Master the Pilates Hundred with These 6 Tips

Posted on March 5, 2024

Flex Director and Co-founder Heather Thomas Shalabi lays out 6 expert tips to help you perfect this Classical Mat Pilates exercise.

If you’ve ever done a Mat Pilates class before then you would have most likely been introduced to the Hundred. A Classic Mat Pilates warmup, the Hundred is typically done at the beginning of a class and is designed to get your abdominal muscles fired up and ready for the rest of the workout. The move got its name because you hold the pose (your legs, head and shoulders off the mat) for 100 beats or 10 breath cycles, as you pump your arms up and down at your sides.

For beginners, the Hundred can be quite intimidating, as there are so many details and parts of the body to think about all at the same time. If you find yourself a little confused with how to go about executing this move properly and safely, we’ve got you! Here are six expert tips that will help you master the Hundred in no time.

1. Plug your legs into your hip sockets. As you lift your legs off the mat, make sure that they are plugged into your hip sockets. Doing this will pull you back into your centre and help you maintain balance as you power through this exercise.

2. Gaze towards your toes. As you roll up, lifting your head and shoulders off the mat, maintain your gaze on your toes. Make sure to relax your neck and shoulders as you lift up to avoid straining them.

3. Keep your chin parallel to the floor. Again, it is important to protect your neck from any strain as you do this exercise. To ensure this, keep your chin parallel to the floor.

4. Do the Pilates V. Have your toes slightly turned out in a V shape, keeping your heels and thighs pressed firmly together. This slight adjustment of the toes, simple as it may seem, activates your inner thighs and glutes (that’s two big muscle groups!) which will help hold your body up.

5. Keep your core stable. Your lower back (or lumbar spine) must stay anchored to the floor in order for your core to be activated. You want a long, even curve running down your whole spine. Do not arch your back as this may cause injury and will also keep you from using your core.

6. Breathe! With all the concentration it takes to do the Hundred, we often forget to breathe. The arm pumping movement is not meant to workout the arms. Rather, it is designed to keep you focused on your breath and pace. As you pump up and down, don’t focus so much on your arms but on your inhalation and exhalation instead.

Nail the Hundred in class! Check out our full schedule here and take part in our weekly Mat Pilates classes. Keep at it, and you’ll be able to do the Hundred with ease soon enough!

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