The Pallof Press and the concept behind the exercise is a topic I want to dig through. With this exercise, the trunk is forced to fight rotation. We are training the muscles to stabilize us, which is exactly what their assigned physiological task is. When talking about the trunk versus the core, I label the trunk as the midsection where we think of training our abs. The core is technically anything that manipulates the pelvis, which would apply to just about everything from our knees to elbows. So there is a bit of overlap between the two, but the trunk serves as a more specific term covering the area of our abs.
Training the trunk (or core as well in this case) is often associated with sit-ups and crunches. However, those exercises are actually producing movement, which is not how to train the trunk to serve the body best. So there you go, having a strong core does not mean thousands of crunches a day and a ripped six-pack. Feeling a little relieved? Good. The trunk’s job is to be an anti-mover because it needs to protect the spine. Since the spine does not like a lot of movement down there, our trunk resists against any movement at the spine. Exercises like the Pallof Press train the muscles at our trunk with anti-rotation, serving its very purpose. The trunk is more than just a protector though. Being the center of our body, it keeps everything together and allows for the rest of our body to function with proper mobility. So thanks to a super stable midsection, our upper and lower bodies won’t be flailing away on us. Now, let’s move on to our “How To”.
The basic position is done kneeling perpendicular to a cable, which is at a lower chest height. Keep a nice and tall alignment. The ribcage should be well positioned, not caved in our extended out. We will bring the cable handle to our chest and grasp palms together at the handle with elbows out. Extend both arms straight out together. Inhale and exhale. Bring back into the chest. Our trunk will be fighting the cable from pulling us over. Focus on resisting all movement at the trunk and keeping straight lines up through the spine and out through the arms. It is also easy to try and take on some of the movement in the shoulders by hiking them up. Done kneeling, this exercise is appropriate for a majority of the population. From there, we can progress into positions that decrease the points of stabilization in our lower body so that our trunk is forced to take on more. Half kneeling is done with the inside leg on the knee and the outside leg out in front, bent at 90 degrees. Once this is mastered, we can move to a standing position where our legs are slightly wider than shoulder width and knees are slightly bent. Kneeling is a starting point for everyone and will serve most people well. Those who need a little more of a challenge and are progressively solidifying their trunk will find the half kneeling and standing positions more beneficial.