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This Classic Pilates Exercise Get’s a Little Update to Keep Up With Science!
This is one of the original 34 exercises that Joseph Pilates created nearly 100 years ago. It’s still one of the most important Pilates exercises as the first one taught by most teachers, the first one in most people’s Pilates workout, and a great warm-up for any workout.
A marvelous breathing pattern goes with every Pilates exercise, and it’s no different for The 100. But it needs a simple tweek to reflect new scientific discoveries about the mechanics of human breathing. This correction for the 100 is easy to implement and eliminates many problems with this exercise.
This long-time Pilates instructor and one of today’s leading Pilates voices briefly explains the simple fix!
Update your ‘100’ now!
Breathing and Pilates/The 100 Reconsidered
Breathing is one of the most important principles of Pilates exercise. Joseph Pilates states in his book, Return to Life Through Contrology (1), “…above all, learn how to breathe correctly.” The Pilates Elder, Mary Bowen, states that breathing was important to both Joe and Clara, second only to “learning the method” (2).
It is therefore imperative that Pilates’ instructors teach correct breathing. But what exactly is correct breathing, since Joe and Clara never taught specific mechanics other than encouraging as much breathing as possible (3)? This article reviews what science has discovered about optimal breathing with implications for improving Pilates instruction in general, and how we teach “The 100” in particular.
In “The 100” Joseph Pilates instructed students to inhale on a count of 5 and exhale on a count of 5 (4). This way of teaching “The 100” has continued for decades seemingly without question. Yet “The 100” raises more concerns among practitioners than any other Pilates exercise, and most of the issues involve uncomfortable breathing and even “gasping for breath”. Some instructors find “The 100” so troublesome that they no longer teach it (5).
Several recent studies show us ways to solve these breathing problems….
These findings have important implications for our instruction. Most importantly, the human breathing pattern is never 5/5 – whether resting or exerting – and thus we should stop teaching this in “The 100”.
Some Pilates teachers have already found solutions. MethodPilates teachers recently stopped the 5/5 instruction in favor of a more effective 4/6 inhale/exhale pattern. Other teachers instruct students to find their own breathing pattern within a 10 count thus allowing for changes in breathing that may occur even within the course of “The 100”. These solutions have been found to eliminate breathing problems. Hopefully this article encourages their widespread use.
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