Move of the Week: The Pilates Hundred

July 23, 2009 Updated: October 15, 2009

This classic Pilates move was originally designed to get the body warmed up at the start of your workout. It is very invigorating, cleansing, and of course, challenging! Upon trying it, one will immediately know why Joseph Pilates made claims such as:
"In 10 sessions, you will feel the difference. In 20, you will see the difference. And in 30, you'll be on your way to having a whole new body."

The hundred requires a pumping action, which helps circulate the blood throughout the body. It requires a strong breathing pattern, to oxygenate the body (because Joseph Pilates had asthma, he enlightened to the importance of breath at an early age) and it requires activating your core stabilizing muscles while lengthening your spine.  

Starting Position for New Beginners:

Lie on your back with your legs up in a tabletop position. Keep your head on the floor. Press your legs together to activate your inner thighs. Keep your shoulder blades flat against the floor and your spine long.

Progress to:

Henry Chan/The Epoch Times (Space courtesy of Fitness Results NYC)
Henry Chan/The Epoch Times (Space courtesy of Fitness Results NYC)

Picking your head and neck up off the floor. Keep your gaze at your navel.

Progress to Intermediate:

Extend your legs until they are straight. Keep them at a 45 degree angle of the floor. Externally rotate your thighs so that your heels are touching and your toes are apart. Lengthen through your legs so that they are actively stretching away from your hips. Keep your navel drawn inward.

Henry Chan/The Epoch Times (Space Courtesy of Fitness Results NYC)
Henry Chan/The Epoch Times (Space Courtesy of Fitness Results NYC)

Finally:

Continue to lower your legs without arching your back until you are able to maintain them hovering two inches above the ground.

Action:
Rigorously pump your arms as you breath through your nose. Keep you tongue placed behind the teeth of your upper palate. Using the pumping of your arms to keep a rhythm, inhale for five pumps, exhale for five pumps. When you exhale, aim to empty the bottom portion of your lungs. This has a very cleansing effect on the body as it expels the carbon dioxide waste from your system.