100's aren't for Beginners!
As a parent, I love to hear my kids share a proud accomplishment. And the more they worked for it, the better. One thing we love to do at Pilates Afterschool is challenge kids with technique instead of just brute strength. The focus that one brings to an exercise is called ... mindfulness! If you are doing Pilates correctly, your mind is focused. And lucky for us, that builds stronger mind-body connection and new neurons in the brain. SCORE! Read one article on how Pilates makes you smarter.
The 100 is a very popular move for Pilates people, and one that Mr. Joe Pilates typically gave at the very beginning of a work out. The reason this was done at the beginning is that it would "warm up" the core, get a person focused also also get them to start connecting to their breath.
However, given at the beginning would indicate that this is a simple movement. So not true.
Most people, even conditioned and strong individuals tend to not be able to hold their body in the correct position for this move and strain is put on the spine. OUCH!
Here we are demonstrating a wonderful move, that is a 100 prep. And there are three key lines to note (see image right):
1. Straight shins (table top). Here we are using a chair as a modification. A great way to make this accessible for every-body.
2. Eyes are looking between the legs and not at the ceiling or the belly.
3. Arms are straight out from shoulders and pumping. This is coordinated with the breath and builds stamina and endurance for the lungs. (it is NOT all about the abs.) Typically, with kids or adults who need to build lung strength you will pump and inhale for 5 and pump and exhale for 5 until you are fatigued, however, as you get more advanced you can do this for counts of 10 pumps and longer until you reach 100 (hence the name!).
With every movement you can progress it (make it more challenging) or modify it (make it more accessible and safer).
For 100's you can play with the top half of the body or the bottom half as well as your breath and alignment.
Some modifications would include keeping your head and shoulders down on the mat for all or part of the 100s. Also, doing a shorter set (20-50) or doing shorter breath/arm pumping counts (like to 3 or 5). MOST people will not be able to hold the shoulders off the mat as beginners for a count to 100 with out strain (and strain doesn't help us progress, so forget pain and strain!)
The progressions are almost endless. Eventually you can remove the chair and this will be more advanced. Also, holding just one leg up and out at an angle, and much more advanced holding both legs out straight. This is MUCH more advanced by lowering the straight legs to the floor. I would consider low straight legs just off the floor VERY ADVANCED and should only be progressed toward with training and skill.
Like this Technique Tuesday? Like us on fb and share with your friends and we will make more! Thank you for reading. As alway, we include a free printable to use with your kids at home. (it's right over there on the left) Enjoy and peace to you! - Crystal