The best way to Do the Pallof Press for a Stronger, More healthy Core

Bodily therapist John Pallof shared a easy train with just a few influential power coaches within the early 2000s. It provided an efficient option to problem core stability in an upright, athletic place. Because of the train’s relative beginning and ending level, he referred to as it the stomach press.

Quick-forward 20 years. Pallof’s “stomach press” was renamed by means of widespread utilization, and what’s develop into often called the Pallof press is a mainstay train in settings from rehabilitation clinics to the power and conditioning amenities of elite athletes. (1)(2)(3)(4)

This comparatively new spin on the basic plank challenges core strength at a special approach, actually. The course of drive requires anti-rotation, versus dynamic rotation. “Anti” actions are a typically neglected and undertrained side of core well being and power.

Credit score: RomarioIen / Shutterstock

How can a single train be efficient throughout such a variety of populations? Properly, it’s scalable for problem, making it efficient and accessible to freshmen and experienced athletes alike. It additionally trains the physique to withstand rotation, which is beneficial throughout human motion patterns from athletics to each day life. Right here’s an in depth have a look at the Pallof press and the way to incorporate into your coaching plan.

Pallof Press

Traditional Pallof Press Video Tutorial

Writer Dr. Merrick Lincoln demonstrates the Pallof press within the video under. Learn on for step-by-step directions. 

The best way to Do the Pallof Press

Comply with these detailed directions to dial-in correct Pallof press kind for max profit and effectivity. You’ll want a cable system with an adjustable pulley or a resistance band and a secure, chest-high anchor level.

Step 1 — Set Your Tools and Step Out

Dr. Merrick Lincoln in gym performing resistance band ab exercise
Credit score: Merrick Lincoln, DPT, CSCS / YouTube

Set a resistance band or cable pulley (with a single deal with hooked up) at roughly chest-height. Grasp the band or deal with with each fingers and maintain it in entrance of your sternum with bent arms.

Pull your shoulders again and brace your core. Sidestep away from the anchor-point till you’re feeling reasonable pressure on the band, or till the burden plates raise a number of inches from the cable stack.

Type Tip: Though that is simply the “setup” of the train, your core is already experiencing resistance from the band or cable. Earlier than the walkout, not after, is the most effective time to set your brace and tense your abs, as this avoids having to ascertain correct alignment whereas underneath larger resistance. 

Step 2 — Quarter-Squat and Press

Dr. Merrick Lincoln in gym doing resistance band ab exercise
Credit score: Merrick Lincoln, DPT, CSCS / YouTube

Together with your shoulders squarely over your pelvis and your ft simply past shoulder-width, carry out a shallow squat. Preserve this secure place all through the rest of the train. Slowly press the band or cable instantly away out of your sternum till your elbows are straight. 

Type Tip: The turning drive from the band or cable doesn’t cease at your core. You will have to ascertain a agency reference to the ground in the course of the Pallof press. Accomplish this by making an attempt to “grip” or “unfold” the ground together with your ft.

Step 3 — Pause at Peak Stress

Dr. Merrick Lincoln in gym doing resistance band ab exercise.
Credit score: Merrick Lincoln, DPT, CSCS / YouTube

This portion of the train is chargeable for a comparatively great amount of the coaching stimulus, so give it loads of consideration. The tip place of the press is essentially the most difficult a part of the train — Savor it by pausing for a second or longer.

Type Tip: You’ve (doubtless) inhaled to set your brace earlier than initiating the repetition, and also you’ve exhaled all through the urgent movement. Now, fill the pause at peak pressure with one other full breath cycle (breathe in, breathe out) with out shedding your brace. It is a good option to be sure to maintain the pause for a enough period.

Step 4 — Return to Begin Place

Dr. Merrick Lincoln in gym doing resistance band ab exercise
Credit score: Merrick Lincoln, DPT, CSCS / YouTube

Pull the band or cable deal with again to your sternum with a easy, managed motion. Repeat steps two by 4 (press, pause, pull again) for the specified variety of repetitions earlier than sidestepping towards the anchor level or pulley and switching sides.

Type Tip: Though the train turns into progressively simpler as you carry the band or deal with again towards the beginning place, don’t lose your brace. Attempt for no motion under the shoulders. 

Pallof Press Errors to Keep away from

Don’t be lulled into pondering this simple-looking train doesn’t require focus. Avoiding these Pallof press pitfalls ensures train effectiveness. 

Setting Up at an Angle

One widespread error within the Pallof press happens earlier than the train actually begins. After you step out with band or cable, your torso have to be perpendicular to the road of pull of the resistance. Don’t bend at your waist and don’t stand in entrance of, or behind, the anchor level or cable.

