How to Do the Pilates Hundred Exercise
The Hundred exercise in Pilates got its name because you hold the exercise for 100 beats. It is a great exercise to come early in a series because it gets your whole body warm, possibly even breaking a sweat. The Hundred gets your breath going strong and your blood moving. In addition, it is an excellent exercise for increasing torso stability and abdominal strength. You may have some difficulty keeping your head up for so long. Do not continue the exercise if your neck feels strained.
1Lie on your back with your knees bent and up in the air, your knees and hips forming 90-degree angles.
Your back should be in Neutral Spine. If this position feels like a strain on your lower back, try keeping your feet down on the floor for now.
2Inhale: Reach your arms straight up to the sky.
Your palms should be facing forward.
3Exhale: As you reach your arms back down to the floor, lift your head and roll up to the Pilates Abdominal Position with your shoulder blades just off the mat.
Think of squeezing a tangerine under your chin on the way up. Your palms gently slap the floor in a percussive rhythm.
4Inhale: Inhale deeply for 5 beats (keep the rhythm with your arms), using accordion breathing.
Accordion breathing is lateral chest breathing. Imagine that your rib cage is an accordion. On the inhale, the accordion expands laterally, and on the exhale, the accordion squeezes back together.
5Exhale: Using percussive breathing, exhale for 5 beats (saying shh, shh, shh, shh, shh).
Percussive breathing is forced exhalation using the abdominal muscles; think of forcing the air out in short percussive blows.
6Hold the position and continue pulsing your arms for 10 breaths.
Remember that 10 breaths is 100 total beats (5 for each inhale and 5 for each exhale).