Monday, January 10, 2011

Know Your ABC's: Pallof Press Progression

The other day I was coaching an athlete that Chris (the other strength coach at SAPT) had programmed for.  As I looked down the program to give the guy instructions on his next exercise pairing, I saw a core exercise that made me say "Huh...Why didn't I think of that?!"  Chris, as usual, had come up with something very creative. 

It's an Anti-Rotation Press (or, Pallof Press), but - while holding the band away from your chest - you "trace" the alphabet in capital letters.  This takes the standard Anti-Rotation Press (one of my favorite exercises for improving stabilization of the spine), and progresses it a bit further by implementing yet another function of our abdominals: stabilization of the spine while the extremities (be it the hands or feet) are moving and producing or receiving force (similar to the bracing drill with the partner+rope I showed a few weeks ago).  

This is pretty much the same idea as the "Stir the Pot" exercise, where you hold yourself in a plank position but move your arms in a circle:

I would begin by only tracing part of the alphabet (ex. "A-J"), and then switch sides and repeat.  You can progress this further by tracing more letters, moving the feet closer together, or performing it from the "Tall Kneeling" position (shown in the video).  If using a resistance band (as I am in the video), you could make it more difficult by moving your arms slowwwly, as the band constantly wants to "pull" your arms close to the anchor point.

I have yet to try this using a cable column, so I can't proclaim if this exercise works equally well on a cable apparatus.  I can say that the resistance band is a great choice for this exercise, as the band provides variable resistance as you trace the letters (depending on how close/far away your hands move from the anchor point)



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