At some point in every guy's lifting life, he goes through the phase of doing 100 crunches every day, more or less, until he either a) gives up, or b) destroys his thoracic spine.
But we're here to tell you that there are far better ways to get the six-pack you've always dreamed of. One of them is the ultra-tough Pallof press.
What is a Pallof press?
Named after the physical therapist who popularized it, and also known as “the cable core press,” this challenging abs move is definitely not for rehab only.
To do it, hold the cable handle (or band, if you don't have a cable machine) in both hands at mid-chest height, right around your solar plexus. Turn sideways, so the tension is coming across your body, and step laterally so you increase the tension on the cable/band. Inhale, then exhale as you fully straighten your arms in front of you. Hold there for at least two seconds—the longer you hold, the tougher it is—and inhale as you bend your elbow to bring your hands back in. Repeat.
What’s so great about the Pallof Press?
Creating a lopsided load on your core muscles forces your obliques to work extra hard to keep your torso upright and your shoulders square. Furthermore, loading your core muscles so they have to resist bending or flexing strengthens them in a very functional way, since those muscles are largely responsible for your posture.
How can you use it?
Amp up your core strength circuit with cable crunches, wood choppers, and Pallof presses to hit your abs from every angle. Do 4 sets of 15 reps each with moderate weight, then finish it all off with 30 seconds to a minute of planks (front and each side).