Person in gym doing ab exercise with band
Credit score: BarBend / YouTube

Any substantial deviation from perpendicular will scale back the effectiveness of the train by lowering the turning drive (“torque”) utilized to your trunk. An indirect angle reduces demand in your obliques.

Keep away from it: No want to trace down a protractor or angle finder. Simply think about a straight line operating between your shoulder joints and one other straight line operating by your hip joints. These two imaginary traces needs to be parallel to one another and run at a proper angle to the precise line of the band or cable. 

Midsection Movement

Poor trunk management in the course of the Pallof press is indicative of a misunderstanding of the train or the usage of an excessive amount of resistance. Assuming you’re not merely overpowered by the band or cable, you possibly can enhance your Pallof press kind by specializing in a “braced” midsection.

person in gym doing cable ab exercise
Credit score: Breaking Muscle / YouTube

Keep away from it: Deal with the Pallof press like a “standing plank.” Make your trunk inflexible by bracing or co-contracting the muscle tissues on the entrance, again, and sides of your midsection. 

Retreating Rapidly From Peak Stress

The Pallof press needs to be most difficult after the press, when your arms are outstretched in entrance of the physique. That is knowledgeable by Newtonian physics (i.e. “legislation of the lever”) and it’s supported by the plain sensation of effort it is best to really feel on the end-range.

Close view of person in gym holding resistance band
Credit score: BarBend / YouTube

Keep away from it: Make Sir Isaac Newton proud by pausing and demonstrating management when the resistance drive has essentially the most leverage. When your elbows are straight and your fingers are at roughly chest-height, take a second to confirm your shoulders and hips are sq.. As you breathe in the course of the pause, be sure that your midsection is tight and braced earlier than returning to the beginning place. 

The best way to Progress the Pallof Press

When progressing the Pallof press, use a mixture of conventional train variables (e.g. including resistance or quantity) and non-traditional variables (e.g. devising modifications that enhance the technique-demands or complexity of the train. (5) When the normal Pallof press will get too simple, lean into a number of of the development methods under.

Change the Base of Help

The essential model of the Pallof press is carried out with each ft barely exterior shoulder-width. Your “base of assist” is all the time going to be the realm outlined by your ft and all of the house between the ft. The train turns into drastically tougher with a smaller base of assist. Obtain this development by standing with a narrower stance. When you’re capable of carry out Pallof presses together with your ft collectively, attempt the lunge variation and even the single-leg variation, described under.

Enhance the Variety of Repetitions

For efficiency coaching, the Pallof press is taken into account an “accent train,” typically carried out for reasonable to increased repetitions. It isn’t the kind of train conducive to excessive resistance/low repetition programming. Nobody cares about your Pallof press one-repetition most. Somewhat than push for extra resistance, push for higher-repetition units. Work as much as units of 20 or extra easy, managed repetitions earlier than worrying about including resistance.

Enhance the Motion Pace

Your major activity in the course of the Pallof press is to maintain your trunk immobile. Or, if there’s any movement or lack of the preliminary trunk place, your activity is to regain management and re-achieve the preliminary place as quickly as attainable. In reality, the latter situation most carefully describes the biomechanics definition of stability. (6) Fast motion pace in the course of the Pallof press exposes the physique to a larger stability problem.

So long as any motion under your shoulders is minimal and well-controlled, rising the pace of the urgent movement will be an efficient development. Nonetheless, even when performing quicker repetitions, it is best to nonetheless pause at peak pressure when arms are totally outstretched.

Advantages of the Pallof Press

Isometric core workouts just like the Pallof press are advisable to enhance core muscle endurance. (7) However the advantages of the Pallof press don’t cease there. Rising analysis factors to its potential function in improved sports activities efficiency and injury-risk discount. 

Enhances Drive Switch and Efficiency

From a motion growth perspective, we all know the flexibility to regulate the trunk and show stability is a prerequisite for efficient limb motion. That is evidenced by infants sitting unsupported earlier than they stroll or earlier than launching their toys throughout the room. This similar phenomenon is seen in athletes, albeit throughout a lot higher-level actions. Trunk stability enhances the flexibility to generate forceful, fast, and exact limb motion. (8) The excellent news is, this seems to be trainable.

For instance, a core coaching program together with Pallof press variations was proven to enhance placing drive amongst Muay Thai athletes. (9) Whether or not you’re a fighter, thrower, field- or court docket sport participant, swimmer, or simply about every other kind of athlete, progressive coaching with the Pallof press may up your sport.

Teaches You To ‘Breathe and Brace’

Many sports activities and athletic endeavors require the talent of simultaneous respiratory and bracing — sprinting, kayaking, swimming, and just about any CrossFit-style exercise, simply to call just a few. The height pressure place of the Pallof press is a good alternative to follow this talent.

