Eliminate Pain in the 100’s in 1 Minute

Aug 16, 2021

Pilates 100's - Love it or Hate it?

The Pilates 100's exercise is the ultimate dynamic warm-up for your body. It improves circulation, energizes you, and strengthens your abdominal muscles by matching your breath to the pace of the exercise. 

However, 100’s can be a pretty intense exercise and if done wrong, can be painful. 

Because of this most folks seem to have some pretty strong feelings about the 100's. I always hear a LOT of groans when it's time for 100's in live classes. When you've got your technique down though, you can really enjoy the 100's.

If you don't have joy in your 100's yet, I encourage you to try these tips so you can perform this exercise with strength, grace, and no pain! 

Tips to Improve Your Pilates 100's Experience:

  • Keep your lower back stable. Lower back pain in the 100’s is usually caused by the lifting of the low back during exercise. For good form, your lower back should be in a neutral, imprinted, or supported imprinted spine. Focus on keeping your lower back and pelvis stable throughout the exercise. If your back tends to peel up during the 100’s, try a supported neutral spine by rolling up a towel and placing it on your belt line. This will offer more cushion and support to your back.

  • Squeeze the inner thighs together. Imagine you have a piece of paper between your legs and you don’t want the paper to fall. 

  • Breathe. Breathing correctly can make a world of difference. You can use a sniffing breath with 5 quick inhales and 5 quick exhales. Or you can choose a long inhale for 5 seconds and a 5 second exhale. I suggest you practice this breath work before going into your 100’s choreography.

  • Keep your chin gently tucked. Save your neck by giving yourself a double chin. If your neck is elongated during this exercise, it can cause strain. Imagine you have an orange under your chin and you want to keep it in place during the whole exercise. 

  • Lift from the ribs, not the neck. When pressing off of the mat, make sure you aren’t lifting from the head and neck. Instead, imagine the upper body lifting and gently push into the mat with the back of your rib cage to let the top of your ribs lift off the mat.

  • Choose the right variation for you. Remember that every body is different, and there is no shame in taking a modified version of the exercise. I applaud you for choosing a variation that is safe and appropriate for your body.
    • The variations for 100’s focus on the placement of the legs and upper body. For beginners, try 100’s with the feet planted into the mat. Once that feels comfortable, try keeping legs in table to or 90 degree position. For a more challenging variation, try straightening the legs and lowering them. You’ll feel the intensity rise with each variation, and if at any time you feel strain or pain, take a break and try a modified version.
    • If your neck bothers you during the 100's you can also do the exercise with your head remaining on the ground. Pump your arms and keep your back stable just as you would when lifting your chest in a curl.

Try these tips to find joy in your 100's - and let me know how it goes!

Much love,


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