Mat Exercise - Criss Cross

Updated: Mar 11, 2020

Here we are the last of the Pilates 5 Abs Series, and now it’s time to add a ‘twist’ to the work.  Criss Cross is the first exercise in the mat work to place emphasis on the obliques.  The obliques are important as they facilitate rotation of the torso and provide spinal stability for posture.  Time to “widdle away the middle”…love saying that!

Repetitions: 5 sets

Reach with the Underarm


  • Lie back on mat

  • Knees are pulled into the Powerhouse

  • Place hands behind the head for support

  • Engaging the Powerhouse, lift the head, neck and shoulders off of the mat

Rotate from the Abs


  • Inhale twist torso reaching shoulder towards the opposite one knee

  • Extend the opposite the leg away to 45 degrees angle (straight leg)

  • Hold for 2 counts

  • Switch legs and twist to the opposite side


Pull knees into the Powerhouse and lower the head, neck and shoulders.

LOVA Tips:  

Twist from the waist. Use the Powerhouse to anchor the hips into mat and to stabilize the pelvis. Keep the elbows wide into your peripheral vision and shoulders on the back.  Work the legs in opposition, as one knee pulls into the Powerhouse the opposite leg reaches out. Keep head on the mat if you have a neck injury and work the legs to towards the ceiling. Congratulations! You have completed the Pilates 5 Abs Series.

Click here for the next exercise in the Mat repertoire – Spine Stretch Previous exercise – Lower/Lift (5 Ab Series)

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