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Q: I’ve been teaching my clients the same few variations of the Hundred for ages. I love this exercise but what are some ideas to avoid boredom with this Pilates classic?


A: You’re right. The Hundreds is a popular Pilates exercise meant to work your abdominals, stabilize your shoulders and also challenge your breath control and coordination. It got its name because you perform 10 sets of 10 pulses, or 100 beats. It is a great exercise to come early in your workout because it gets your whole body warm, your breath going strong and your blood pumping. Not only that, but you get to work on core strength, scapular stability and endurance. There are 100s of ways to do the Hundreds but here are 4 variations with two different props.

Fitness Circle® between the knees

Starting position: supine, imprinted, both knees in a tabletop position with a Fitness Circle between the knees*, arms long by sides of the body.

in: prepare
ex: flex upper torso off mat
in: for five counts pulsing arms
ex: for five counts pulsing arms, knees squeezing the circle
in: release pressure on circle while still pulsing arms
Complete 10 sets (total of 100 counts)

To finish…
in: remain in spinal flexion, continue to reach arms
ex: return upper body to the mat, lower the legs and remove the circle.

Additional challenge to: Adductors (adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, pectineus, gracilis) to press in against the circle.

*you can also do this exercise with the legs extended and the Fitness Circle between the ankles


Fitness Circle® on outside of ankles

Starting position: supine, imprinted position, both knees flexed with Fitness Circle on the outside of the knees*, arms long by sides of the body.

in: prepare
ex: flex upper torso off mat
in: for five counts pulsing arms
ex: for five counts pulsing arms, legs pressing the circle out
in: release pressure on circle while still pulsing arms
Complete 10 sets (total of 100 counts)

To finish…
in: remain in spinal flexion, continue to reach arms
ex: return upper body to the mat, lower the legs and remove the circle.

Additional challenge to: Abductors (gluteus medius, tensor fascia latae, gluteus minimus) to press out against the circle.

*you can also do this exercise with the legs extended and the Fitness Circle on outside of ankles


Mini Stability Ball™ tucked under knees

Starting position: supine, pelvis and spine in neutral, both knees flexed in tabletop, gripping the Mini Stability Ball under the knees, arms long by sides of the body.

in: prepare
ex: flex upper torso off mat
in: for five counts pulsing arms
ex: for five counts pulsing arms, legs squeezing the ball
in: release pressure on ball while still pulsing arms
Complete 10 sets (total of 100 counts)

To finish…
in: remain in spinal flexion, continue to reach arms
ex: return upper body to the mat, lower the legs and remove the ball.

Additional challenge to: knee flexors (hamstrings, sartorius, gracilis and gastrocnemius) to hold the ball and squeeze.


Mini Stability Ball™ with single leg press

Starting position: supine, pelvis and spine in neutral, one knee in table top, the other leg long with the ankle resting on the Mini-Stability Ball, arms long by sides of the body.

in: prepare
ex: flex upper torso off mat
in: for five counts pulsing arms
ex: for five counts pulsing arms, pressing ankle down on the ball
in: release pressure on ball and keep torso flexed
ex: lower torso to mat. Switch legs.
Complete 5 sets with one leg extended and then switch (total of 100 counts)

Additional challenge to: unilateral gluteus maximus and hamstrings to extend one hip, obliques and multifidus to resist rotation of the pelvis as you press down


Laureen Dubeau

Laureen Dubeau

Master Instructor Trainer

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