I’ll be the first to admit that the Hundred is not my favorite Pilates exercise. My body or my brain doesn’t ever go, “Wow, I feel like doing my Hundreds!” It’s not like Rolling Back or Short Spine that I find myself craving to do if my body is tight or just needs to move more. But, I was reflecting this week on how I do really appreciate the Hundred as an exercise and all the things it teaches me on any given day. Here’s a few of the things that I appreciate and keep me doing it (even though it’s not my favorite!):
1. Everything is engaged and working in a balanced way: I feel like the Hundred is a shining example for putting all of the Pilates concepts and ideas into one exercise that takes just a minute or so. Moving from your center, whole body engagement, coordinating breath and movement, concentration, control, persistence….you need them all to get through this one exercise! Even if I do just this one exercise…I feel the work!
2. Check-in Tool: I’ve found that I often use the Hundred exercise as a tool to check in and see how my body is feeling on any given day. Because the Hundred is an exercise I do most of the time in my Pilates workouts, I have done the exercise thousands of times in my lifetime. I know where my working level usually is, I know how my body likes to compensate for my imbalances and I have a good sense of what my body normally feels like during the exercise. So when something feels different, slightly unbalanced or maybe just tight I can usually feel it as soon as I start. For example, if my hamstrings and low back are feeling tight I usually adjust my working level of my legs and bring them up to 90 degrees with flexed feet so that I can start to lengthen and stretch them. Then I use that awareness to add other things into my workout that day to try to focus on stretching and lengthening what is over-tight that day.
3. Feeling Progress: Again, because I consistently do this exercise it easily allows me to feel when I am changing things in my body and making progress. Some thing are obvious like noticing if my working level of my legs is more challenging or making it through all 10 breaths instead of 6 or 7 and other things can be more subtle. As an example, I have a tendency to shorten my left side and I can always feel this in the Hundred. When I shorten I feel like I am putting more weight into my left hip and then have to correct by shifting weight into my right hip and lengthening my left side waist. Lately I’ve been finding that I don’t have to make this correction as often and naturally I’m finding and maintaining the balance in my body better- yeah for progress!
I would love to hear what you have to think about the Hundred! Do you love it, hate it? What are your takeaways from this exercise?