Upgrading Pallof Presses and Cable Rotations

Before we get into today’s topic, I wanted to remind you that I’ll be teaching my One-Day Strength Training for Fat Loss & Conditioning: Practical Program Design course in Boston, MA this Sunday, May 12th, 2019

Screen Shot 2019 01 18 at 8.02.04 PM

Also, we just launched Practical Program Design Mastery, my new monthly programming resource that will:

  • Show you how to build programs that get your clients results while also giving them the variety that they crave
  • Teach you how to cater workouts to your clients’ personalities, preferences, and training environment
  • Give you multiple frameworks to deliver training sessions that never get boring
  • Enable you to become the best trainer in your area at working with everyday Joes and Janes

To celebrate the launch of PPDM, you can sign up here for only $19/month before the end of May.

Screen Shot 2019 05 03 at 6.24.30 PM

Rethinking the Anti-Rotation (Pallof) Press

Anti-Rotation (Pallof) presses are simply an isometric exercise that requires your torso musculature to work to prevent your torso from twisting. They’re a fine exercise to do, especially if you’re a beginner in your first few weeks of training, or if you ‘re an advanced exerciser who simply enjoys doing them.  However, overall I place a much higher priority on using Single-Arm Cable (or Band) Presses than I do on using Anti-rotation (Pallof) presses.

As I said in my recent T-nation article on Fitness Got Wrong: 7 Butchered Exercises and Training Concepts, “The one-arm cable press places just as much, if not more, of an anti-rotation demand on your hips and torso musculature. For one thing, you can use heavier loads due to the split-stance position. And it gets more done than the Pallof press because it also involves the upper-body pushing musculature, plus the calves and hamstrings of the back leg, which prevent you from being pulled backward. It’s also not as boring to perform as the Pallof press.

So, the one-arm cable press will get you all of the anti-rotation training benefits of the Pallof press and then some. And since it’s not only a more interesting exercise, it’s also just as easy to learn and coach.”

Rethinking the Cable Rotations (Cable Chops)

Isometric anti-rotation torso training exercises are only half of the complete core-strengthening puzzle because the torso musculature doesn’t just transfer force and reduce force by limiting movement (through isometric action), it also helps to produce force by creating motion – dynamic movement.

From MMA to tennis, you can’t deny the obvious active movement role of the trunk in power production (force summation) during sporting events. So based on what the principle of specificity dictates (and barring any injury), it makes the most sense to train both anti-spinal movements and active spinal in order to maximize your strength and performance. This is where cable or band rotations (both horizontal and diagonal) are a go-to rotational exercise in my training programs.

In my book, Your Workout PERFECTED, I highlighted how this variation I use on Cable (or Band) rotations has four adjustments from the manner they’re commonly performed:


“A wider stance, a weight shift as you rotate, reduced rotational range of motion, and the rotation involves both the hip and shoulders instead of just
the shoulders. The wider stance gives you a larger base of support, which allows you to move heavier loads and provide a greater strength challenge to your torso muscles to perform the exercise. Keeping your torso nearly perpendicular to the cable maintains high levels of rotational tension on your torso muscles, helping you make better use of your time. And moving the hips in the same direction and at the same speed as your shoulders is similar to how we produce high levels of power and strength in athletics.”

2-Point Cable Rotations

Put simply, the cable (or band) rotations shown above do a great job of loading torso rotation in the mid-range when your arms are in front of your torso, but this exercise doesn’t create much load at the aspects of rotation when your arms are turning the corner on the side of your torso. That’s where these 2-Point cable (or band) rotations come in.

I use all three cable/band rotation exercise variations because it’s a more comprehensive approach to rotational training given that each position makes up for an aspect of torso rotation missed by the other two stances. That’s how you build what I call “Full Range Strength.”

Lastly, the bands I’m using in these videos, which are my favorite types of bands with handles on the market, are called JC Predator Bands. The below is not an affiliate link, but you can use my discount code “NTIHP15” if you’d like to get some of these awesome bands for yourself from the good folks at IHP.


Nick’s Upcoming Live Events

In Boston, MA on May 12, 2019 teaching a Strength Training for Fat Loss & Conditioning: Practical Program Design Course.

In Lexington, SC on May 17-19, 2019 attending the Sorinex Summer Strong 12 Expo.

In Toronto, Ontario on June 1-2, 2019 teaching at the Strong Summit.

In Mexico City, Mexico on June 28-30, 2019 teaching at the One Fitness Weekendcongress.

In Portland, OR on August 16-17, 2019 teaching at the NSCA Northwest Regional Conference

In Pomona, CA on August 24, 2019 teaching at the NSCA Southern California State Clinic.

In Bangkok, Thailand on October 10-14, 2019 teaching at the Asia Fit Conference.

Learn How To Program Like A Pro

Using My Must-Have Programming Charts

Learn how I how I quickly and easily create programs that get results and keep clients coming back for more by downloading my 2 must-have programming charts and watching the included video lesson.

With these two charts, you’ll be able to combine the most important functional movements with isolation exercises for the perfect balance of strength, hypertrophy and performance.

In this video lesson you’ll discover:

And much more!

If your goal is to write better programs for your clients and save time while doing so, then you’ll want to sign up for this free lesson!