Unleashing Balance + Power with Super SLOW-MO Cross-Crawls
Jun 06, 2022
And now, a guest article from OS Instructor and friend, Sarah Young...
Cross-crawls are a seemingly simple movement. In the basic standing variation of this reset all that’s required is to bring your hand (or wrist or elbow) together with your opposite leg. (See photo of Tim).
It seems so simple that a person might skip over doing this reset for another movement that seems fancier and sexier. Ahhhh... but then a person would totally miss out on (re)connecting to deeper levels of power and balance.
To begin (re)claiming increased levels of balance and power all you need to do is breathe while slowing the cross-crawl pattern down. Waaaaaay down.
Because speed has a way of hiding imbalances and disconnects in movement. Slowing down helps you become more aware of those disconnects and imbalances. The places you’re losing balance and power.
That awareness provides an opportunity for your body and brain to upgrade their connection. To communicate more efficiently. And when the conversation between your brain and body improves, all of you improves. Super Slow-Mo Cross-Crawls both reveal and heal places of disconnect in you. As a result you’re able to express deeper levels of stability, mobility, control, balance, strength, and power.
Slowing down creates space for you to tune into your body by feeling the movement. Approaching this movement cognitively gets in the way of tuning in. Thinking versus sensing tends to block access to the deeper levels of power and balance available within.
Our bodies and brains are designed to sense movement. That’s why we have an abundance of sensory receptors and organs in our bodies. Your sensory receptors and organs communicate with your nervous system about your body’s position (proprioception) and it’s movement (kinesthesia).
Staying curious and tuning into your body, by feeling and sensing, allows you greater access to the working knowledge of your sensory systems.
Tuning in creates space for you to be in the moment with your movement. These are the keys to unlocking more balance and power.
Where to start? First, I’d suggest doing the cross-crawls barefoot if possible. That way your feet can feel the ground and you can feel your feet.
Stand and feel your body balanced over both feet. Your feet will be approximately hip width apart. Relax and breathe nasally with the tip of your tongue resting on the roof of your mouth. Eyes on the horizon. Sense how the ground supports you.
Feel your body as you slowly shift your weight to your right leg. Sense how the ground supports your body through your right foot, up through your right leg, all the way to your head.
Sense how your right arm/hand move to connect with your left leg. Sense how your left leg moves up to meet your right hand. Feel your whole body as your hand and opposite leg slowly come together. Sense your left arm as it extends behind you as your right arm and left leg move together. Tune into your center. Tune into you.
Once your arm and leg touch hold this position for moment. Then slowly separate your arm and leg until both your arms are by your side and your left foot is on the ground (unweighted). Shift your weight slowly until you are balanced over both feet.
Repeat the Super Slow-Mo Cross-Crawl on the other side. Continue going back and forth, for a minute.... maybe five, ssslllllllooooooooowwwwlllyy.
And it might be helpful to begin with a very small range of motion. Perhaps you begin by touching your fingertips to your opposite upper thigh. If that goes smoothly on both sides then increase your range of motion by touching your palm to your opposite thigh. If that movement is light and fluid then try touching your forearm to your opposite leg. From there, if your Super Slow-Mo Cross-Crawls are fluid, slow, and unforced, try playing with touching your elbow and your opposite thigh together.
As you tune into your body while doing the Super Slow-Mo Cross-Crawls simply notice, by sensing not thinking, if you’re holding on to any tension you don’t need. After all, this movement is a low tension exercise.
Are your toes gripping like they’re holding on for dear life? Is your butt clenched? Are your abs braced like you’re waiting to be punched in the gut? Are you holding tension in your jaw? Are your fingers tense? Are your shoulders high and tight versus low and loose? Are you holding your breath?
Holding excess tension, especially in the peripheries of your body, gets in the way of (re)connecting to your center. Excess bracing of your abs also causes you to disconnect from your center. Invite your body (and mind) to let go of any tension it doesn’t need so your center can lead you into balance.
Why is your center so important? Because we are designed to move from our centers. When we stop moving from our centers our bodies go into lockdown. We become stiff and tight. We lose freedom of movement. We lose a bit of ourselves.
So tune into your body, tune into you, and from a sensing perspective ask yourself: How slow can I go and still be relaxed and balanced? How smooth can I make the movement? Am I breathing? Are there moments I sense my balance more fully than others? Can I get out of my arms and legs and move more from my center? Can I let go of any tension I don’t need?
Now if you find yourself losing your balance or holding onto excess tension or trying to force the movement, that’s more than ok. You’re discovering places you can (re)connect more with you. Places you can access more stability, fluidity, and strength.
Maybe start with a smaller range of motion and build from there. It’s all about starting where you are and doing what you can so you can move from good to better to best.
As you play with Super Slow-Mo Cross-Crawls you will become more (re)connected to your center. And your center is your reservoir of fluid balance and power.
Super Slow-Mo Cross-Crawls make for a amazing daily Movement Snax. You can do them almost anywhere. You can begin with a minute or two. You might even want to explore doing them for five minutes. Maybe longer. Why not? Might as well add some endurance and focus to more fully alchemize your balance and power.
You can even do them multiple times a day. A minute here... five minutes there. And these are especially awesome after sitting in a chair, in a car, or on public transport. You can do them in between sips of your morning coffee or protein shake. They’re also great for breaking up a streaming binge.
So what are you waiting for? Deep levels of balance and power await you and they’re only a Super Slow-Mo Cross Crawl away. Begin now. You’re going to love how good it feels.