Exercises You Should Be Doing: Supine Pallof (Belly) Press

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I can hear the cacophony of groans now.  Agaaaaaaaaaain?  What the what Tony……another Pallof Press variation?

Yeah, sorry.  But this one is really cool.

And in case anyone reading right now is new to the site (welcome!) and has no idea what a Pallof Press even is – THIS should help get you squared away.

Oh, and on a completely random and un-related note I wanted to offhandedly share an article that I “stole” from Neghar Fonooni’s Facebook page titled UGGs and Their UGGly.  You can check it out HERE (it’s a short read), and if you’re like me you’re going to be really shocked and appalled by it.  Sorry to play the Debbie Downer card on a Monday morning, but I felt it was something should deserved to be shared.

Okay, lets get down to business.

Supine Pallof (Belly) Press

And yes, that’s me rocking a lumberjack beard like a boss.

Who Did I Steal it From:  I got this badboy from Providence based strength-coach Sean St. Onge who was at Cressey Performance this past weekend for what turned out to be a half coaching session/half shooting the shit type of scenario.

He stopped by to get some coaching and what ended up happening was the two of us exchanging a bunch of ideas, insights, and Predator handshakes.

What Does It Do: Supine is Latin for “doing cool shit on your back” and Pallof is the name of the Boston-based physical therapist – John Pallof – from which the exercise has been attributed to.

Since I’ve done it numerous times before I’m not going to sit here and beat a dead horse and regurgitate all the benefits of a Pallof Press. Besides you can click on the link above!  Suffice it to say, though, the Pallof Press (and all it’s variations) is a fantastic way to train the entire core in an anti-rotation/rotary fashion.

In this sense because you’re utilizing a cable pulley system (or band) and setting yourself up away from the anchor, this is the epitome of core stabilization and you’re forcing the internal/external obliques, as well as the rectus abdominus to fire on all cylinders. Too, I find this is one of my “go to” core exercises that’s fairly user friendly and doesn’t require any special equipment.

What’s great about this particular variation, and something that Sean nailed home, is that because you’re on your back this drill will cement the “ribs down” cue that’s been all the rage as of late – and rightfully so!  As Sean noted, “keeping your ribs down when performing this exercise – as well as others like plank variations, floor chest presses, and pullovers – simply increases the likelihood of keeping your lumbar spine loaded (glued) into the floor and less likely to hyperextend.

In addition, with this variation the glutes come into play to a high(er) degree in that they too have to fire like no one’s business in order to help keep the spine glued to the floor, as well as encourage a bit more posterior pelvic tilt.

Key Coaching Cues:  To a degree this one is self-explanatory, but some attention has to be paid to the details. You’re going to grab the handle of the pulley (or band) and lie on your back – heels to butt – and then try ti ensure that you brace your abs, squeeze your glutes, and attempt to cue yourself to keep the rib cage down.

I’ve used this visual in the past to better explain things, and it seems to work:  envision an imaginary line from your nipple line to your belly button.  Don’t let that line get longer.  There you go.  You’re a rock star.

From there you’ll went to tuck your chin and take a deep breath in through your nose trying to elicit more of a 360 degree expansion into your belly as well as the the rib cage (both should rise, and that imaginary line is still in tact) – albeit still keeping your lumbar spine pinned to the floor.

Then you’ll simply “press” the handle or band straight up away from your body, while exhaling your air…..all the while RESISTING the pull of the weight or tension, as well as maintaining spinal position against the floor and keeping the glutes engaged.

If this is easy, an obvious way to make it more challenging would be to move further away from the anchor.

I like to keep the reps in the 6-10 rep/side range, shooting for 3-4 total sets.

Give them a try today and let me know what you think!


Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

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  • paul

    thanks for the share coach. i will use this one today. i was “learned” of the importance of anti rotation exercises when one of the baseball players i work with strained an abdominal and/or oblique muscle(s) during a hitting lesson last fall. he has gotten so powerful. but when he got hurt i went back to the drawing board. no surprise, i got the idea from EC.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Glad you liked it Paul. Let me know what you think.

  • Christian

    Sweet. Cheers

  • Eugene S

    Why can I not see any of your videos on my iPad? There’s just an empty blank rectangle.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Hmmm, I’m not the most technology savvy person in the room…..so I have no idea. Shit!

      Anyone else have any idea? Is it on my end? Or maybe the browser used on the iPad?

  • Chris

    What do you think of this variation?


  • Donovan Gary Alan

    Dat bass drop was nasty!! Oh, and cool exercise too by the way.

  • rich t

    …”what ended up happening was the two of us exchanging a bunch of ideas, insights, and Predator handshakes.”

    Hahahaha… almost did a spit-take on that one…

  • Shane Mclean

    Very nice. Reckon it’s a great exercise for beginners too. I like the Pallof Press for people who Side Planks too difficult due to various reasons.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Absolutely. BUT….it’s a bit more challenging than meets the eye.

  • Heather Pray

    I have a general pallof press question. I don’t have a cable stack that can be adjusted to chest/waist height at my gym – just high and low. Do you recommend kneeling and doing them that way, using the low cable end?

    • TonyGentilcore

      That should work just fine Heather.

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