How to Do a Proper Pilates "the Hundred"

You can perform this basic Pilates exercise! Use this to warm up your body for more mat work.


  1. Image titled Do a Proper Pilates "the Hundred" Step 1 preview
    Lie on your back with both knees bent and together, above and near your chest. Your feet are slightly higher than your knees. Inhale and exhale a couple of times to prepare your abdominals for the next step.
  2. Image titled Do a Proper Pilates "the Hundred" Step 2 preview
    Inhale and reach your straightened arms up into the air, then reach them over your head, almost touching the mat.
  3. Image titled Do a Proper Pilates "the Hundred" Step 3 preview
    Exhale and lower your arms so that they are just above the mat on either side of your hips. Keep your head on the mat for now. Allow your spine to curve naturally and do not try to press your vertebrae into the mat.
  4. Image titled Do a Proper Pilates "the Hundred" Step 4 preview
    Pump your arms rhythmically and gently up and down, right next to your hips, as if your are patting water. Keep the arms straight and the fingers together and reaching.
  5. 5
    Inhale every four or five pumps, then exhale in the same manner.
  6. 6
    Count each arm pump as one. Practice and you will soon be able to pump and breathe to one hundred!


  • When you are ready to progress, straighten the legs with the soles of your feet aimed at the ceiling- before you begin the arm pumps.
  • Keep your knees together throughout the exercise. Do not allow your feet to drop lower or your knees to come into your chest. Keep your tailbone on the mat.
  • Inhale gently through your nose and exhale lightly out of your mouth.
  • Be aware of your shoulders as you inhale and exhale- they should not move much with your breathing. Breathe so that your abdomen rises with your inhale and sinks or pulls in with your exhale.


  • Slide your scapulae (shoulder blades) down. No hunching!
  • Do not pump your arms if you have had a shoulder injury. Reach them alongside your hips as in step 4.

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Categories: Pilates