Professional Baseball Strength & Conditioning


Partner Pallof Press for Core Stabilization

 By Gene Coleman, Ed. D., RSCC*E and Jose Vazquez, PT, RSCC

Regardless of whether you are practicing, playing or working in the weight room, a strong core is needed to provide a stable base from which the arms and legs can move and ensure that the forces initiated in the lower body can be transferred up the kinetic chain to the bat, ball, barbell, dumbbell, MD ball, etc.  For effective performance on the field and in the weight room, athletes must be able to resist both flexion and rotation. Planks, stability ball roll outs and roll ups and abdominal wheel exercises are simple and effective anti-flexion exercises that require no equipment, and Pallof presses are effective anti-rotation exercises that require minimal equipment. Traditionally, Pallof presses are performed in the weight room using cross-cable apparatus or resistance bands/tubing anchored to a stable base. But what if you want to do them on the field during warm-ups or between drills? The answer is partner Pallof presses using resistance bands.

How to perform partner Pallof presses:

  • Two athletes stand side-by-side and approximately 3-4 feet apart and facing the same direction

  • Athletes hold opposite ends of a resistance band in both hands at shoulder-height with hands against the chest

  • Both athletes assume an athletic position with feet shoulder width apart, head up, chest out, core tight and shoulders back, and then gradually move away from each other until the resistance band is taught

  • Went the tension in the band is appropriate, both athletes fully extend their arms and isometrically hold this position for a 10-sec count

  • After 10-seconds, both athletes bring their hands back against the chest (return to the starting position) to reduce tension in the band

  • This is one rep; the athletes perform the 3-5 reps, switch sides repeat the sequence

To increase the intensity of the exercise and demands for balance and stability

  • Change the width of the base

    • Athletes stand in a lunge position with the inside knee up and the outside knee down, but not touching the ground and repeat the sequence

  • Introduce perturbations

    • One athlete performs a series of 3-4 inch pulls on the tubing and the other resists the pulls

Coaching Points:

  1. The closer you keep your feet together, the less stable the base and the greater the core activation

  2. The wider the base, the more pressure on the legs and the less pressure on the core

  3. If you’re having a hard time keeping your hips and pelvis from moving, your feet are too close together and/or you are using too much resistance

  4. Keep your head up, chest out, shoulders back, core tight and hips under your shoulders

  5. For variety, perform the exercise from a tall kneeling, half-kneeling or split-stance position


Gene Coleman has over 4 decades in strength and conditioning at the MLB level (Astros 1978-2012) and Rangers (2013-2020). He is also Professor Emeritus in the Exercise and Health Sciences Program at the University of Houston – Clear Lake and Website Education Manager Jose Vazquez, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Texas Rangers has over 20 years of experience in MLB (Mets 2001-2005 and Rangers 2006-2022).

For more PBSCC articles on the Pallof press and core training …

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