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Essential Pilates for Beginners: The Hundred

If your abs need a little work, The Hundred will whip them into shape.

The Hundred is a popular Pilates exercise that works your abdominals and challenges your breath coordination. This essential Pilates exercise for beginners is demonstrated in the accompanying video, as well as described step-by-step in the instructions below.

To start, lie back on your exercise mat, with your arms resting at your sides, your knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Begin by working on your breath pattern, breathing in through your nose with little sniffs five times and then out through your mouth five times. Practice this several times before adding in the ab-exercise portion of The Hundred.

Bring your legs up to tabletop position and squeeze your thighs together. Press your lower back into the mat as you pull your abs in. Nod your chin up as you curl your upper body up off the mat. Your arms should be in at your sides, but hovering above the mat.


  1. Start by pumping your arms up and down, as if you have little springs under your hands.
  2. Next, add the breath pattern from above as you continue to pump your arms.


As you do this, be sure to press through the triceps, so that you can feel the back of your arms working. Keep your abdominals in and lower back pressed into the mat as you curl your upper body up as high as you can off the mat. To really challenge yourself, extend your legs out in a diagonal, keeping your inner thighs squeezed together. As you become more comfortable with The Hundred, you can start to bring your legs farther down for an even more challenging ab exercise.

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