As famous within the step-by-step directions, it is best to pause when your arms are totally pressed away out of your sternum. In case you fill this pause with a number of breath cycles whereas additionally stopping any movement between your shoulders and hips, you might be coaching “respiratory and bracing.” For the reason that Pallof press is usually programmed as a fairly-high repetition, moderate-to-low load train, it offers loads of alternatives to follow. 

Probably Reduces Harm Threat

Poor core stability is believed to predispose athletes to damage. (10) And though we all know not all accidents will be prevented, there’s a sturdy case for the inclusion of core workouts just like the Pallof press in exercise applications designed to scale back damage threat. Bettering core stability is believed to enhance management or coordination of the physique and limbs. (10)(11) And improved coordination could translate into diminished threat for damage.

For instance, throughout 13 research, core coaching was proven to enhance steadiness, which can in the end lower the danger of injurious falls. (12) Altogether, workouts supposed to enhance stability and coordination (i.e. “neuromuscular coaching”), together with power coaching, are among the many most well-supported forms of coaching to scale back threat of damage. (13)

Muscular tissues Labored by Pallof Press

Though the time period “press” could seem to indicate the shoulders are focused, the Pallof press is decidedly core work. The urgent movement is minimally-resisted as a result of physique’s orientation to the road of pull of the band or cable stack. The press isn’t “lifting” the burden. As an alternative, the train hammers your core, notably the muscle tissues that stop trunk rotation


The first muscle activity in the course of the Pallof press is to withstand trunk rotation, which is why the motion sample is termed “anti-rotation.” Muscular tissues that act to rotate the trunk contract isometrically and create pressure with out creating considerable motion.

shirtless muscular person looking out window
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

Key muscle tissues embrace the exterior obliques and inside obliques. Your rectus abdominis (i.e. the six-pack abs) and transversus abdominis (the deepest belly muscle) might also contribute to the Pallof press by rising intra-abdominal stress to extend the rigidity of your trunk.  

Tiny Again Muscular tissues

Usually forgotten, many small muscle tissues on the bottom of the trunk contribute to trunk rotation and anti-rotation. These muscle tissues are organized between the bones of the backbone (vertebrae), run between the ribcage and vertebrae, or span the pelvis and sacrum to vertebrae.

Amongst them, erector spinae often is the most notable, however semispinalis, multifidi, and rotatores deserve honorable point out. Multifidi and rotatores, specifically, are thought to provide“fine-tuning” muscle contractions wanted for efficient stabilization of the backbone. (14)

The best way to Program the Pallof Press

For many, the Pallof press is an adjunct train, which means it performs a supplementary function within the coaching program. Accent workouts will be programmed in a wide range of methods, supplied they assist, or not less than don’t intervene with, the first targets of the exercise.

As a Heat-up or Primer

The nice and cozy-up is a time devoted to rising physique temperature and rehearsing actions that assist the upcoming coaching session. It’s additionally a good time to include core work. As a reasonably low-intensity train, the Pallof press is well-suited for inclusion throughout any basic warm-up.

As Devoted Core Coaching

By setting apart time particularly for core training, as you doubtless do in your shoulders, arms, chest, back, or quadriceps, you assist to make sure the work will get accomplished. The Pallof press primarily works the rotators of the trunk. Due to this fact, to create a strong core exercise, you might also want to add workouts focusing on the flexors, extensors, and lateral flexors of the core, akin to crunches or planks, Roman chair again extensions, and farmer’s walks, respectively.

Though the Pallof press is a splendidly efficient year-around core train for most people, high-level athletes could want to incorporate extra dynamic trunk rotation coaching, akin to medicine ball twists and tosses, in the course of the pre-season and in-season for extra sport-specific coaching. (7)

As Relaxation Interval “Filler”

The quantity of train accomplished in an outlined time frame determines the density of a exercise. Growing the density of your exercises makes them extra environment friendly, so long as the extra work (or diminished relaxation) doesn’t adversely have an effect on train efficiency. The Pallof press doesn’t create extreme fatigue in muscle tissues generally focused by conventional resistance coaching.

Due to this fact, it could be an ideal “filler” train. Take a few of the two or three minutes you’d usually relaxation passively between units of bench presses, rows, or every other train, and hit a set of Pallof presses. By supersetting the Pallof press with one other train, you’ll enhance the effectivity of your exercise and preserve your thoughts (and physique) engaged all through your whole coaching session. 

Pallof Press Variations

The Pallof press will be modifiable in numerous methods. Under, discover a beginner-friendly model of the Pallof press, adopted by three comparatively extra superior modifications.

Half-Kneeling Pallof Press

To cut back the problem of the Pallof press, attempt the “half-kneeling” place. Place your inside knee (the leg closest to the band or cable stack) on the ground and bend your exterior leg 90-degrees on the knee and hip. Place your entrance foot flat on the ground. (1)

From this place, brace your midsection and carry out the Pallof press with typical urgent method. If you swap sides, you’ll want to swap leg positions — the leg closest to the resistance is on the bottom and your reverse foot is flat on the ground.

