Criss-Cross, Applesauce

It's time for the fifth, (and final), element of the Series of Five: Criss-Cross. Or, should I say, Armageddon for your body? Either way you will most likely feel like a bowl of applesauce once it's all said and done.

While Criss-Cross is manageable on its own, having it be the final endeavor in the Series of Five is just plain hard. You think to yourself, "Hey, I know this one! The bicycle crunches. I can bust out 60 reps in less than a minute! Finally something I already know how to do." Sorry to burst your bubble, but these ain't no bike sit-ups.

What makes Criss-Cross so special and different? Aside from the name, just about everything. Before we get into comparisons, let's talk about how to properly execute Criss-Cross:

  • Start with knees into your chest, head lifted and hands behind your head, with your upper back off the mat.

  • Engage your abs, and use them to draw your right shoulder towards your left knee as you twist slightly to the left.

  • As you twist, extend your right leg out at an angle.

  • Switch sides as you breathe, reaching your left shoulder toward your right knee as you twist to the right and extend your left leg.

Obviously you are using your abs as you go through the exercise, but Criss-Cross isn't simply about that 6-pack. It's about spinal rotation, stabilizing the torso, extension of the legs and feet, opening the chest, breathing, even stretching your neck.

From the pictures you can see the mechanical differences between the two;for Criss-Cross you are working your deep abs by maintaining stability through suspension of the upper and lower body simultaneously. In doing bicycle crunches you are flexing and gripping with your '6-pack' muscles, using your elbow to high-five your knees and yanking your neck as you hurl your upper body back-and-forth. Nobody put you in a straight jacket, so quit acting like you are trying to Houdini out of it.

In doing Criss-Cross you are literally working your body from head-to-toe in a single movement...after you have already been doing that for the four exercises prior. You have emotionally and physically been through the gauntlet, Criss-Cross isn't an exercise, this is Armageddon. The battle lines have been drawn, every rep elicits a guttural, (no pun intended), battle cry. A lot of the time those battle cries contain words and phrases that would make an encyclopedia blush.

Then it's over, it's all over. Well, for everyone else it has been over, but you were so busy carrying on about some 'Armageddon' nonsense that you did 3 extra reps. But hey, you did it and your powerhouse thanks you for it. Applesauce status has been achieved. And it's ok, I know you didn't mean all those things you said during the series, I promise it will have no effect on remainder of the class...

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