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Step Barrel: One Hundred



Step Barrel aka Spine Corrector: One Hundred 

– The One Hundred is the first exercise of the Matwork and can be done on all apparatus!

Random Thoughts on Pilates:
The Central Nervous System likes challenges – and a variety of challenges help it to learn new things.  It likes to solve the same problems but in different contexts – that’s why we have the Barrels, Cadillac & Chair as supplementary apparatus to the Mat & the Reformer – to challenge the Central Nervous system to solve the same problem in different ways – that’s how we learn and it’s how we get better at solving physical problems!  Pilates is all about training the Central Nervous System.

What’s the One Hundred good for?

Muscle focus
Shoulder and scapular stability
Strengthen the inner thighs & butt
Stretching out the legs and feet


The One Hundred warms up the body and improves breathing ready for the rest of the Matwork – but for many beginners this exercise can be a daunting challenge.  The Step Barrel Makes it more accessible whilst you’re getting stronger. 

Practising the One Hundred on a more supportive surface with (compared to a flat mat) helps us learn the the abdominal activation necessary to create the correct spinal position.  It is the abdominals tht support the spine as they connect to the spinal via the “thoracolumbar fascia”.




The “how to”

Repetitions: One.

Difficulty: Starters
You can do this exercise facing either way but lying with your tailbone & sacrum resting on the lip and your lower rib cage resting on the barrel is the easiest option for starting off.

Inhale. Lie on the Spine Corrector with your legs stretched out and away from you.  Your lower ribs are resting on the barrel and your tailbone /sacrum should be on the lip of the barrel.  Reach your legs out with slight external rotation to create a V position at the feet..
Exhale. Reach your arms forward towards your heels and allow our heart & rib cage to come upwards and forwards.   Your heels are together and your big toes are separated.
Inhale. Pause.  Deepen your abdominal contraction further by pressing your navel in towards your spine, this will cause your your lower spine to be pressed down towards the well of the barrel.
Exhale. Pump your arms up and down in a small rhythmic motion for five counts.
Inhale. Continue pumping your arms up and down for five more counts. repeat this for 10 breath cycles making a total of one hundred counts.

Hints and Tips

💡  Lengthen your back from behind your ears as you look at your belly button.
💡  Pull your upper abdominals in and up as you lengthen the backs of your legs.
💡  Keep your arms long fingers together wrist straight pump from the armpit.

Related Links:

Photo credits: Emma Hogan Photography.


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