What is the first Pilates Exercise?

The first Pilates exercise is called the Hundred. This is a great exercise to warm up the body and get your blood pumping. Begin by lying on the Mat. Bend your knees into your chest and lift your head and shoulders off the Mat. Extend your legs out to a high diagonal and reach your arms long by your side with palms facing down. Arms "pump" vigorously, lifting up and down no higher than hips. While pumping arms, inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts to complete one exercise. The exercise is performed 10 times with 5 inhales and 5 exhales equaling 100. Beginners may keep their legs bent as though they are lying down while sitting in a chair, or keep legs lying long on the Mat. Advanced students may extend their legs at a high diagonal or lower them keeping them as close to the Mat as possible without touching it.
The Hundred may be performed with a Magic Circle between legs or arms. It is also performed on the Reformer during a typical apparatus session.

In an apparatus sessions a teacher may split the Hundred teaching half the repetitions on the Mat and half on the Reformer. When performing the Hundred on the Reformer lie down on the carriage. A teacher will put the handles in the hands of a Beginner client while an Intermediate or Advanced client can take the handles themselves. The footbar is lowered again by the teacher fro Beginners or by the client for students at a higher level. Pressing the carriage out by reaching the arms long the exercise is performed in a similar way as it was done on the Mat. This time the tension from resisting the springs is felt in the body. Helping with alignment. Lighter springs or less springs may be used for clients that still need to build up their strength. In a typical classical session 4 springs are used unless the client is under 5 feet tall and then the Reformer is put in negative gear and 3 springs are used. If the client is straining their neck they can support it by utilizing the head rest.

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