Description: Lying supine with knees flexed, ankles plantar flexed, toes pointed and hips flexed in "table top position". Student should reach for ankle with same hand and top of knee with opposite hand to stop bent knee from coming into chest area too far (thereby decreasing the hip flexion to less than 90 degrees). Spine stays in contact with mat (imprinted).
Inhale: To prepare for movement. Exhale: Extend one leg with opposite leg flexed at knee and hip. Reach across chest with outside arm to flexed knee and same arm extends at the shoulder toward ankle of extended leg. Alternate legs up while slowly breathing twice for every switch or forcefully exhale on each switch. Inhale: When exercise completed move knees into flexed position called "table top" with hips flexed at about 90 degrees of flexion toward the chest and prepare for Obliques work.
Purpose: The abdominal muscles are used to maintain posture (stabilizing it) while legs move. Students should keep the spine imprinted while developing this cross-crawl coordination of the arms.
Variations: Remind the student to keep their abdominal muscles isometrically contracted, using transverse abdominus to compress abdomen and to keep the spine in contact with mat. Stabilize the scapula by isometrically contracting lower trapezius to depress scapula. Keep eyes on belly with an elongated neck. Contract hip muscle of extended leg reaching it as close to the mat as possible without losing the imprinted position of spine. Don't flex from neck only but flex through the thoracic region.
Progression: Starting with the extended leg at a 90-degree angle of flexion. As students gain strength in abdominal muscles to stabilize spine increase the degree of flexion by extending the leg closer to the mat.