This Week’s Actual Pilates: The Hundred

The Hundred is the first exercise seen in the Return to Life through Contrology book by Joseph Pilates. This is the exercise that follows the footwork on the apparatus and the advanced mat. The Hundred is done in the Pilates session to warm and prepare the body for the exercises to follow, increasing fitness and detoxifying the body.

At first you will notice that the Pilates Hundred focuses on the breath but is without a doubt, a full body integration exercise that wakes up the body by getting the blood pumping and oxygenated, stimulates the nervous system, uses frontline activation, increases dynamic stability, leg strength, and encourages control of body, mind and spirit through deep focus and mindful movement.

Though the Hundred exercise appears to be something relatively simple to look at, there are many muscles active and involved throughout the entire body. Here is a list of some of the major players in this wonderful exercise:

rectus abdominus, rectus obliques, serratus anterior, deltoids, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, transverse abdmoninus, iliopsoas, scalene, rectus femorus, sternocleidomastoid, tensor fasciae latae, gluteus maximus, extensor digitorum, biceps brachii, triceps brachii

Let’s discuss the importance of correct breathing. Breathing is the first and last thing you do when you are born and when you die. Joseph Pilates put a great emphasis on the breath in his methodology of exercises. The capacity to efficiently use oxygen is dependent on the respiratory system’s ability to collect oxygen and the cardiovascular system’s ability to absorb and transport it to the tissues of the body. When we exercise, we must breathe well. Abnormal and difficult breathing patterns can affect the normal response to exercise, human movement patterns, circulation, stress and sleep.

How to do the Hundred: Place the body supine on a flat padded surface such as a Pilates mat. (The current photo is showing the Hundred exercise done on the reformer) Inhale and lift the head so that you are resting on the tips of the shoulder blades, bringing the chin toward the chest. Lift the legs, toes are ideally at eye level, the arms long and straight and start to pump vigorously 5 arm pumps for one sustained deep inhale, 5 arm pumps for one sustained deep exhale. Repeat this sequence for 10 cycles until you reach a total of 100. Modification Options: Knees bent, less reps, support legs, support head.

Natalie Shook PMA-NCPT is a graduate of Advanced Program at The Pilates Center in Boulder and a Host Advisor for the TPC Teacher Training Program. Strategic Pilates Studio is located in Somerset Meadows, Longmont, CO for more information regarding schedule, classes, one on one, etc. Email Call or text Natalie @ 831-241-8097

Happy Thanksgiving 2019, A Look Back with Gratitude & Tribute to TPC

I will always be deeply grateful to the Taylor Sisters, (Amy and Rachel) at The Pilates Center in Boulder, CO and their entire senior staff and to Pace who works in admin and keeps things so amazingly organized for everyone who is involved during and after as a Host Advisor.

Who I am as a teacher is credited to TPC and their senior teachers who patiently and wonderfully mentored me through their Advanced Teacher Training Program a few years ago. I had completed several other Pilates teacher training programs before arriving at the decision to completely wash away old information and daringly begin again. In fact, I was already teaching for years prior and had my NCPT (PMA) certification. None the less, I felt I was missing key information on what “actual Pilates” really was.

Amy and Rachel and staff have designed the TT program at TPC with a very positive, encouraging and informative content. The atmosphere at TPC offers welcoming supportive interaction between an assigned Host Advisor to guide you through any questions, a wide variety of classes for embodiment (including an online offering for those at a distance), observations, personal instruction (including online offerings and also worldwide TPC graduates to assist you) and several other learning aids. I spent many hours teaching as a trainee under supervision of senior teachers who helped me learn how to see the body in front of me and also understand the actual Pilates movement skills. I learned why Joseph Pilates created his method of exercises to placed in a specific order to develop strength and skills in each body to safely advance to the next with optimum health results.

It is because of my wonderful experience at TPC in Boulder that I decided to become a Host Advisor for their Teacher Training Program. I strongly believe that TPC is one of the best programs available, I support The Pilates Center in Boulder, CO and hope that you will take the opportunity to experience Pilates taught in the traditional method one day.

Thank you Amy and Rachel, you were a big influence and had an impact on my teaching style, while firing my passion to look further into this method. You generously shared your knowledge in such a wonderful way, and goodness as human beings.

More information about The Pilates Center of Boulder, CO or for requesting me as your Host Advisor can obtained by contacting TPC directly, @ 303.494.3400.

Contact information regarding scheduling lessons or classes, Strategic Pilates Studio location or general questions including questions re: Host Advising for TPC for Natalie Shook NCPT: 831-241-8097 (call or text) or by email :

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