You know how there are some things in life that are just awesome in all of their variations? The first one that comes to mind is the Pallof Press, but other examples include scrambled eggs, Tiger’s on-course meltdowns, Zildjian Cymbals, and Harrison Ford roles. You can’t argue with this:
Dr. Jones is basically performing a throw-to-row with rotation, but that’s not what we’re talking about today. (Please don’t actually try that, I don’t want to be held responsible for rope-burned wrists.) Instead, let’s talk about this Pallof Press variation.
When it comes to core-stability training, the anti-rotation press is one of the best bang-for-your-buck variations out there. You address hip, spinal, and shoulder stability, and the exercise can be heavily modified to provide the desired results. If you’d like to see a nice run down of examples, check out Tony Gentilcore’s post, Everything Pallof Press.
Now, take a look at the variation I want to share with you today, done in an open half-kneeling position:
Before we get into open half-kneeling specifics, the rules for all anti-rotation exercises apply here:
- Get tall.
- Fire the glutes.
- Brace the core.
I’m a fan of half-kneeling exercises, not only for the added stability demands at the hip, but because they can also help reinforce stability at end range of motion. In this particular example, I was doing some technique work for my sumo deadlift, and wanted to reinforce that concept of keeping the knees during the lift. What better way than to exploit my external rotators during a core stability exercise!
After setting the cable station at belly height (for your kneeling position), you want to set up in half-kneeling, then open the hips up and kick that leg all the way out to the side. You want to make sure your hips stay neutral, and that you’re not tilting over to one side. When your hips are square and you’re focused on getting tall, fire the down leg’s glute and pull the knee on the up leg out and behind you. You should be able to maintain those isometric contractions on both sides for the duration of the set.
I expected the ‘up’ sides glutes to get hammered pretty hard, but as it turns out, the ‘down’ side’s glutes get beat up as well. If you struggle with weak external rotation, which most people do, this is a nice variation that you can use to remind your glutes that they’re hip extensors, abductors, and external rotators. Give it a try and let me know what you think; I’m sure you’ll like it. After all, Indy does: