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Pilates is wildly popular for strengthening your core and abdominals. It also boasts some of the best abdominal exercises that are spine friendly and are adaptable to all body types. Abdominal strength adds additional support to your spine where the abdominals control your pelvis from the front and your back muscles control your pelvis from the back. Today’s exercise is the Pilates Hundreds. This is a trademark Pilates exercise and can be seen on many Pilates company logos.

The Pilates Hundreds

Hundreds will also focus on your core and abdominals, but there is a heightened element of intensity as you are expected to stay up in a Chest Life position for 100 breaths. The one thing about Pilates is that it always seems so easy. It appeals to the eye as it seems calm, flowy, and relaxed. However, when you delve into the Pilates repertoire, you come to love the intensity of the work while performing the exercises with a ‘zen’ expression on your face.

Pilates Hundreds is seen as a static muscle action exercise for your abdominals where you are expected to maintain your abdominal contractions for the full 100 breaths. This will increase your abdominal endurance, tone your abdominals, and strengthen your abdominals effectively. In fact, you just need to do the Pilates Hundreds every day. Joseph Pilates said, “You will feel better in 10 sessions, look better in twenty sessions, and have a completely new body in thirty sessions”. With that in mind, can you imagine how you could change your abdominal strength and tone if you did the Pilates Hundreds 30 times? Once a day for a month!

Variations

There are a few variations, of the Pilates Hundreds, that you can do in order to build yourself up to the full version of this exercise. When you watch the video below, you will see that the exercise is performed with the legs extended out to a 45° angle. This can be challenging if you have not done abdominal exercises for quite some time.pilates hundreds | Longevity LIVE

I would like to suggest a few modifications that you can do in order to build yourself up to the full version of the Pilates Hundreds. Start the Pilates Hundreds with knees bent and feet on the floor. When you feel comfortable with the full 100 breaths here, then raise your legs one at a time to a bent 90° angle. You can now progress by extending one leg to 45° and then the other leg to 45° where you will now be in the complete Pilates Hundreds position.

It is very important that you breathe calmly through a method of Lateral Breathing. This is where you breathe into your rib cage while maintaining an abdominal contraction. You will feel your ribs expand sideways but your belly will stay fairly flat and active. This makes breathing easier in exercises where you are expected to keep your abdominals contracted. If you struggle with 5 gentle, short inhales and 5 consecutive exhales, then do 4 inhales and 4 exhales. As you feel more comfortable breathing, you can then move on to the 5 inhales and 5 exhales pattern.

How to do Pilates Hundreds

Tanya Thompson, founder of Pilates Unlimited and Of-Course Online, demonstrates how to do the Pilates Hundreds exercise at home.

Take a mind-body journey with Pilates. I would like to invite you to discover movement in a different way. Take this time to be still, feel and embrace what your body has to offer you. This week we will be looking at how you can train your abdominals in Pilates with the Pilates Hundreds.

The focus of this exercise is to work your abdominals effectively with your legs extended away from your body. Think fully extended knees, legs pressing up against each other, and fully extended elbows. Think of creating really long movements with your limbs whilst doing a deep abdominal contraction. Your arms will gently pulse to the floor while reaching your fingertips and shoulders to your hips, and this will assist you in counting each breath. The movement should be calm, the exercise should look effortless and the intensity should be mostly in the abdominals. Remember the modified versions that I have mentioned above should you feel any discomfort in your lower back. As we embark on this Pilates journey, we will introduce you to both Pilates Mat and Pilates Equipment repertoire. Enjoy!

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Tanya Thompson

Tanya Thompson is the owner and founder of Pilates Unlimited. Tanya has been in the wellness industry since 1998. Her company has over 180 000 hours of experience in movement and rehabilitation. Pilates Unlimited has helped thousands of people achieve a holistic approach to health. Pilates Unlimited is blessed with clients that have been with them from the first day that they opened their doors. They are committed to offering a warm and inviting environment for all their clients in their beautiful studio. Tanya has also developed and presented specialized courses to assist health care professionals, Pilates instructors and personal trainers improve their patients or clients results through movement and exercise. Her company has launched a new product called Of-Courseonline.com, which is focused on post education for all movement professionals across the globe. Of-CourseOnline currently has members in South Africa, USA, UK, UAE, India, China, Australia, Namibia, Botswana, Switzerland and Belgium.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.