The Hundred is an abdominal and core strengthening exercise that is adapted from a pilates workout routine. It targets the rectus abdominis muscle—the muscle that develops your six-pack abs.
The rectus abdominis muscle stretches from your pelvis to your ribs and is responsible for flexing your torso. Six-pack abs are developed by strengthening and bulking up the rectus abdominis and decreasing the amount of subcutaneous fat that could be covering the abdominal muscles.
The Hundred is a pilates-based exercise that targets the core muscles—those of the abdominals, hips, and back. Pilates movements develop abdominal control and pelvic stability, both of which are important to developing and strengthening the abdominal muscles and developing six-pack abs.
The Hundred is a strengthening and toning exercise that requires a great deal of abdominal muscle control and coordination to maintain the position for an extended period of time. To perform The Hundred, lie on your back on the floor or on a mat.
As you inhale, slowly roll upward, bringing your chin toward your chest and lifting your upper back and shoulders off the floor. Aim your gaze toward your toes and make sure not to tuck your chin too deeply to put strain on your neck.
Activate your abdominal muscles and extend your legs, pointing your toes in front of you. Your arms should also stretch forward, fingers pointing in the same direction as your toes. Slowly lower your legs to the point where they begin shaking then raise them up about an inch.
Make sure your lower back is in contact with the floor and that you are not arching your back, as this may lead to injury or discomfort. Take five short breaths in and five short breaths out as you pump your straight arms up and down.
Aim for five arm pumps per breath in, and five pumps for each breath out. Continue this until you reach a hundred. You may need to take breaks at first, but your goal should be to perform a hundred pulses in one session.
End The Hundred by either rolling into child’s pose or pulling your knees into your chest while lying on your back and wrapping your arms around your legs, releasing the tension in your lower back.
To make this exercise easier, bend your knees so your shins are parallel to the floor, hips flexed. This makes it easier to ensure your lower back stays in contact with the floor and reduces the muscle strain on your hip flexors.
If you have upper back or neck injuries, you can do the opposite by keeping your back flat on the floor but elevating your legs as you would in the original version of The Hundred. This will keep you from putting extra pressure on your upper back or neck, which may lead to injury.
To make The Hundred more challenging, lower your feet toward the floor. You shouldn’t lower your feet to the point that your lower back raises up from the floor, but to a point where you can feel a distinct strain on your abdominals.
The Hundred targets both the upper and lower abdominals, which will help you achieve the six-pack abs look. However, in order to see the six-pack easily, it is imperative that you reduce your belly fat.
You can have strong, well-defined abs, but they will not be evident if there is a layer of fat covering them. Reducing fat can be done by changing your diet and incorporating more cardiovascular exercise into your daily routine. A good rule of thumb is to perform 30 to 45 minutes of moderate to high-intensity cardiovascular exercise four to five times each week.