pallof press

The best core exercise you've never heard of

Everyone wants strong, appealing abs. Unfortunately, most fitness programs, trainers and fitness enthusiasts think never-ending crunches, sit-ups and side-bends are the answer.

There is much more to having "abs" than what you can see with the, um, naked eye. True core strength involves the ability to stabilize the pillar of the body while under load and tension and with dynamic movement at the extremities. Most workout programs go for sizzle over substance. The truth is, the most essential and effective core exercises won't get a lot of views on Instagram.

Real training is hard work, but it's also smart work. This is why you should be incorporating the Pallof Press into your core training. The key is co-contraction of the muscles that stabilize the hips and shoulders. The function of the core is not just to make you look good in a bathing suit; it's to protect the spine, stabilize the joints and help your body express more strength and power. 

Here's a post explaining the benefits of the Pallof Press, perhaps the most underrated and underutilized core exercise known to man.

Here's another one describing how to perform an even more effective version of this movement: The Banded Pallof-Overhead Press Combo. This catch-all core exercise has a little bit of everything. It enhances the anti-rotation and side-bending functions of the core pillar, plus shoulder stability and hip function from the foundational half-kneeling position.

If core strength is what you're after -- and, if you're exercising in any way, it should be -- then try these overlooked, underrated movements and let us know what you think in the comments. Your abs will thank you.