By Scott Mahon
Most of us are weakest in the sagittal plane (twisting and moving laterally). Think about if you are in the kitchen, and need to grab something heavy off of the counter next to you. We instinctively will turn to face the object before grabbing it. This is your body trying to conserve energy by staying out of the sagittal plane. Because of this basic instinct most people are significantly weaker in their transverse abdominals and obliques than the rest of their core. Since the core needs to work in congruence with all of the surrounding muscles we are only as strong as the weakest link. Making this exercise one of great importance, because it will directly target these muscles.
One of the biggest benefits of the Paloff Hold is that it is training these muscle while keeping the body in a static position. This makes it the safest way to train these muscles, because the vertebrae of the spine are stacked in a solid state, rather than having to deal with the twisting that other exercises can cause. This is extremely important for people with lower back issues such as slipped/herniated discs, sciatica, or osteopenic/osteoporotic spines . Working on these muscles in this safe manner will lead to a stronger core, which in result will lead to a healthier body.
To set up for the Paloff Hold adjust the cable so that it is level with the center of your chest. Stand perpendicular to the cable tower, bending your knees slightly. Engage your core, and legs pull the cable into the center of your chest with both hands. When you’re ready push straight out from your chest leaving a slight bend in your elbows. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then switch sides. It is imperative that while doing this exercise that the hands remain in line with the center of the chest. Most people will instinctively twist away from the cable tower to engage their chest and shoulders, taking the strain off of the core. For this reason it is important to start with a light weight and only progress up if you are able to diligently keep the hands centered.
Taking this exercise to the next level is the Kneeling Paloff Hold. As the name suggests we will be down on one knee for this variation. It is important to kneel on the leg closest to the cable tower with the other foot planted firmly in front of the body. The rest of the exercise remains the same, center the hands to the chest push out and hold. You’ll find that this is much harder, because you can’t recruit your legs to brace the imbalance. A major benefit of this variation is that you’ll get much more hip abductor(outer hip) engagement. Which is an important part of the core that helps with lateral stability.
Scott is holding demo sessions for those that want to learn more about core exercises on the following days:
Monday Oct. 1st 7:30pm
Wednesday Oct. 3rd 5pm
Thursday Oct. 4th 5pm
Friday Oct. 5th 10:30am
To regiester email Scott at ScottM@waverleyoaks.com