Pilates – Criss-Cross Crunches

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 24,313
    Certified Pilates instructor Dori Markakos demonstrates a great exercise for your core, Criss Cross Crunches.

    Dori Markakos

    Dori is an experienced fitness professional whose love of fitness began in grade school with her love of dance and ballet. She’s danced classical ballet since she was 5. As her interest in fitness grew, she began experimenting with all varieties of group fitness and weight lifting. Dori went the practical route to college and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a specialization in Marketing from the University of Virginia’s School of Commerce, but not before receiving her fitness instructor certification in her spare time. After college, Dori went to work for Environmental Design & Construction, LLC (EDC) where she is presently the Controller. In this position, Dori serves as the company’s chief business officer. But, Dori’s heart is in the field of fitness. Dori maintains her certifications and puts them to work as a personal trainer, spinning and Pilates (mat and reformer) instructor. As part of her career development, Dori also received specialty training in pre and post natal fitness, with a specialization in pre/post natal Pilates. Dori currently works with clients as Pilates instructor, while keeping up with her own workouts. She’s run multiple marathons and is an accomplished triathlete having run numerous triathlons as well having completed the Ironman Triathlon. Dori resides in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Peter and daughter Mia.

    Dory Markakos: Hi! I am Dory, your personal Pilates instructor, and I am showing you some of the most basic and popular pilates exercises, and right now, I am going to show you a great exercise for your core, Criss Cross Crunches. So, let's go ahead and get started.

    Go ahead and sit right here in the middle of your mat, hold on to your hamstring, sitting up nice and tall, inhale and exhale, round out your spine one vertebra at a time, pulling your navel into your spine as you comfortably unroll your vertebra one at a time. So, you are sitting comfortably on the floor.

    So, your feet are going to be flat on the mat, knees, hip width apart, chest and shoulders open and abs rotated under. So, before we start any exercise, we always want to have a nice pelvic tilt. So, go ahead and place both hands comfortably behind your neck, and what I want you to think about is you look straight up at the ceiling, is that I want you to yank your chin towards your chest, or hyper extend your neck back. I want you to look comfortably right up towards the ceiling or the sky, take a big deep breath in, and as you exhale, rotate those hips under and open up the chest. Go ahead and take the left leg and place that ankle directly over the right knee.

    Now, I am going to show you a modification and then I am going to show you a slight progression to this exercise. So, you are going to go ahead and sit straight up, lifting the shoulder blades completely up off the mat, and take a torso tilt towards the left, bringing the right arm towards the left knee. Come back to center and lower, so inhale, exhale, lift straight up, rotate towards the left, come right back to the center and lower. Let's take two more like that, inhale, exhale, lift, abs engaged, torso tilt towards the left, center and lower. One more time like that, engage those abs, torso tilt, lift, twist, center and lower. Now, if you would like to do a progression for the next four, go ahead and follow me, if not, feel free to keep your knee bent over your knee. Extend the left leg, right foot is going to be flat on the floor, again, both hands resting comfortably behind your head, torso tilt, inhale, exhale, lift, you are going to torso tilt towards the left, pull the knee in towards the armpit, not the elbow, thats the key point here, and extend straight out. Torso tilt towards the left, come back to the center, two more, inhale, exhale, twist, and center, last one, torso twist, center, and let's go ahead and lower everything. Take a little stretch from both hands straight up over your head, feet away feel the waves in the middle of your body and shake it out, and let's go ahead and do the other side.

    So feet are going to be flat on the floor, hips rotated under, abs engaged, both hands resting comfortably behind your head, take a big deep breath in and you look straight up at the ceiling, keep that pelvis tilted, extend the right leg, cross the right ankle, on top of the left knee, big deep breath in, pelvic tilt, exhale, lift. So the shoulder blades are lifted up, completely up off the mat, and now youre going to take a torso tilt towards the right, so leading towards the right, remember the armpit lead towards the knee, come back to the center and lower, inhale, exhale, lift, twist, center, and lower. Two more, lift, twist, center, and lower and last one, lift, twist, center, and lower. If youd like to take the progression, let's go ahead and move on, extend the right leg, lift the upper body, pelvic tilt and torso tilt to the right, extend, to the right, extend to the right, extend, and one more time, to the right, extend and lower. Extend those legs, those arms, shake it out, let's go ahead and move on.