Try This: The Hundred

Try This: The Hundred



The Hundred is a classic Pilates exercise; in fact, it’s the first in Joseph Pilates’s Mat Sequence. Truly, this is one of my favorite exercises that I love to teach in class, or even to do myself when taking a class! This versatile exercise can be done on the Mat, Reformer, Tower and the Chair, and I just love how it engages the core and challenges us to execute it correctly every time.

Why you need to be doing The Hundred

  • It’s a super way to warm up the body
  • It increases abdominal strength
  • It teaches us how to breathe deeply and connect the breath to the movements of the exercise
  • It helps to increase our thoracic (mid back) flexibility
  • It helps to strengthen our hip flexors and abdominals
  • It teaches us how to connect the arms to the core
  • Most importantly, it helps teach us about lumbopelvic stability

How to do The Hundred

On the Mat
Charlotte-TipStep 1 / Starting Position

Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor and your heels in line with your ischial tuberosities (sit bones.)  This exercise can be done in an imprinted, neutral or supported neutral position as long as the pelvis and low back stay completely stable throughout the exercise.

Note: The Hundred can be preceded by The Hundred Preparation to warm up for the exercise. 

The Hundred Preparation simply involves (exhale) engaging the abdominals and rolling the head and upper body off the mat as you lower the arms to torso level (feet on floor, knees bent).  Inhale, roll the torso down and reach the arms to the ceiling (starting position.)

Now you can proceed with The Hundred exercise.

Step 2

Begin at starting position. Inhale to prepare. Exhale, engage the abdominals, and lift the feet off the floor (one at a time is best to protect the lower back) until the knees and hips are at 90 degree angles and the low back is supported.

Step 3

Inhale, reach the arms toward the ceiling.

Step 4

Exhale – Lower the arms and roll the head and upper body off the mat (roll up only as far as the bottom tip of the shoulder blades.)  Straighten the legs and lower them toward the mat as far as you can without moving the back.

Inhale – Pulse the arms for 5 counts, keeping the arms straight and the torso quiet.

Exhale – Pulse the arms for 5 counts.

Continue to inhale and exhale as you pulse the arms up to 100 pulses in total. 


Additional leg positions
  • Place the legs in the chair position by keeping the knees and hips bent at a 90 degree angle as the head and upper body roll off the mat and the arms pulse.
  • Place the legs over the hips by straightening the legs toward the ceiling as the head and upper body roll off the mat and the arms pulse (leg position can be parallel or turned out.)
  • The legs lower as far as possible while the back remains stable (leg position can be parallel or turned out.)
For injuries
  • For neck and shoulder injuries, support the head, neck and upper body with a wedge pillow or towels, and only work the lower body.
  • For low back injuries, work with an imprinted spine or a supported neutral position of the low back. You can use one of the leg position modifications to keep stress out of the back.
The Hundred on other equpiment
The Hundred on the Reformer

ABC Pilates | The Hundred - Reformer

The Hundred on the Tower

ABC Pilates | The Hundred - Tower

The Hundred on the Chair

ABC Pilates | The Hundred - Chair

It’s the challenge in doing it correctly that keeps me coming back to it and trying to perfect it, and I love helping my clients find their “perfection” with The Hundred.


charlotte copy

Charlotte Nelson is a certified Pilates and TRX instructor at ABC Pilates in Laguna Niguel, California. Charlotte wants to pass along the same passion and enthusiasm for Pilates that she developed after using Pilates to successfully recover from a back injury. Pilates practice didn’t just help return Charlotte to a state of wellness and fitness, it changed her life. Her philosophy about Pilates is simple: it should be fun and improve the quality of your life!
Click here to learn more about Charlotte and the other ABC Instructors.



I joined ABC looking for a yoga studio but found pilates was more of my speed. This is not just a place to exercise but an environment where friends come together to get fit, healthy, and happy.
I love the instructors who take good care of everyone. I always get the best encouragement possible! I also like the small class sizes for anything from yoga and pilates to Zumba and TRX.
Thanks, ABC Fitness Studio, for making being healthy fun!
— Candice D.
When my wife convinced me to try ABC Fitness, little did I know it would become an almost daily fixture in my life.
I enjoy multiple classes weekly and each is very special in approach to strength, balance, core, flexibility, and overall fitness. Feeling better and stronger physically leads to more enjoyment in all activities.
I feel stronger and fitter and look forward to continuing to rely on ABC Fitness as an integral part of my life.
— John T.
I’ve been doing pilates for almost 3 years now, and I feel stronger and have improved functionally in my daily activities
I was recommended by my physical therapist when I was a patient with many joint problems. My PT thought Pilates would help me, and it did!
I feel stronger, and have a better tone, range of motion, and a stronger core. I can get up from a low sofa with less effort now as my core plus legs are stronger; I owe all these improvements to Pilates. My teacher is patient and kind, always helpful — thank you!
— Surinder B.
ABC has a great variety of group classes, which allows me to take multiple classes and challenge my body in different ways. It keeps the workouts fun and interesting. It helps me reduce stress and keeps me strong!
— Natalie M.
I certainly enjoyed the Pilates session with Charlotte — it provides some pain relief, increased flexibility, and makes me want to be more active.
— Joni
I have been with ABC for about 7 years, and its biggest benefit has to be no more lower back pain and much more flexibility. Love it here!
— Mike P.
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My balance has definitely improved, and I feel stronger. The ABC classes are wonderful! Zumba has always been a joy. Great to dance, dance, dance!
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