The Pilates Hundreds

The Pilates Hundreds is an iconic Pilates exercise, one of Jospeh Pilates originals, to be precise. A flat, imprinted back against the mat, legs hovering above the floor, upper abs curled to lift the head and shoulders and finally, pumping the arms- inhaling for five counts, exhaling for five counts. It is designed to get the blood pumping and the body prepared for the rest of the classical Pilates repertoire.

Truth time: I used to hate The Pilates Hundreds. My abs would cramp, I would always lose count (who am I kidding, I still lose count), and I don’t know if you know this but legs are HEAVY! And to be honest, the Pilates Hundreds, in its original form, is not the most accessible exercise. You need a lot of core control to support and stabilize the spine on the mat with the additional load of long levered legs. It’s also very easy to go into the neck. What does that mean? It means that rather than supporting the upper body from the upper abs while in the curl, you are holding all the tension in your neck. And that is not comfortable.

As I got stronger in my Pilates practice, I began to like the Hundreds more. But I had to work at it; I couldn’t do the full exercise right away. I needed to learn how to properly engage and support my body. I learned modifications to build up the endurance for the Pilates Hundreds.

Then it happened.

I fell in love with the creativity of the exercise. You can play with what the legs are doing- bring them in for five counts and out for five counts- and with the arms (do a little swimming with the arms rather than pumping them), head up or head down depending on how you want to challenge the client. The possibilities are endless! Traditional Classical Pilates Instructors will not be happy with those creative modfications, but movement is meant to be creative!

In this week’s Progressions class, now live on the Rebalance Pilates at Home website, I break down The Pilates Hundreds. I show modifications so you are properly setting up the work and help you build endurance for the exercise.

The Pilates Hundreds has become an exercise I learned to love. I hope you learn to love it as much as I have.



Robyn Thaler Hickey Toronto Pilates_2

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