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  • Writer's pictureErica O.

How to do the Pilates Hundred

The Hundred

Targets: Abdominals

Equipment: Exercise Mat

Level: Beginner

If you’ve been to one of my Pilates classes or private sessions, chances are we’ve done a movement called ‘The Hundred.’ The Hundred is one of the first exercises of Joseph Pilates’ matwork series in his book ‘Return to Life Through Contrology.’

Benefits of the Hundred

- It stimulates your circulation and breathing.

- It allows you to warm up your abdominals and lungs.

- It allows you to work your abdominal muscles, including laterals, and develops scapular and trunk stabilization.

Step-By-Step Instructions

1. Lay with your back on the floor with the back with your arms by your sides, palms down.

2. Anchor yourself. Do this by making sure your spine is pressed into the mat (think navel to spine).

3. Bend your knees and bring them to your chest, pressing your spine closer to the mat. Straighten your legs, keeping them together, to about a right angle with the floor. (See modifications if necessary)*

4. Bring your chin to your chest.

5. Straighten your legs with your toes softly pointed, lower your legs until your spine begins to arch off the mat. Once you have reached the arch, stop and press your spine down, raising your legs slightly if needed.

6. Lift your hands about six inches off the mat next to your body, palms down, with your arms and wrists straight, reaching away from your shoulders with your fingertips.

7. Pump your arms up and down rapidly in a vigorous motion for five counts.

8. Continue this group of motions for 100 counts, thus the name of the exercise!

Make sure you keep your breathing in mind with this exercise. Be sure to empty your lungs completely with each breath.


- The motions will be tiring if you are not used to them. If you can’t perform one hundred counts, that’s ok! Do as many as you can.

- If your neck starts to hurt or tile, lower your head to the mat for a few pumping motions to give it a rest or keep it on the mat for the remainder of the exercise.

- The higher you raise your legs the easier it is. If you’re legs begin to sink, just bring them up higher.

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