Mixed Tape Monday: how to get a six pack n'at

That's a total lie. The only way I know for sure to get a six pack is at the Country Garden Six Pack for those of you in PA. And the grocery store for the rest of the country. 

What I really want to talk about is core exercises, and in particular, an anti-rotation exercise that just about everyone can benefit from, no matter if you are training as for a specific sport, fat loss, or strength. I've been incorporating the Pallof Press into my own workouts on and off for the past five years. 

In the fitness industry and beyond, most folks have come to understand that the best core exercises are those that train the core for what it's actually designed for, as opposed to an endless stream of sit-ups and crunches. While those types of exercises do work your core, they only get you better at pulling your ribs towards thighs. (Flexion). And if you think about the way a majority of us spend our days, we are already in flexion often, sitting at our desks or behind the wheel of a car. We don't need to get better at pulling our ribs towards our thighs. 

What we need, is to protect our spine.

Our core muscles are a criss-crossed web of muscles (so scientific of me, I know); as seen in the photo below. The purpose of the core is not related to showing off a six pack of abs at the beach, despite popular belief. (In fact, just to be clear, a six pack just means low body fat. It is not necessarily an indication of a strong core.) The core muscles stabilize our spine to keep it in a healthy, neutral position. The core stabilizes and protects the spine by creating stiffness that limits excessive movement in any direction - such as extension, flexion, and in the case of the Pallof Press, rotation. 

When those muscles are weak, we are more susceptible to chronic low back pain and potential hip injuries as well. 

 Image from Dr. Allison Chen.com.

Image from Dr. Allison Chen.com.

 

Who I stole it from: As mentioned earlier, the Pallof Press was included in my first set of programming from coach Tony Gentilcore, and I saw a number of variations of it during my time at Cressey Sports Performance this summer. The video below discusses the standard version. If you want to make this version more challenging, move your feet closer together. 

 

I learned this exercise while training with Tony Gentilcore and saw it used extensively, in many variations, at Cressey Sports Performance. It is named for John Pallof, the physical therapist who introduced it to the good folks at CSP. Also, I hope you can hear my voice over the music blaring in my local gym. 

But Kim, you said n'at. You said there would be more. 

You're right, I did. I came across a fantastic article from the women over at Girls Gone Strong a few weeks ago, where Molly Galbraith writes in great depth about any concerns women may have about bulking up as a result of lifting weights.

You can check it out here, and I can't say enough about what a great article it is, and what a great site Molly and those women run over there. Check it out. 

Also, and again because I feel that all Mixed Tape Monday's should have three items, the Pirates are currently 3.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central. And it's almost football season.