Have You Heard of Cross Patterning?

While cross patterning may be a term you are unfamiliar with, you already do one form of it on a daily basis. Cross patterning is the natural motion of the human body in opposition to itself. As you perform a natural walking motion your right arm swings forward in step with your left leg and your left arm in stride with your right leg. This can also be done in a crawl or stationary crawl pattern.

Electrical impulses fire in the brain, crossing between the two hemispheres to coordinate bodily function. It’s the human equivalent of a perpetual motion watch that never needs winding. Movement, especially cross pattern movements “wind” the body up, energizing, stabilizing, strengthening and balancing. It can also help break up areas of held tension.

We all know that going for a walk is good for us. It burns calories and tones muscle as well as getting you out in the fresh air and sunshine. What most don’t realize is that the act of cross patterning can also improve self-awareness, situational insight, clarity of thought, memory, impulse control, anxiety and overall coordination. It can even help with arthritispain, and help boost immunity.

Cross patterning of any sort is a stress buster. It allows your brain to enter what is known as a whole brain state. It trains the brain to create new neuropathways. Cross patterning can make you more adaptable and susceptible to learning.

Cross patterning can be done at any age from infancy (assisted) to elderly. It helps to activate the brain.

How to Cross Pattern

  1. The Walk! – get out there. Walk boldly and swing your arms high walking with a forceful yet steady gate. This is the most natural and easy form of cross patterning. It can be done with or without poles, some prefer to use poles for balance during rehabilitation times or just by preference. They do not make a difference in effectiveness. 
  1. Cross Crawling – Kneel down on all fours – hands, and knees. Then, to cross pattern, lift and stretch out your left leg all the way back while simultaneously reaching as far forward as you can with your right arm. Hold for 10 seconds and switch both arm and leg. Repeat, going back and forth for 3-4 sets.
  1. The March – This is the most advanced form of cross patterning. Standing straight and tall, raise your right knee till it is at a 90-degree angle from the floor or higher if you are able. At the same time raise your left arm straight up above your head pointing at the ceiling. Switch sides so that your left knee raises up along with your right arm. Perform this in step like a march for a good 30 seconds. Advanced: Add in a head turn. Turn your head to the side as you march – whichever arm is up, look the opposite direction and back and forth. Really Advanced: Really want to test your skills? Add in your eyes. When your head turns left close the left eye. When your head turns right, close the right eye. All of this is done in step and simultaneously.
  1. The Goose Step March – Similar to a traditional march, Goose Stepping is done with a straight leg extended out and lifted to about a 45-degree angle. Arms may be swung straightforward or angled in at the elbow and crossed over the chest/stomach area. It is interesting to note that the Goose Step March has been done by many militaries around the world and is an amazingly strong form of cross patterning.

Cross patterning can be done by just about anyone, anywhere and requires no equipment. For more information on interesting little-known therapies, check back soon! www.drkasters.com Dr. Jason Kaster, D.C. has Offices in Naples and Fort Myers, FL.

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