Georgiy Sekretaryuk
May 4, 2016
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The Pallof Press, the best core exercise you’re probably not even doing

How to do the Pallof Press

This exercise is named after physiotherapist John Pallof. Unlike the crunch or sit up, it ACTUALLY trains the core for what it is designed for. The core is much more than your rectus abdominus (6 pack muscles) and obliques and it is made to resist trunk extension, posterior pelvic tilt and transmit rotary forces (rotation and anti rotation). It is the connection between your upper and lower extremities when transferring forces (i.e. baseball swing). The Pallof Press ticks off all these boxes when looking for the best bang for your buck core exercises. One of my favourite aspects of this exercise is its versatility. It can be done by anyone, in many different positions/stances and anywhere (you at least need a resistance band).

The 3 main steps to doing the Pallof Press exercise are

  1. Assume an athletic position: feet shoulder width apart, chest out, shoulders back. CONTROL the movement – you shouldn’t be on the verge of passing out. Fully extend your arms and pause for a 1-2 second count (resisting any twisting or rotation), and then return back to the starting position (which is generally the sternum).
  2. The more narrow the stance, the harder the exercise is. If you’re having a hard time keeping your hips/pelvis from moving, you’re too close and/or using too much weight. (start off light, 10-20lbs)
  3. Push your hips back and assume an athletic position. Don’t lean forward (this will shift your center of gravity forward)

BONUS: Once you get really good at these you can add isometric holds (i.e. 4 sets of 3 reps with 10 second holds)

If you’re at the gym, the best option is to use the cable machine for this exercise. At home or on vacation/at the hotel you can use a resistance band. Different positions of this exercise include: Standing, Tall Kneeling, ½ Kneeling, Split Stance and adding side steps.

You can also do horizontal, vertical and lateral Pallof Presses. Below are some of these variations.

A physiotherapist showing how to do Horizontal Pallof Press

Horizontal Pallof Press

A physiotherapist showing how to do Vertical Pallof Presses

Vertical Pallof Presses

A physiotherapist showing how to do Lateral Pallof Presses

Lateral Pallof Presses

As mentioned above, this exercise is great because of the many different variations and its ability to build great functional core strength.

Related Posts on Core & Exercise Training

This blog is written by Robbi Basran, Physiotherapist who is FMS and SFMA certified at our Burnaby Physiotherapy Clinic.

If interested in booking an appointment with Robbi, please contact our Burnaby Physiotherapy Clinic at 604-558-2273 and he would be happy to see you.


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