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Pilates Mat Exercise: Criss Cross


Updated August 15, 2013

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Criss Cross Preparation
Pilates Mat Exercise

Criss Cross Preparation

Photo © Marguerite Ogle

Criss cross focuses on the abdominals with a special emphasis on the obliques. The obliques aid in posture stabilization to some degree, but they are more involved in flexion and rotation of the spine. One benefit of working the obliques is that they help define the waist.

  1. Lie on your back in neutral spine.

  2. Bend your knees and bring your shins up so that they are parallel to the floor.

  3. Place your hands behind your head, supporting the base of the skull. Keep the elbows wide.

  4. Use an exhale to pull your abs into a deep scoop, and leaving the pelvis in a neutral position (not tucked or tipped), curl the chin and shoulders off the mat up to the base of the shoulder blades.

Tip: Keep a lot of length between your shoulders and your ears. Imagine that your back is very wide and that your shoulder blades are sliding down your back as you are raising up off the mat.

Proceed to full criss cross.

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