Lunge-Place Pallof Press

Performing the Pallof press in a lunge stance will increase the problem by narrowing your base of assist. (1) Together with your exterior leg in entrance, drop right into a slender lunge place, brace, then carry out the Pallof press with customary “press and pause” kind.

Make sure to preserve your exterior knee pointing straight forward, as pressure from the band or cable will attempt to “unravel” your physique. Don’t enable your knee to break down inward. If you swap sides, swap lead legs and repeat the lunge place.

Single-Leg Pallof Press

The only-leg Pallof press is carried out standing on the surface leg — The leg farthest from the anchor level of the band or the cable stack. By performing the train on one leg, the single-leg Pallof press will increase coaching demand on the lateral hip muscle tissues, specifically the gluteus medius. (4)

Additionally, you will want to stop your foot and ankle from caving inward (“pronating”) underneath the pull of the band. To get the best coaching impact from the foot and ankle advanced, carry out in minimalist sneakers and even barefoot. 

Chaos Pallof Press 

To additional progress the Pallof press, enhance the reactive demand of the train by including a lightweight weight to the middle of the resistance band setup (demonstrated within the video). Make sure the burden is secured in place, so it may’t slide up and down the size of the band.

Performing the “press” portion quickly will create oscillating actions of the burden plate. Your core muscle tissues will probably be compelled to cope with the added, and considerably unpredictable, problem of the bouncing plate. Maintain the paused place to regain core management earlier than persevering with repetitions.


Why are there so many Pallof press variations?

Core stability will be conceptualized as a perform of capability (i.e. power, energy, endurance) and management (i.e. coordination). Growing resistance or including further units and repetitions to core stability workouts primarily improves the core’s capability. To enhance management, modifications that enhance the technical problem of the train are indicated. That’s, we have to progress the complexity of the train. (5
We are able to enhance the complexity of the Pallof press in some ways. These embrace, however should not restricted to, lowering the footprint or “base of assist” (as within the lunge-position and single-leg variations), rising the motion pace, including instability by standing on a steadiness pad, or incorporating a reactive problem (as within the chaos Pallof press). So long as you adhere to the essential motion rules and method pointers, you might be solely restricted by your creativity when creating variations of the Pallof press.

Ought to I take advantage of a cable stack or a resistance band for the Pallof press?

Tools availability and private choice needs to be the important thing determinants of whether or not to make use of a cable stack or a resistance band. Assuming each can be found, take into account the professionals and cons of every.
In comparison with bands, the cable stack permits for extra constant exterior resistance and offers the flexibility to regulate loading in smaller, extra quantifiable increments. However low-quality or poorly maintained cable stacks can really feel tough and friction in the machine can negatively have an effect on the resistance in the course of the train. 
Elastic bands are cheap and handy. They’re higher than cables for coaching at excessive speeds attributable to minimal inertial forces. Like cable stacks, elastic bands enable for modification of the resistance, however you have to to both change out resistance bands to accommodate you desired resistance stage or arrange nearer or farther from the anchor level to regulate the band’s stretch.
Because of the elastic nature of the resistance band, it’ll apply extra resistance when your arms are totally outstretched than when your arms are pulled in. That’s, count on a extra dramatic resistance curve with resistance bands — On the hardest a part of the motion, the demand is in your trunk is even larger. This characteristic could introduce a bottleneck impact: It could restrict the resistance used ,in addition to your potential to progress to thicker resistance bands.

How usually ought to I carry out the Pallof press?

When programmed for damage prevention or athletic efficiency enhancement, core coaching is usually carried out at reasonable to excessive frequencies with not less than two classes per week and as many as seven days per week. (9)(12)
To perform this, full a few units in the course of the warm-up in your daily workout, or designate two or three core-focused classes per week to finish three to 6 units of the Pallof Press per session.

Make Room for Anti-Rotation in Your Train Rotation

Since its introduction, the Pallof press has develop into a recent basic train. It builds rotational power and enhances trunk stability. And it’d even increase athletic efficiency and scale back damage threat. Bear in mind, to realize significant advantages, consistency and development are key.


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  3. Cotter, A. (2022). Return to Sport Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: Girls’s Discipline Hockey. Journal of Girls’s Sports activities Medication2(2), 57-69.
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  14. Kavcic, N., Grenier, S., & McGill, S. M. (2004). Figuring out the stabilizing function of particular person torso muscle tissues throughout rehabilitation workouts. Backbone29(11), 1254-1265.

Featured Picture: Merrick Lincoln, DPT, CSCS / YouTube

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