How to Do Hundreds Exercise Properly

Hundreds Exercise is the most popular exercise in Pilates.

It is a challenging but beginner-friendly move devised by the creator of Pilates himself, Joseph Pilates.

Pilates is a mind-body exercise that focuses on core stability, posture, flexibility, strength, breathing, and movement control.

This exercise is about holding the move for 100 pumps.

It is recommended that you perform the exercise at the start of the class. This will help prime your body for the subsequent exercises.

To do the hundreds exercise:

  • Get into the starting position by lying on your back. Raise your legs and bend the knees to get into the tabletop position. This keeps your shins parallel to the floor.
  • Exhale then bring your head up and chin down. Then, using our abs curl your upper spine off the floor to the base of your shoulder blades. Keep your shoulders sliding down and engaged in the back. Look down into the abs and inhale.
  • Exhale then deepen the pull of the abs then extend your arms and legs. Reach your legs towards the edge of the wall which meets the roof. If you need it to be more challenging, you can lower your legs. Lower your legs as far as they can go without shaking and without lifting your lower spine off the floor. Extend your arms straight and low as though reaching for the wall.
  • Take five short breaths while holding that position. Move your arms up and down in a controlled manner. Keep your shoulders and neck relaxed. Only your abs should be engaged.
  • Count to 100, switching your breathing in and then out at intervals of 5. Ensure you practice lateral breathing which is a core Pilates principle. In it, you draw your breath upward and out of the low belly while focusing on redirecting the breath into the back of the body and the sides of the ribcage.
  • To finish, keep your spine curved as you bring your knees towards your chest. Grab your knees and roll your upper spine and head down to the floor. Inhale and exhale deeply.

WHAT MUSCLES DO HUNDREDS EXERCISE WORK?

The hundreds exercise will make you feel it in your torso.

1.      TRANSVERSE ABDOMINIS

This is a muscle found in the inner core. It is on the front side of the abdominal wall.

It gets its name from its appearance. The muscle fibres are laid out horizontally. It stretches from the base of your ribs to your pelvis.

The hundreds exercise activates them when you draw your upper spine off the floor.

2.      RECTUS ABDOMINIS

This is a muscle found at the front of the abdominal wall. It is better known as the “abs”.

The rectus abdominis is activated when you move the body between the ribcage and the pelvis.

3.      OBLIQUES

Obliques are two sets of muscles that run down the side of your lower torso and wrap around the sides of your body.

They help with the rotation of the core and also limit rotation.

They also help maintain stability in your core.

The hundreds exercise activates the obliques when pulling the upper spine towards your abs.

4.      STABILIZATION MUSCLES

When doing the hundreds exercise, your hip flexors and quads help hold your legs in position.

HUNDREDS EXERCISE BENEFITS

1.      IMPROVED POSTURE

Pilates are part of an exercise group that helps prevent the curving of the upper spine due to gravity.

If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you increase the risk of developing a condition known as kyphosis—an exaggerated forward curving of the thorax.

Doing Pilates helps improve spinal, scapular and joint flexibility. This helps delay the process of curving your spine. The exercise helps reinforce efficient movement patterns and strengthening.

2.      IMPROVED BALANCE

The hundreds exercise strengthens your bones by activating your core muscles. The activation of your hip flexors and quads also strengthens them.

This can be highly beneficial for older people or people recovering from injuries. It improves coordination and helps prevent falls.

3.      IMPROVED FLEXIBILITY

This exercise focus on movements that stretch.

This reduces muscle tension in your day-to-day life.

It improves your spinal and pelvic flexibility.

4.      BETTER ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE

The steady movements of the exercise helps build muscle endurance specifically in the abs and upper body.

Adding this to your routine can help boost your athletic performance especially, in sports and activities that require abdominal swinging like golf or tennis.

ALTERNATIVES TO HUNDREDS EXERCISE

1.      THE ROLL UP

This is a great core exercise for spinal mobility and core control.

To do this exercise:

  • Lie flat on your back with your legs extended straight. Engage your abs and lift your arms overhead, palms up letting them hover a few inches off the mat.
  • As you inhale, flex your feet and engage your lats to move your arms so they’re perpendicular to the floor.
  • When your arms hit the required angle, exhale, curl your head and shoulders off the mat and continue to pull your abs towards your spine as you sit yourself up.
  • As your sit forward reaching towards your toes, your spine will continue to curl until you almost look like your torso is resting on your legs. Keep your abs engaged and your spine stretched.
  • When you need to inhale again, begin to curl back to lying down, releasing both your feet from the flex and reversing the motion. Release each inch of your spine to the floor until your arms are again at 90 degrees.
  • Do 5 reps.

2.      SPINE STRETCH

To do this exercise:

  • Sit tall with your feet extended before you hip-width apart and your spine straight. Inhale and stretch your arms out in front of you at shoulder-width.
  • Exhale as you lengthen your spine then roll forward. Reach towards your feet while keeping your arms parallel. Pull your abs in.
  • Inhale as you roll back to the starting position.
  • Do 5 reps.

HUNDREDS EXERCISE MISTAKES TO AVOID

Work at a slow to moderate pace to ensure your abs remain engaged. Don’t rely on momentum.

Don’t forget to inhale deeply.

Avoid this exercise if you are pregnant or experiencing back pain.

Return your head to the floor immediately you feel any neck pain.

Keep a fist-width between your chin and chest, and focus your gaze beyond your knees to avoid any neck strain.