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

Bodily therapist John Pallof shared a easy train with a couple of influential energy coaches within the early 2000s. It supplied 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 grow to be often called the Pallof press is a mainstay train in settings from rehabilitation clinics to the energy and conditioning amenities of elite athletes. (1)(2)(3)(4)

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

Credit score: RomarioIen / Shutterstock

How can a single train be efficient throughout such a variety of populations? Nicely, it’s scalable for problem, making it efficient and accessible to novices 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 how one can incorporate into your coaching plan.

Pallof Press

Basic Pallof Press Video Tutorial

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

The right 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 steady, chest-high anchor level.

Step 1 — Set Your Gear 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 arms 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 average rigidity on the band, or till the burden plates elevate a number of inches from the cable stack.

Kind 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 perfect time to set your brace and tense your abs, as this avoids having to ascertain correct alignment whereas beneath higher 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 toes simply past shoulder-width, carry out a shallow squat. Preserve this steady 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. 

Kind Tip: The turning power from the band or cable doesn’t cease at your core. You will want to ascertain a agency reference to the ground throughout the Pallof press. Accomplish this by trying to “grip” or “unfold” the ground together with your toes.

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 top place of the press is probably the most difficult a part of the train — Savor it by pausing for a second or longer.

Kind Tip: You’ve (probably) 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 rigidity with one other full breath cycle (breathe in, breathe out) with out dropping your brace. It is a good option to ensure you maintain the pause for a ample 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 clean, managed motion. Repeat steps two by means of 4 (press, pause, pull again) for the specified variety of repetitions earlier than sidestepping towards the anchor level or pulley and switching sides.

Kind 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. Try for no motion beneath the shoulders. 

Pallof Press Errors to Keep away from

Don’t be lulled into considering 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 should 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 reducing the turning power (“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 means of your hip joints. These two imaginary traces must 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 throughout the Pallof press is indicative of a misunderstanding of the train or using an excessive amount of resistance. Assuming you’re not merely overpowered by the band or cable, you may 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 muscular tissues on the entrance, again, and sides of your midsection. 

Retreating Shortly From Peak Stress

The Pallof press must be most difficult after the press, when your arms are outstretched in entrance of the physique. That is knowledgeable by Newtonian physics (i.e. “regulation of the lever”) and it’s supported by the apparent sensation of effort you need 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 power has probably the most leverage. When your elbows are straight and your arms are at roughly chest-height, take a second to confirm your shoulders and hips are sq.. As you breathe throughout the pause, ensure your midsection is tight and braced earlier than returning to the beginning place. 

The right 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 improve 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 beneath.

Change the Base of Assist

The fundamental model of the Pallof press is carried out with each toes barely outdoors shoulder-width. Your “base of help” is at all times going to be the realm outlined by your toes and all of the area between the toes. The train turns into drastically harder with a smaller base of help. Obtain this development by standing with a narrower stance. When you’re capable of carry out Pallof presses together with your toes collectively, strive the lunge variation and even the single-leg variation, described beneath.

Improve the Variety of Repetitions

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

Improve the Motion Pace

Your main activity throughout the Pallof press is to maintain your trunk immobile. Or, if there may be any movement or lack of the preliminary trunk place, your activity is to regain management and re-achieve the preliminary place as quickly as potential. The truth is, the latter state of affairs most intently describes the biomechanics definition of stability. (6) Fast motion velocity throughout the Pallof press exposes the physique to a higher stability problem.

So long as any motion beneath your shoulders is minimal and well-controlled, rising the velocity of the urgent movement may be an efficient development. Nonetheless, even when performing quicker repetitions, you need to nonetheless pause at peak rigidity when arms are absolutely outstretched.

Advantages of the Pallof Press

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

Enhances Power Switch and Efficiency

From a motion improvement perspective, we all know the power to regulate the trunk and display 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 identical phenomenon is seen in athletes, albeit throughout a lot higher-level actions. Trunk stability enhances the power to generate forceful, speedy, 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 putting power amongst Muay Thai athletes. (9) Whether or not you’re a fighter, thrower, field- or courtroom sport participant, swimmer, or simply about some other sort of athlete, progressive coaching with the Pallof press would possibly 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 a couple of. The height rigidity place of the Pallof press is a superb alternative to observe this talent.

As famous within the step-by-step directions, you need to pause when your arms are absolutely pressed away out of your sternum. For those who 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 provides loads of alternatives to observe. 

Doubtlessly Reduces Damage Threat

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

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

Muscle tissue Labored by Pallof Press

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


The first muscle activity throughout the Pallof press is to withstand trunk rotation, which is why the motion sample is termed “anti-rotation.” Muscle tissue that act to rotate the trunk contract isometrically and create rigidity with out creating considerable motion.

