The Hundred

by Ricky
( Sussex, England)

Hundred Beginner Position

Hundred Beginner Position

Hundred Beginner Position
Hundred Intermediate Position
Hundred Advanced Position

I attend a Pilates class twice a week and the instructor insists we all do the Hundreds in the advanced position.

Now the instructor has decided this isn't enough and our goal is to actually be sitting on our glutes while our legs are just above the floor and our arms are beating for 100 seconds, not 100 beats.

Are we still working our transversus in this position or our rectus?

Love your website by the way, full of useful tips and info.!




Jennifer's Response:

Hi Ricky and thanks for your question. You are most likely correct in that you are using your rectus abdominus instead of the transverse abdominal muscles in this position.

It's important to understand the difference in the two muscle groups and what they are useful for.

The rectus abdominus are the superficial muscles referred to as the "six pack" that run horizontally across our mid section.

This group of muscles is used when we flex or bend forward at the waist. Because they are superficial muscles they do little or nothing to help support our spine. They only look good on the outside.


The transverse abdominals, on the other hand, are the deeper flattening muscles that surround, support, and stabilize our spines.

The transverse abdominals run vertically, up and down the spine. This is the goal of Pilates to work on the inner muscle groups that support and stabilize our skeleton for more efficient and healthier movement.

The sure way to know which set of muscles you are using is if your abdominals are pooching out instead of flattening you are using the rectus and, therefore not getting the maximum and desired benefits from the hundreds.

See the images above to assume the right position for you to keep the flattening effect rather than the pooching effect.

Another thing, with the hundreds is the breath. A more appropriate breath cycle has been introduced by the PhysicalMind Institute on the Hundred, and all of the Pilates exercises.

Try breathing in for 4 counts and out for 6 counts. It will help you to expel all of the air out of your lungs and get that flatter and deeper effect.


Check out some of my exercise of the month pages to find progressions for the hundreds and all of the classic exercises.

Pilates Hundreds

Good luck with your practice. You may want to experiment with other instructors, everyone teaches a little differently.



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Mar 02, 2009
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Great tip!
by: Kim McGuire

Your tip about knowing whether you are working your rectus abdominis or T.A. - if the abs are pooching out, it is the rectus... very good tip and easy to understand!

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