainer Inverted Row x10 or 1-Arm Bent Rows x 8 each side
Own the exercise from top to bottom to top…
I have to admit I’ve seen several YouTube videos of carpet slide push-ups. 85-90% of the people in the videos are dropping into the bottom of the push-up too quickly. More like falling into it.
Address the concept of OWNING the eccentric descent in this exercise. Pause at the bottom, stay tighter than a pair of skinny jeans, contract and push up and out of it.
Again, slooooooowwww down, spend more time under tension and focus on remaining as rigid as possible.
At most, the descent into the bottom of the push-up should take 1-2 seconds, with NO bounce out of the bottom. Pause at the bottom, hang out there. Press out. Strict.
Core training? This is core training…
Without sounding like a physique zealot, because I’m not, this exercise provides an unbelievable stimulus to the core. All without any bells and whistles, just basic rigid body position, technique, and gravity.
You won’t be able to execute as full extension carpet slide push-up without activating the torso aggressively. It’s self-limiting.
To help make my point on how much core is involved with an exercise like this, drop down into a push-up position, raise one arm forward in full extension, while the other supports the body.
Stay in this position for time. Just remain in that position without changing posture.
Too easy? Inch the feet closer to together, narrow the base of support. Any exercise can be made harder.
The challenge to the core during the carpet slide push-up with reach will be intense, felt from the hip flexors, through the torso, up to the collar-bone.
There will be a tremendous anti-rotation stimulus while supporting the body with one arm. Think about it for a second… the other half of the body wants to sag toward the floor (damn you gravity). Even with the sliding arm providing some assistance, your core will be lit up.
Maintaining a rigid body from head-to-heel is a must. Stay straight. Creating rigidity will require adequate tension through the mid-section.
Progression: Make it harder…
To increase the challenge, gradually lighten the hand contact of the sliding arm, which will lessen the amount of assistance from the sliding arm while increasing the load of the working arm. Removing assistance from the sliding arm also drastically increases the amount anti-rotation stress as the exercise inches closer to a true single arm push-up.
Increasing the difficulty can be accomplished several ways, but the most honest approach would be to lessen the contact to just the fingertips. Start with all five fingertips, progress to three fingers, two-fingers (thumb and pointer)… etc.
Before you know it, you’ll need a weight vest, at which point you’ll begin from the bottom rung of the progression once again, with palm firmly on the carpet slide.
Regression: Make it easier…
To decrease the challenge, wrap a band around your torso and anchor the band to a point directly overhead. The band will assist you during the hardest point of the exercise when you’ll need help the most. For most, the hardest point will be the bottom of the push-up.
Carpet slides work on hard surfaces also. I’ve used them on hardwood and cement floors with great success. Of course, this will limit the lifespan of the carpet slides, so if you’re going this route, purchase cheap slides at your local home improvement store. A pack of carpet slides at Menard’s near me costs $2.99. Cheap.
A suspension training set to the lowest possible height (without making contact with the floor) will also work.
The other option tools like the Ab Dolly, HAVYK Sliders, or a more budget friendly option like Core Coasters. All have wheels which make them ideal tools for hard surfaces. These options cost significantly more than the carpet slides, but you’ll find a plethora of uses for each, making them a worthy investment.
Early in the article, I suggestioned using furniture slides as a viable alternative to carpet slides designed for fitness. There is a slight difference in my experience, being that fitness specific carpet slides typically have a much better integrity. The manufacturers know that these are going to be used frequently, the design is more durable.
No equipment at all?
Worst case scenario, I’ve done these push-ups without any tools period. Doing so requires minimal weight on the sliding hand, but it works just the same.
User beware, going this route is intense. There’s going to be way more friction on the floor without a slide. This is ok, just be aware that it might be too aggressive.
That’s all folks. I’ve written too much already, way too much.
Give this baby a try. Mix it in wherever you see fit. Ask questions as you have them.