How (and why) you make Pallof presses


Have you met someone who is performing an exercise that seems so simple that you can not understand how or why would they choose to do that? This is the reaction of most people when they first see the Pallof press! However, this exercise is misleading … challenging!

What is a Pallof press, you ask? Simply put, it's one of the Girls Gone Strong Absolutely Favorite Core Exercises! It's an anti-rotation exercise, which means you'll literally use your kernel to resist twisting on one side.

What are the benefits of Press Pallof?

In general, Pallof can be used to:

  • Increase the density of the nucleus, mainly in the anterior kernel and in the lateral cavities
  • Even asymmetries and imbalances between the left and right sides
  • Reduce the risk of injuries from a patient's anterior kernel (and subsequent pelvic and spinal stability issues)

What makes the Pallof press special among the core exercises is that it truly has variations that are appropriate for every level of technical skill and training experience so beginners and advanced practitioners can use it in their programming.

What equipment do you need?

You will need either a cable or a resistance belt anchored at one point. In the standard position, the cable or belt will be placed at the chest height (thinks the sternum), but it can also be placed higher or lower in exercise variants.

What is the right technique?

While the following describes the Pallof bench made by a square stop, with the belt or cable at the chest height, this exercise can also be performed in a dashed position as well as in a tall, kneeling and half-kneeling position.

Set yourself up

  • Set the cable fitting or the resistance belt to the chest height.
  • Stand with your side at the anchor point, at a sports square. When you extend your hands, your cable and arms should form a 90 degree angle, so place your body accordingly.
  • You should have a slight bending on your knees, and your legs should be hip-up width to each other.
  • Grasp the cord attachment or cable with your outside hand (farther away from the cable or anchor point) and gently support the ends of your inner hand at the top of the other hand. This handle takes the inner hand out of the equation and actually forces the core muscles to work much harder.
  • Before you leave, take a deep breath in your belly (360 degrees air around the spine).

The movement

  • Apply relentlessly as you stretch your hands, actively soften your cage to your hips (close the space in the middle) and lightly bind your buttocks creating tensions across your entire body.
  • Keep your arms in the extended position for 1-2 seconds before returning them to their original position.
  • As you bring your hands back to your body, stop when your elbows touch your sides. Do not let your arms or arms touch your front kernel. Relax your hands so they do not dominate the exercise.
  • Keep your shoulders nailed and your shoulders pulled together and down toward the opposite hip. Do not let your shoulders round or lift your shoulders.
  • Keep a foot tripod (weight in the middle of the back of your foot, and hold your big and your baby toe down) for the duration of the exercise. This will improve your overall stability and ability to perform this exercise.
  • Maintain proper alignment for the duration of the exercise. There should be no rotation in the shoulders, trunk or basin and your body should not lean sideways. Your body should remain relatively vertical (it may have a slight incline forward to your trunk) and your spine should remain in a neutral position.
  • Do not let your knee collapse or fall out. Reset before each iteration.
  • Complete all repetitions on one side before moving to the other side.

When should you run Pallof presses?

Pallof presses can either be used at the beginning of a workout, either as a warm-up exercise based on stability or at the end of the most complex exercises. It can also be used as an antithesis exercise for your trunk.

Beginners should begin by understanding the old Stall Pallof Press Square described above before moving on to more advanced variations such as exercising in a dash, kneeling and half-kneeling position as well as doing isometric restraints or circles instead of for repeated repetitions.

Target for 3 groups of 6-10 reps. Exercise can be made more difficult by adding more weight to the stack of wires, using a thicker band of strength or moving away from the anchor point.

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