The Hundreds is the first exercise Joseph Pilates loved starting his classes with.
He thought of the Hundreds as an warm-up exercise, before introducing more complex movements, such as spinal flexion, extension and rotation.
The Hundreds basically is a guided, controlled breathing up to a 100 breaths, divided in 10 consecutive sets (5 inhales and 5 exhales), performed in a curled-up position.
The Hundreds can be done on the Mat or on the Reformer, holding lightly the straps.
As long as the Pilates breathing “is a tool, not a rule”, you can breathe in and out staccato, or in smoother, more continuous manner, which is more appropriate for experienced pilates students.
Whichever type of breathing you choose when doing your favorite Hundreds, make sure that you don’t hold your breath or move your head, straining your neck.
DON’T hold your breath – make it authentic, flowing and nourishing!
To learn more about the Pilates breathing in general, please have a look at our article
Please put the link to the article The Pilates breathing
Goals: Build muscle endurance of the abdominals, hips and legs and release tension in the upper body.
Performance: Lye on your back with your legs bent and knees in line with the hips.
Activate your core by gently drawing your navel inwards and slightly lifting the pelvic floor up.
Fold one leg up at a time, keeping your knees connected and your feet slightly pointed.
Breath in, preparing your body to move and as you breath out, nod your chin to the chest and sequentially wheel your neck and upper body into a curl-up position.
Straighten your legs and lower them to about 60 degrees from the floor.
Raise your arms slightly from the mat and lengthen them.
Imprint your lower back by gently pushing it down on the mat.
Breath in for 5 seconds and, while remaining curled up, glide your arms up and down 5 times.
Breath out smoothly for a long count of 5 and keep moving the arms up and down another 5 times.
Repeat 10 times, eventually doing 100 up-and-down beats.
Watch points: Ensure that your lower back is not arching and lower your legs as low as can be stably maintained.
Keep your head still throughout the beating of the arms.
Ensure that the movement of the arms comes purely from the shoulders.
If you are new to Pilates, rather keep your legs bent to 90 degrees.