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Pilates Breathing & Movement

Updated on February 21, 2013

The Hundreds

Now that you've had some time to practice finding your Pilates powerhouse and breathing at the same time, let's try putting it into action. Pilates is about efficiency of movement, movements which are initiated from your Pilates powerhouse. And breathing to get through the movement. Oxygen is fuel.

Joe Pilates was a literal guy, plus his English was limited. The Hundred's, or Breathing 100's, are just as they sound - you inhale and exhale 100 times while holding your limbs up with just your powerhouse.

So let's get started: Lying on your back on the carpet or on a mat, pull your knees to your chest and lay your arms by your side, palms flat on the floor. Just as you've been practicing, pull your rectus abdominus in from the base of your sternum to the top of the pubic bone, forming a "C" curve with your abs into your spine. Unless you have fused vertabrae or an injury, you should be able to press each vertabra into the mat and keep it there throughout the exercise. Pull your belly button in. Now pull it in again to lift your head up off the mat, curling chin to chest and shoulders slightly curled up off the floor, eyes toward your bellybutton. Lift the arms so they are hovering by your side as you straighten both legs out over the floor. Keep that powerhouse engaged, spine on the mat. Begin inhaling for a count of five and exhaling for five, while simultaneously pumping the arms by your side, elbows locked straight reaching for the wall far beyond your butt. An easy modification is to bend your knees to table-top position to make it easier to keep your powerhouse in and pressure off the back.

WTH, you say? Why so complicated? Well, that's what you can expect from good ol' Joe- his is considered the 'thinking man's method of exercise'. The two most important things to focus on are keeping that powerhouse pulled in tight and breathing. Pump those arms and breath. In for 5, out for 5. Keep going. Do not stop.


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