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

Key muscular tissues embody the exterior obliques and inner obliques. Your rectus abdominis (i.e. the six-pack abs) and transversus abdominis (the deepest stomach muscle) can also contribute to the Pallof press by rising intra-abdominal strain to extend the rigidity of your trunk.  

Tiny Again Muscle tissue

Typically forgotten, many small muscular tissues on the bottom of the trunk contribute to trunk rotation and anti-rotation. These muscular 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 would be the most notable, however semispinalis, multifidi, and rotatores deserve honorable point out. Multifidi and rotatores, particularly, are thought to provide“fine-tuning” muscle contractions wanted for efficient stabilization of the backbone. (14)

The right way to Program the Pallof Press

For many, the Pallof press is an adjunct train, which means it performs a supplementary position within the coaching program. Accent workouts may be programmed in quite a lot of methods, offered they help, or at the very least don’t intrude with, the first aims 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 help 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 probably do to your shoulders, arms, chest, back, or quadriceps, you assist to make sure the work will get achieved. The Pallof press primarily works the rotators of the trunk. Subsequently, to create a strong core exercise, you might also want to add workouts focusing on the flexors, extensors, and lateral flexors of the core, comparable 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 might want to incorporate extra dynamic trunk rotation coaching, comparable to medicine ball twists and tosses, throughout 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 period determines the density of a exercise. Growing the density of your exercises makes them extra environment friendly, so long as the extra work (or decreased relaxation) doesn’t adversely have an effect on train efficiency. The Pallof press doesn’t create extreme fatigue in muscular tissues generally focused by conventional resistance coaching.

Subsequently, it could be a fantastic “filler” train. Take a number of the two or three minutes you’d usually relaxation passively between units of bench presses, rows, or some other train, and hit a set of Pallof presses. By supersetting the Pallof press with one other train, you’ll improve the effectivity of your exercise and hold your thoughts (and physique) engaged all through your total coaching session. 

Pallof Press Variations

The Pallof press may 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 issue of the Pallof press, strive the “half-kneeling” place. Place your inside knee (the leg closest to the band or cable stack) on the ground and bend your outdoors 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. Once you change sides, remember to change 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 issue by narrowing your base of help. (1) Together with your outdoors leg in entrance, drop right into a slender lunge place, brace, then carry out the Pallof press with customary “press and pause” kind.

You should definitely hold your outdoors knee pointing straight forward, as rigidity from the band or cable will attempt to “unravel” your physique. Don’t enable your knee to break down inward. Once you change sides, change lead legs and repeat the lunge place.

Single-Leg Pallof Press

The one-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 muscular tissues, specifically the gluteus medius. (4)

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

Chaos Pallof Press 

To additional progress the Pallof press, improve the reactive demand of the train by including a light-weight weight to the middle of the resistance band setup (demonstrated within the video). Be certain the burden is secured in place, so it may well’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 muscular tissues will likely be pressured to take care of 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 may be conceptualized as a operate of capability (i.e. energy, 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 improve the technical problem of the train are indicated. That’s, we have to progress the complexity of the train. (5
We are able to improve the complexity of the Pallof press in some ways. These embody, however usually are not restricted to, reducing the footprint or “base of help” (as within the lunge-position and single-leg variations), rising the motion velocity, 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 ideas 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?

Gear availability and private choice must 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, think about the professionals and cons of every.
In comparison with bands, the cable stack permits for extra constant exterior resistance and gives the power 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 throughout the train. 
Elastic bands are cheap and handy. They’re higher than cables for coaching at excessive speeds as a result of minimal inertial forces. Like cable stacks, elastic bands enable for modification of the resistance, however you will want 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’s going to apply extra resistance when your arms are absolutely outstretched than when your arms are pulled in. That’s, anticipate a extra dramatic resistance curve with resistance bands — On the hardest a part of the motion, the demand is in your trunk is even higher. This characteristic might introduce a bottleneck impact: It could restrict the resistance used ,in addition to your skill to progress to thicker resistance bands.

How typically ought to I carry out the Pallof press?

When programmed for harm prevention or athletic efficiency enhancement, core coaching is usually carried out at average to excessive frequencies with at the very least two classes per week and as many as seven days per week. (9)(12)
To perform this, full a few units throughout the warm-up to 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 grow to be a up to date traditional train. It builds rotational energy and enhances trunk stability. And it’d even enhance athletic efficiency and scale back harm danger. 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 Area Hockey. Journal of Girls’s Sports activities Drugs2(2), 57-69.
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  14. Kavcic, N., Grenier, S., & McGill, S. M. (2004). Figuring out the stabilizing position of particular person torso muscular tissues throughout rehabilitation workouts. Backbone29(11), 1254-1265.

Featured Picture: Merrick Lincoln, DPT, CSCS / YouTube

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