Breaking Down The Hundred!

Hello All!

Happy Hump Day! I wanted to write a quick post and break down one of the most dreaded Pilates exercises (at least in my book)…the hundred!!! I should say that it is also one of my favorite exercises, because it is so stinkin’ effective!

The basic set-up is pretty simple. Start lying on your back with your legs in a table-top position. I like to start with my elbows planted on the ground and fingers pointed towards the ceiling (this is not a classic set-up). See the picture below! 🙂

table-top hundred starting position

Prepare with an inhale. On an exhale, nod your chin and curl your head, neck, and shoulders up off the mat extending the legs on a 45 degree angle. *Note: Classically, your toes would be even with your eyes. I like to lift my toes a little higher because I think that it is easier to maintain a neutral spine/pelvis. You will then pump your arms from the shoulder pressing the hands down towards the mat–100 times!


A couple of things to note…If you keep the tips of your scapula (shoulder blades) on the mat when you curl up, you will target the transversus abdominis (TVA), which is the goal of the hundred. The TVA is the deepest layer of the abdominal wall that runs horizontally to the spine. It is responsible for holding in your organs and supporting your spine. If you curl up and lift the tips of the scapula off the mat, you will target your rectus abdominis (RA)–which is not the goal of the exercise! This is the outer-most layer of the abdominal wall and is responsible for spinal flexion. While I love working the RA, functionally-speaking, it doesn’t do much for you! You need to strengthen your TVA to support your spine! This is a super brief explanation of the anatomy involved in the abdominal wall. I will delve into this deeper in another post. 🙂

Give it a go! Let me know if you would like to see any other exercises broken down.

Until next time!
xo Lara

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