Pilates Exercise of the Month: Criss-Cross or Obliques

Purpose: The last of the Stomach Series, this works the external obliques, waistline and powerhouse.

  1. Lie on your back with hands behind your lifted head; elbows wide and your knees bent into
    your chest.
  2. Extend your right leg out long; hovering above the mat. Twist your upper body until the
    right elbow touches left knee. Open the back (left) elbow behind you. Inhale as you lift to twist
    and hold for 3 counts.
  3. Exhale and switch sides, bringing your left elbow to your right knee while extending the
    opposite (left) leg out in front of you. Hold for 3 counts. Keep your upper back and shoulders off
    the mat as you twist from side to side.

Complete 8-10 times. To end bring both knees into chest.

Checklist:

  • Lift and twist from your waist, not from your neck and shoulders.
  • The back elbow never touches the mat. Look at your back elbow as you twist.
  • Anchor your center to the mat so you don’t roll from side to side.
  • Lower your extended leg about 45 degrees…back should not arch off mat.

Note: Avoid twisting exercises such as this if you have suffered a recent back injury.

Visualization: Imagine you have an X on your stomach and you are crossing to each end of the X.

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