It’s a well established fact that you don’t need to move to build a stronger core. Planks and all manner of other hold exercises can strengthen your core muscles, often far more effectively than rattling off 100 sit-ups.
The Pallof press is anti-rotation hold exercise that will work wonders in helping you develop a stable core. It’s an especially good move for those training for sports where you’re expected to spin on a sixpence at speed, because it helps build the core strength to cope with twists and turns without getting injured. Furthermore, if you like your functional workouts to come with a side of aesthetics, the Pallof press will become your new favourite, because it will sharpen up your exterior abs and obliques just as much as the interior core muscles.
How To Do The Pallof Press
How you do the Pallof press depends on what equipment you have to hand – you will need either a resistance band or, if you’re in the gym, a cable machine. It’s slightly easier to do with the latter, but if you can secure a resistance band to something at around shoulder height – something stable, a floor lamp isn’t going to cut it – then that works just as well. With a cable machine it’s best to attach a standard handle at around shoulder height.
Grasp the handle (or one end of the resistance band) in both hands and hold it against your chest. Stand or kneel side-on to the cable machine with your feet hip-width apart, then step away so the cable becomes taut. Engage your core and press the handle out with both hands so your arms are extended in front of your chest. Hold this position, resisting the pull of the cable and not letting your torso rotate towards the machine, for five to ten seconds then bring the handle back in to your chest. Do all your reps facing in one direction, then turn and stand with your other side to the machine. Alternatively, you can hold the press for as long as possible, rather than doing reps.
If you’re looking to increase the challenge of the Pallof press, move your feet closer together. Having a narrower base forces your core work even harder to keep your torso steady.