The Hundred is the first exercise in the original 34 mat exercises as prescribed
by Joseph Pilates in his book Return to Life (1934).
Why do we do it?
The Hundred with its expansive breathing and percussive
pumping arms increases oxygen exchange circulating blood and energizing
the body for the exercises to follow.
How do we do it?
Lying flat on the mat, inhale your breath and lift your head,
neck and shoulders off the mat, raise your arms 5” from the mat and reach
them long. As you exhale lift your legs off the mat as high as you need to
maintain a neutral spine, feeling them reach and extend away from the
midline. Begin to pump your arms on your next inhale breath, breathing in
audibly for the count of 5 and then breathing out audibly for the count of 5,
repeat until you reach 100 pumps.
The key elements found in the Hundred include quality of breath and its
influence on core connection; sequence of abdominal muscle recruitment;
and scapular stabilisation to power the arms. I’m sure you’ve had a few
clients who originally articulated a loathing for this exercise, and later
changed their minds after integrating the various parts into a more
Find new ways to integrate a more coordinated whole by breaking down the
Hundred into three parts by asking yourself these questions;
1. Breath Work
What exercises do you use to encourage the percussive breath before
you teach the Hundred?
2. Abdominal Recruitment
What exercises do you use to initiate the correct muscle recruitment?
3. Scapula Stabilisation
What exercise do you use to integrate scapula stabilisation and
powering the arms in the Hundred?
Will you change the way you approach the Hundred?
I know that I certainly have.