How to Do a Pallof Press: A Hinge Health Guide

Learn how to do a pallof press to improve core, back and shoulder strength, plus modifications to make this exercise easier or harder.

Published Date: Mar 19, 2024
Table of Contents

While there are many ways to work your core, from planks to crunches, there are some lesser-known moves that can provide deep core stability and strength and they don’t even require you to get on your back. The pallof press is one such move. It’s a great core and upper body exercise that may be ideal for those who have trouble getting down to or up from the floor.

While it can be done at the gym, the pallof press can also be performed at home using a door and a resistance band.

Read on to learn more about the pallof press and how to do it, plus ways to make it easier or harder. 

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Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT
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Dr. Peterson is a Hinge Health physical therapist who focuses on developing clinical exercise therapy programs and member education.

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What Is a Pallof Press?

The pallof press is a core exercise that trains your muscles in a different way from traditional planks and sit-ups. By standing and using a door and resistance band for tension, you’ll use your hands to press the band away from your body without letting the tension of the band pull you toward the door. This is what makes the pallof press a powerful anti-rotation challenge for your core, helping your entire upper body stay steadier throughout daily life.

What Muscles Does a Pallof Press Work? 

While the pallof press is primarily a core stabilization exercise, it also works your shoulders back, and butt muscles, including:

  • Core muscles: The core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques, and lower back muscles, are engaged to stabilize your torso during a pallof press. These muscles are important for stability and balance during everyday activities.

  • Rotator cuff muscles: These are a group of four small muscles in the shoulder that help stabilize the shoulder joint during pressing movements.

  • Middle and lower trapezius and rhomboids, which are located in the upper back, play a role in stabilizing the scapula and the upper back. 

  • Glutes. The gluteal (“butt”) muscles, including the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus, are engaged during the palloff press to help you resist rotation as you move your arms. Strong glutes help keep everything in your lower body in good order, including your knees, hips, and low back

Benefits of Pallof Press

The pallof press helps improve core, back, and shoulder strength. By training your core in a different way, the pallof press has the additional benefit of targeting shoulder, back, and glute muscles that provide stability. Your entire upper body will benefit from the pallof press because a strong trunk can make most everyday activities easier. 

Pallof Press: Exercises and Modifications 

The information contained in these videos is intended to be used for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or treatment for any specific condition. Hinge Health is not your healthcare provider and is not responsible for any injury sustained or exacerbated by your use of or participation in these exercises. Please consult with your healthcare provider with any questions you may have about your medical condition or treatment.

Pallof Press

Pallof Press

Pallof Press

Pallof Press

To do a pallof press:

  • Start by securing a resistance band by opening a door, wrapping the band around the handle on the other side, then closing the door. For safety, stand inside the closed door so it opens *away* from you. This will ensure the band does not accidentally pull the door open.

  • With the ends of the band in each hand, turn so the door is at your side and take a few side steps away. Hold the band in front of your belly.

  • Now straighten your arms out in front of you by moving your hands directly away from your belly without letting the band pull your hands towards the door. Make sure to engage the abdominal muscles to keep your torso steady.

  • Then move your hands back to your belly.

  • As you do each rep, you might feel your core, shoulder, and back muscles working.

Everyone is different, which is why you may need to modify this exercise to meet your needs. 

Pallof Press Modifications

Pallof Press Modifications

Pallof Press Modifications

Pallof Press Modifications

To make a pallof press easier:  

  • After getting into the starting position, limit how far you straighten your arms away from your belly.

To make a pallof press harder: 

  • Start by taking a few extra steps away from the door to increase the tension on the band.

  • Then straighten your arms.

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program. 

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you.  

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. 

See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.

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  1. Nimblett, I. (2022, March 13). How to Do the Pallof Press. National Federation of Professional Trainers.

  2. Mullane, M., Turner, A. N., & Bishop, C. (2020). The Pallof Press. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 43(2), 121–128. doi:10.1519/ssc.0000000000000596