Expect to get a serious abdominal workout from the crisscross scissor, a two-in-one Pilates movement. Although the traditional crisscross exercise and scissor exercise are two separate movements within the Pilates’ system, they fuse so well that one would think they were originally designed to be paired up.
Both are designed to target the abdominal area; however, the crisscross component of the exercise will activate your obliques while challenging your stability. The scissor component will deeply activate your lower abdominal muscles and improve the flexibility of your hamstrings.
Lie down on your back, hugging your knees into your chest. Take a moment to concentrate on engaging your pelvic-floor muscles. These are your bladder-control muscles. You need to engage your pelvic floor to ensure the activation of your deep-core muscles. Otherwise, you will only end up working the superficial abdominal muscles.
Focus on the position of your hips and lower back. If you are prone to a tight or sore lower back, gently push your lower back to the floor. Otherwise, aim to work from a neutral spine, which means the hipbones are aligned with the pubic bone.
Inhale to prepare your body and place your hands behind your head.
Exhale as you lift your head and shoulders up and extend your legs toward the ceiling. Inhale to hold and exhale as you rotate your left underarm toward your right leg while lowering your left leg.
Repeat on each side until you complete 10 to 20 repetitions.
Keep your torso solid and still. You will need to focus on stabilizing your pelvis as you move through each scissor and twist. Imagine that you are rotating on a skewer. Reach your underarm toward your opposite thigh, not your elbow. Keep your elbows in your peripheral vision.
It is important to stay properly in the crunch by keeping your ribs drawn to your hips. If your neck starts to feel strain, stop and rest.Use your eye line to get the most rotation out of your upper body: Look over to the right side of the room, then to the left as you deeply rotate your ribcage in those directions. Keep drawing your abdominal muscles in throughout exercise.
Emma-Kate Stampton is a personal trainer and Pilates teacher. She is based in Brisbane, Australia.
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