Tip: The Core Exercise You've Never Tried


Pallof presses are a staple core exercise. They can develop a rock-hard midsection and a bulletproof core. They train your core to resist forces pulling your spine into rotation and lateral flexion.

But you can also add a more vertical pressing direction to your Pallofs. Here's how to hit your core from all angles.

The vertical Pallof press trains your anterior core in an anti-extension pattern. That is, it trains your core to resist spinal extension and your pelvis being yanked into an anterior tilt.

How To Do It

  1. Adjust the cable so that it starts around head height. You can adjust from here depending on what it feels like and what's comfortable.
  2. Use a half-kneeling stance since it emphasizes the "stacking" of your rib cage and pelvis. There's no getting away with a saggy back and hips from here.
  3. Once you've got it down, take your vertical Pallof presses to a tall-kneeling, standing, or staggered stance. Just no clown stuff on a stability ball, please.

Using a side-to-side motion with the cable (or band) is also an option.

There's a shorter lever overhead with this one, making it a better choice if your shoulders struggle to go fully overhead because of pain or lack of mobility.

It also places less torque through your spine and hips, so it's an easier option if you're lacking in the core department. The novelty factor of the side-to-side action keeps it interesting too.

Broadly, try 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps on each leg holding for 1-2 seconds at the top. Alternatively, longer duration holds also work well. Start with 10-second heavy-ish holds and go from there.

Gareth Sapstead is a leading strength and physique coach from the UK. He specializes in problem solving and breakthrough training techniques.

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