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The Hundred Start

Pilates for Runners Workout

As a runner, you NEED theHundredto increase core stabilization and awareness. The dynamic up and down movement of the armsduring theHundredmimics the dynamic motion of running, therefore creating a similar environment for the core to work. Thisenhances the core’s ability to stabilize the pelvis during running as the terrain changes, as you turn, and as you fatigue. TheHundredis a classic Pilates exercise that promotes circulation, breath control, core awareness, core stability, and coordination. “It’s a belly buster, a breath pumper, a coordination challenge, and a great overall toning exercise,” (Marguerite Ogle, About.com Pilates Guide). Usually the first exercise in the Pilates mat sequence, theHundredrequires coordination of breath and movement as well as strength and grace. While it is challenging, theHundredis easily modified to fit the needs of any level exerciser. See the ‘tips’ section at the end of the exercise description for modification ideas.

  1. Starting supine (on your back) with legs bent, feet flat on the floor and parallel, inhale through the nose to prepare.

  2. Exhale through the mouth with a bit of force to bring the legs one at a time into 'Tabletop' position (hips and knees bent at 90 degrees, the shins and feet parallel to the floor, toes pointed). Arms should be extended long at your side on the floor. The head is on the mat with the back of the neck lengthened. Inhale through the nose.

  3. Exhale to curl your head up off the floor, feeling more length through the back of the neck, and keeping your chin a fist space from the chest. Then, continue to curl your upper spine off the floor by engaging the abs. As you do this, think about sliding the rib cage toward the hip bones so that the abdominals stay flat and do not 'puff' up. The shoulder blades should feel as if they are sliding down into your back pockets. Your gaze is forward toward the knees. Inhale through the nose. 

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