I’ve explained the difference between yoga and Pilates before, so I thought I’d show you Rock Heads how to do one of my favorite Pilates moves: the hundred.
The hundred is a classic Pilates mat exercise. This will be one of the first Pilates moves you’d learn in any Pilates class. It gets its names because you hold the exercise for 100 beats. It’s a great exercise to start with because it gets your whole body warm; you might even break a sweat! You might find this challenging at first, but it’ll get easier with time. The exercise requires that you coordinate your breath with the movement, and be strong and graceful at the same time. If you have difficulty keeping your head up for so long, don’t worry. Just stop for a moment because you don’t want to strain your neck.
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and up in the air, your knees and hips forming 90-degree angles.
2. Exhale: Lift your head up with your chin down and, using your abdominal muscles, curl your upper spine up off the floor to the base of your shoulder blades. Your gaze is down into the scoop of the abs.
Stay there and inhale
3. Exhale: At the same time, deepen the pull of the abs and extend your arms and legs. Your legs reach toward where the wall and ceiling meet in front of you. You can adjust them higher if need be, or lower for more of a challenge.
Don’t let your lower spine pull off the mat.
Your arms extend straight and low, just a few inches off floor, with the fingertips reaching for the far wall.
4. Hold this position.
Inhale deeply for 5 beats (keep the rhythm with your arms).
Exhale: Using percussive breathing, exhale for 5 beats (saying shh, shh, shh, shh, shh).
While doing these, move your arms in a controlled up and down manner – a small but dynamic pumping of the arms.
Be sure to keep your shoulders and neck relaxed. It is the abdominal muscles that should be doing all the work.
5. Do 10 cycles. Each cycle is five short in-breaths and then five short out-breaths.
The arms pump up and down — about a 6-8 inch pump — in unison with your breath.
Keep your abs scooped, your back flat on the floor, and your head an extension of your spine, with the gaze down.
Remember to breath into your back and sides.
Now that you know the basics, follow along with the video below!