By Denise Vidal The hundred is probably the best known of all the Pilates exercises. If you're not familiar with it, the hundred is an abdominal exercise which uses the breath to strengthen and tone the core. The core muscles consist of the pelvic floor, the abdominals, the diaphragm, and the deep spinal muscles. The hundred is a very challenging exercise. However, there are many different modifications to the hundred that achieve the same effects as the traditional exercise yet help to eliminate any unneeded stress to your body. The following is a step by step guide through a modified version of the hundred. We'll first start with the breath, using the breath from a previous blog as a base. To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent. Take a deep inhale through your nose, and exhale out of your mouth. As you exhale imagine your abdominals hugging an imaginary sphere in your pelvis. Maintain this abdominal tone while taking a long inhale into your ribcage to the count of five followed by a long exhale to the count of five, continuing to increase the tone around the sphere. Repeat this breath pattern 10 times. Five counts to inhale + five counts to exhale x10 = 100! The goal is to find abdominal tone from narrowing and hugging your abdominals, not bulging or hardening. Traditionally this exercise is done on your back; however, you can practice this breath sitting or standing. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.