Pilates On the Go: The One Hundred


Tara Doing If you think Pilates only comes with an expensive club membership and pricey equipment, consider the origin of Pilates and the benefits that some of the original basics can offer.

The Pilates method of body conditioning is a unique series of stretching and strengthening exercises developed a century ago by Joseph Pilates. Pilates is meant to strengthen, stretch and tone your muscles, improve your posture, increase your flexibility and give you a more streamlined shape, potentially producing longer leaner muscles. Joseph Pilates first created the matwork series in the early 1900’s, and variations of his methods continue to bring results. History suggests Joseph Pilates intended the Pilates way be echoed through everyday healthy life, whether you’re sitting at a computer, raking a yard, or playing with your family. The original philosophy focused on training the mind and body to work together to achieve overall fitness; to become more productive physically and mentally.

There are six principles to the matworks series.

CONCENTRATION. Remember it’s your mind that wills your body into action. Concentration connects your mind and body. When you focus on an area you can actually feel the charge of energy making it work that much more.

CONTROL. Each movement serves a function, and your control comes from your core or ‘powerhouse’.

CENTER. Your center powerhouse is your abs, lower back, hips and buttock muscles. Every movement is initiated from your powerhouse and extends outwards to the extremities.

FLUIDITY. Natural, flowing grace of motion is more important than speed. There are no sharp isolated movements.

PRECISION. Choose to focus on doing one precise movement over many sloppy movements. Eventually this precision will become second nature.

BREATH. Imagine fully inhaling fresh oxygen to the lungs and exhaling stale air and toxins from deep inside, and before you know it you may feel revitalized and energized, helping you control your movements throughout a workout and everyday life.

The best suggested course is to learn at your pace, and to check with your physician first. When you feel ready, here is a description of the basic Pilates One Hundred matwork stretch and exercise you can try at home…


This breathing exercise helps get your circulation flowing and works the powerhouse, which consists of your lower abs, lower back, hips and buttocks. It prepares you for several Pilates exercises to follow.

Lie on your back, extend your legs to ninety degrees, toes pointing towards the ceiling. Lift forward using your upper abs and tuck your chin towards your chest. Arms by your sides, begin pumping your arms up and down vigorously, as though you’re slapping water. Inhaling for five counts, and exhaling for five counts until you reach one-hundred. Focus on keeping your abs scooped deeply towards your spine and engaging the backs of your upper inner thighs and buttock muscles, as though you’re squeezing a tennis ball. This will protect your lower back and help maintain flat abs throughout. This way you are fully engaging your powerhouse. If you begin to push your abs out and your spine arches off the mat, either modify by bending your knees slightly, or take a rest position hugging your knees into your chest, and try again when you’re ready. Keep that visual feeling of a heavy weight holding your torso and abs to the mat.

This YouTube video shows variations from beginner to advanced…

Good health. Enjoy.

Judy Weitz

August 19, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Thank you for the reminder about the primary reason Pilates was created so long ago. I will now attempt to do my one humdred. Aloha!

Tara Krolczyk

October 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Way to go! Stick with it, and enjoy the progression.


April 06, 2010 at 8:39 am

Nice. I’ve been looking for some Pilates 101.


April 07, 2010 at 11:12 am

Yay for the 100!
This regiment really brings results, and is so doable anywhere! No special equipment- indoors, outdoors!
When I first started pilates this move was overwhelming. If ‘100’ seems nuts, start with 50, with 5 sets of 10. Then move up. Do 60. Next time 70. Soon you’ll be doing 90, and 100 isn’t so ‘out there.’
The great thing about pilates is that it is so adaptable to any ability level. It fits you where you are, and yet tailored for room to grow.

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