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Pallof Press Variations Done With a Dumbell and Ankle Harness to Put DOUBLE the Tension on Your Core in ONE Exercise...

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Before I get to the "ankle harness" version, if you're not familiar with the Pallof Press, you'll need to know how it's done (along with my dumbell-added variation). Only then will you be able to appreciate how adding an ankle harness makes the exercise that much better!

The Palloff Press is an excellent core training method done using a cable machine. You're using this movement as an "anti-rotation" type movement in that you're not actually rotating the torso but contracting the core muscles to prevent rotation due to resistance.

Essentially, you're standing perpendicular to the pulley, using a single cable handle (start with a light weight), with the handle in close to your body as in the picture below here.

Then just extend your arms in front of you.

As you move your hands away from your body, this increases the torque on the core, which really fires up your deep, rotational core muscles like the obliques and the transversus. This is what anti-rotation is all about - you're essentially preventing rotation by contracting the core muscles.

Then you switch around and do the other direction (not shown).

Perform sets of around 6 to 8 reps of this, depending on the weight you're using.

The second variation is exactly the same as the first only with the addition of a dumbell...you'll hold it in your hands as you're doing the exercise so you're not only hitting the anti-rotation, but also anti-flexion (aka core support) function of the abs.

It's hard to see in the first picture, but I've got a dumbell held in my hands.

Now you can see it held out away from the body. This is essentially doubling the leverage torque on your body. I'm using a 25 lb dumbell here, just fyi.

Then switch to the other side.

Adding the Ankle Harness

The next version I'm going to show you here also uses the extra dumbell resistance (you'll be holding it up in addition to fighting the rotation) but adds in an ankle harness, so you don't have to hold the single handle in your hand, which makes the exercise more awkward.

By sliding your forearm through an ankle harness and allowing THAT to pull your torso rotationally, you take that need to grip the handle out of the equation and you can grip with BOTH hands on the dumbell. This allows you to use a heavier dumbell and get more out of the exercise (I'm using a 40 lb dumbell for this one).

Start by attaching an ankle harness onto the pulley - ideally, you want to use an adjustable pulley and set it to about midsection height. Use the biggest notch on the ankle harness to make it easier to get your hand through.

Once your hand is through and the harness is on your forearm, you're ready to start.

Pick up your dumbell and take a step directly out to the side. You can set your feet in a staggered position or directly in line with each other, just fyi.

Start with the dumbell held in towards your abdomen.

Now, keeping your core TIGHT, extend your arms, moving the dumbell and cable away from your body. THIS is the money part of the exercise. The cable is pulling you to the right and you have to resist that rotation AND the dumbell is trying to pull your arms down, which you ALSO have to fight.

This double resistance places a tremendous demand on the entire core musculature.

Perform all your reps (4 to 6 is good) on one side them set the dumbell down and switch to the other side (not shown).

If you've never done the Pallof Press, try it without the dumbell first THEN start with a light dumbell. This is a nice variation of the exercise that's going to really light up your midsection!

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