How to do Pilates Exercise Hundred

This famous Pilates exercise called Hundred challenges clients in so many ways. It got its name because of the pumping action of the arms that continues for 100 breaths. The breaths consists of 5 inhales and 5 exhales in a staccato manner.

The pumping action of the arms are not light and flimsy but rather assertive, like a turbine of a machine pumping vigorously to create a strong energy in the body. Making sure that the movement comes from the lats and not from the front of the shoulders.

This exercise targets breath control, abdominal strength, co-ordination, control and stamina.

Here’s How:

Hundreds Starting Position
  1. Lie on your back with your legs bent in tabletop or 90 degree position, with your shins and ankles parallel to the floor. Keep an imprinted spine which means your lower back should remain flat on the floor, not by tucking your bum in but by engaging your abdominals so much that they draw the lower back into the mat or floor underneath you. Reach you arms straight up to the ceiling so your hands are in front of your shoulders.
  2. Inhale to prepare
  3. Exhale: Lift your head and shoulders off the floor, drawing your chin down into your chest.  Use your abdominal muscles to curl your upper spine up off the floor to the base of your shoulder blades. Keep the shoulders sliding down the sides of your body and engaged in the back. Your gaze is looking towards the belly button.


  4. Stay here in this position and begin. Your arms extend straight and low, just a few inches off floor, with the fingertips reaching for the far wall. Inhale 5 sharp breaths in through your nose while simultaneously moving your arms up and down on every inhale.
  5. Exhale: Take 5 short and sharp deep breaths out through the mouth. Be sure to keep your shoulders and neck relaxed. It is the abdominal muscles that should be doing all the work.
  6. Do a cycle of 10 full breaths. 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.*Breathing big is important. Breathe into your back and sides.
  7. To finish: Keep your spine curved as you bring your knees in toward your chest. Grasp your knees and roll your upper spine and head down to the floor. Take a deep breath in and out.


  1. To modify the hundred: You can keep your legs in tabletop position. You can also do the exercise with your knees bent and the feet flat on the floor, lifting only the upper body.
  2.  People with upper back and neck issues can do this exercise with the legs extended or tabletop but the head down on the floor.
  3. To make the hundred more challenging: Lower your legs. Do not lower your legs past where you can control the movement.
  4.  Don’t loose your imprinted spine, so no gaps between your lower back and the floor.

Happy Practising Pilates Fundi’s