This is the first exercise that Joseph Pilates introduces in his book Return To Life Through Contrology. This exercise is also performed on the reformer and in small group Pilates classes. The Hundred has many benefits including:
- Prepares the body for harder exercises to come
- Promotes circulation
- Improves coordination between breath and movement
- Connects your body to the mind
A prepetary exercise to get you in the correct shape.
The neck curl starts with your hands by your side. On the exhale you curl up like a crunch scooping in your belly until your shoulder blades hover on the mat. Keep your eyes on your belly as inhale to roll back down. Tips to help: Keep your pelvis from moving. If you have neck pain use a towel behind the head and hold the ends with your hands.
For beginner Pilates students this starts with your feet flat and knees bent. The rhythm is inhaling for five pumps of the arms and exhaling for 5 pumps of the arms that is one rep. We repeat this ten times or 100 pumps of the arms.
How to begin the Pilates Hundred:
- Lie on your back with our knees bent, legs together and feet flat on the floor. Bring your arms by your hips and palms down.
- Curl your chin toward your chest and lift your head off the mat.
- Breath in for 5 counts and out for 5 counts as you pump your arms up and down. Imagine bouncing a ball.
- After you reach 100 pumps of the arms, roll back down to the mat and go to the next exercise which is the Pilates Roll Up.
Building Blocks to help you achieve the Ideal form:
- Keep the feet flat on the floor
- Keep the head down or supported by a rolled up towel. If you choose the head down option, pump the arms a small range of motion or not at all.
- Use a yoga strap under the head if a towel is not available.
With many different building blocks and fundamental movements, this exercise will look different for each person. The goal is to increase circulation so choose a building block that works best for you today. One day you won’t need to use the building blocks. I like to tell my Pilates students to think of building blocks as training wheels on a bike. Some day you take the training wheels off and you are able to do the ideal version.
If you need a workout program to follow, I have a Beginner Pilates Series to teach you the proper form, rhythm and precision points of the exercise. All in an easy to follow App or On Demand Platform.