If you’re looking to add a functional core exercise to your current training program, look no further than the Pallof press. Named after physical therapist John Pallof, the Pallof press is an anti-rotation exercise that will work wonders in helping you develop a stable core, build strength and improve power.
What makes this movement one of the very best core strengthening exercises is that, unlike the typical crunches and leg raise type movements, the Pallof Press trains your core based on its true primary function – which is to act as a stabiliser rather than a primary mover. This makes it a particularly valuable exercise for athletes training for sports, as core stability is key to performance and injury prevention.
That being said, the Pallof press is a beneficial exercise for all fitness goers as it helps develop the ability to control muscle contractions of the core, develop greater self-awareness of spinal alignment, and enhance posture under load/during training. If you’ve been instructing a client to ‘brace their core’ throughout movements, this exercise will help give them a good sense of what that feels like.
Incorporating the Pallof press Into a Program:
There are two ways the Pallof press can be incorporated into a training program:
- Warm Up/Activation – as a movement and stability based exercise to get you primed for your core lifts.
- Core Training – integrated into the core training segment of your program, usually at the end of your session, and in conjunction with other core exercises.
How To Do A Pallof Press:
This exercise can be performed with either a resistance band or with a cable system.
- Start by attaching a resistance band to an anchor at chest height. If you’re using a cable, set it to chest height as well
- Grasp the handle or band with both hands and pull the cable or band out and stand with your side toward the weight stack or band attachment point
- Get into an athletic stance, with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, a slight bend in the knees and chest up
- Press the cable or band straight out in front of the chest – brace the core and avoid rotation
- Hold position for 2-3 seconds before returning the cable or band back to the chest
Pallof Press Variations:
Pallof Press Iso Hold –
Instead of simply extending and bending your arms, you will pause at the full extension of your arms for a brief isometric hold.
Half Kneeling Pallof Press –
Once you’ve become comfortable with the Pallof press, you can move onto your knees to make the exercise a little trickier. Assume a half-kneel position and perform desired reps.
Kneeling Pallof Press –
The same as above, however with both knees on the ground. Moving from one knee to two makes your base even more unstable, and increases the challenge to your core when resisting rotation in the exercise.
Split Stance Pallof Press –
The split stance Pallof press provides an additional core challenge as you aim to maintain your centre of balance and keep your spine neutral while holding the split stance for the desired number of reps.
Pallof Press with Overhead Reach –
This variation adds an additional overhead reach following the Pallof press. To do this, simply raise your hands (with the resistance band or cable handle in them) slowly overhead following the standard Pallof press.
Pallof Press Progressions:
Beginner – Light resistance bands can be used to get yourself or a client familiar with the exercise. It will also start to introduce them to maintaining core tension and resisting rotational forces on the body. Standing and kneeling variations can be used during the beginner phase.
Intermediate – As you or a client progress, you can add more tension and resistance of the bands, or add more weight if you are using a cable machine. The more narrow the stance, the harder the exercise, so you can play around with this too.
Advanced – Once you or your client have set a strong foundation of Pallof pressing and anti-rotational control/stability, you can integrate movements like presses with circles, drawing shaped, letters, etc. In doing so, you can increase the dynamic nature of this movement to further unlock its benefits.
For our current Cert IV students, you will find the Pallof press video demonstration in your exercise library on your LMS. If you would like to study our Cert III & IV in Fitness and gain access to our course content and extensive exercise library, get in contact with us today on 1300 232 348!