There are so many ways to train the 'core' you could spend all day working those abs to destruction, but who has time?
We already know how important a strong core is to power and injury prevention. The trouble is that with limited time available to spend in the gym, we need exercises that do exactly the right thing. No time wasted.
That's why the Pallof press is such a good tool.
Why should I care about the Pallof press?
This is one exercise that cuts through the rubbish and gets to the core of your core. The problem with traditional ab style exercises like crunches or sit-ups is they work your muscles in a different way to the way they work on the pitch.
When you bat, bowl or throw your core is working hard to stabilise your spine and resist the rotational force you are putting on it. In other words, if you didn't have core muscles the force of playing cricket would snap your spine. So you could say a strong core would be handy for avoiding the ouchies.
The Pallof press does exactly the same thing: Forces you to resist rotation by using the muscles in your midsection.
- Healthier backs (sound interesting to the fast bowlers?)
- The ability to generate more power and speed into bat or ball by transferring weight efficiently.
- Abs all the ladies will love.
How to do the beginners Pallof press
It's a very simple movement that has a number of progressions to keep you interested for as long as you want.
Most beginners will need nothing more than a resistance band (I recommend the versatile Dura-Band Cricket). You can do the exercise anywhere with a band (before cricket training, during a gym session or at home).
- Attach the band at chest height from a kneeling position
- Kneel down facing sideways to the band (as shown in the video)
- Brace your abs as if someone is about to hit you in the stomach
- Press the band away from your chest and hold it out in front of you for 10 seconds.
- Do this for 3 sets of 3 reps and repeat for the other side.
- Don't let the band pull you, resist the twisting
- If you can do 3x3 easily, increase the strength of the resistance band or progress onto a cable machine.
The reason you start from a kneeling position is to teach you to use your core to stabilise against resistance rather than your legs. If you do it from a standing position you may compensate.
How to progress the Pallof press
Once you are comfortable with the movement from a tall kneeling position, (and even the most advance trainees are best starting from kneeling as you need to get the feel for it), you can progress in two ways:
- Move to a standing position. This makes the exercise feel easier but the challenge is to keep only using your core to stabilise against the weight.
- Use a cable machine/functional trainer. These machines are found in most modern gyms. The have adjustable cables and a weight stack so you can increase the weight.
You can see both these progressions in this video from Tony Gentilecore:
The take home point? If you only do one 'core' exercise, do this one. It's highly specific, easy to do and will lead to fast results.