The Pilates Hundred: 3 Big Benefits

The 34 traditional pilates mat exercises were developed by Joseph Pilates for people to do right in your own home and at no cost.

He was passionate about enabling people to realize their full potential with peak physical fitness the foundation of life.

The Hundred is the first exercise in this traditional pilates mat routine.

And whilst it is quite a challenge to master, it has big benefits for your strength, fitness and overall well-being.

Core Strength and Stability

The Hundred is renowned for its effectiveness in targeting the abdominal muscles. It not only builds strength but also stamina as you maintain the position of the spine and pelvis during the one hundred breaths used in the exercise.

It’s the stamina component that makes this pilates exercise unique and is usually what requires the most concentration and focus to maintain.

The muscle Transversus Abdominus forms the deepest layer of the abdominal muscles and is the main stabilising muscle of the trunk.

It’s this muscle that really gets challenged during The Hundred with the obvious benefit of increased trunk strength and stability.

And this transfers to daily life, decreasing aches and pains in the spine and increased movement capability.  

Neck Strength

So many people struggle with neck pain on a daily basis and not many people actually do specific neck strengthening exercises.

The position of the head in The Hundred is what’s called “unsupported flexion” which essentially means that your neck doesn’t get any assistance from arms holding the head in position.

It will be your neck muscles holding the head in position and is one of the most challenging aspects to master.

It’s very important for beginners or people with neck issues to start with a modified version and to be taught this exercise by a qualified pilates professional.

And even Joseph Pilates himself gives the instructions…Begin with only twenty movements and gradually increase them in units of five.

Improved Circulation and Breathing

The rhythmic breathing pattern synchronized with the arm pumps in The Hundred greatly enhances circulation and respiratory function.

This controlled and forced breathing technique helps to oxygenate the blood, promoting better circulation and delivering nutrients to the entire body.

Joseph Pilates constantly talked about ridding the lungs of impurities and overcoming “lazy” breathing.

The Hundred challenges the breathing muscles to work hard under load…to get stronger.

Once the breathing muscles have gained strength, at rest the breath is efficient and more effective without any conscious effort or awareness.

This relaxed resting breath has a calming effect which is a definite added benefit.

Whilst The Hundred is a challenging pilates mat exercise, starting at a level that works for you and committing to regular practice, you will be rewarded in body and mind.  


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