Criss Cross is the final exercise in the “Abdominal Five” Series. Criss Cross is more popularly known in the fitness world as “bicycles”. It’s main focus is on proper twisting of the trunk of the body using the Powerhouse and specifically working the obliques.
The Double Straight Leg Lower Lift or simply Lower Lift challenges the abdominals and teaches to stabilize the pelvis and torso while lengthening the legs away from the center. The Lower Lift can be modified by keeping the head and shoulders down on the mat and supporting your low back by keeping your hands under the tailbone. The intermediate/advanced version is head and shoulders lifted off the mat. Both are shown in the video below.
Single Leg Stretch is the first exercise in the ab series or the Ab Five/Fab Five. This exercise teaches spinal and pelvic stability while stretching the hip flexors and strengthening the core.
“Roll back” or “Rolling Like a Ball” follows One Leg Circles and is the fourth exercise in the order. This exercise really focuses on creating a massaging effect for the spine. The goal of this exercise is to sequentially roll through the spine by using your core strength and not momentum.
One Leg Circles is the third exercise in the mat sequence. This exercise helps to lengthen and tone the legs, stretches the hamstrings and teaches pelvic stability. This is a great exercise to really work the leg in its joint. Focus on keeping the box of the body square as you move the leg from your Powerhouse.
The Roll Up follows the Hundred and is the second exercise in the mat order. This exercise helps to stretch out the back and hamstrings as well as focusing on abdominal strength and spinal articulation. The goal of the exercise is to roll up and back down using the powerhouse and not momentum, while focusing on rolling through the spine vertebrae by vertebrae.
Are you interested in starting a Pilates practice in the New Year but not sure about how to execute each exercise?
I am currently recording and editing a series of videos where I break down each exercise into a single video. They are short and sweet, starting with the modified version of the exercises and working up to the ideal execution of the exercise.
You can focus solely on each Pilates exercise in the Beginning Mat Order, working to achieve the ideal execution of the exercise over time. Then string the videos together to come up with a complete workout.
The first exercise in the Beginner Mat Order is the Hundred. It’s a well known exercise and should be done at the beginning of every class to warm up the body, get the blood flowing, and begin to challenge your core strength.
Give it a go and let me know in the comments how it went.