The Hundred is the classic Pilates exercise; it's perfect for beginners to introduce a good movement pattern of precision and control, while also providing a perfect introduction to the concept of "centering" and "breathwork".
What is centering?
Centering, in Pilates, refers to the control of movement coming from the centre (the powerhouse) of the body: the core. When our core is properly engaged we stabilise the pelvic area, enabling control and precision in our movement patterns. Being able to work through a strong centre also allows for our body awareness to develop and that will put us in good stead when moving into the more advanced repertoire with grace!
Using our breath during movement is key to master control and precision. Matching our breath to our movement not only provides energy for our muscles to be efficient but also (again) enables body awareness. The Hundred is a perfect entry level exercise because it allows us to practice mastering the breath pattern.
How to do The Hundred?
Lie on your back, legs bent, feet hip width apart and focus your attention on the pelvis. Place your thumb on the lower rib and your index finger on the top of the hip bone. The space between the ribs and the hips is your powerhouse...your core...now imagine shortening that space between the ribs and hips by sliding the ribs down towards the hips. While doing this you should feel your core engage and pelvic area stabilise, as well as your lower back getting slightly closer to the mat (but not pushing against it too much)..this is called an "imprint".
As you imprint, bring one leg into table top (one at at time!)
Lift the upper body off the floor, eyeline between the knees
Hover the arms above the mat and start to pat your arms like they are bouncing on springboards...
breathe in for 5 arm beats
breath out for 5 arm beats
...focus on your breath and match it to the beat of the arms...
1 full breath in and out makes 10 beats
Repeat 10 times to get to a 100 beats!
You can change the angle of the legs to make the exercise more challenging...but remember to keep your spine in "imprint" the whole time.
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DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY. Injuries can occur when participating in exercise, physical fitness and training programs. I strongly encourage you to work within your limits and listen to your body. If you have a health issue or injury of any kind limiting your physical fitness you should consult a licensed physician before to undertaking any exercise demonstrated on this website. You fully assume the risk of any resulting injury.