Pallof Press (Single Arm) Dead Bug

Dead or dying insects assume very familiar poses: lying on their back, legs sticking up in the air; however, it is not in one (or the same) sequence. This telltale position is actually a symptom of an ailing bug’s decreased coordination and failing nervous system; many would say it is a lack of blood flow along with other factors. Either way the bug is about to die. Consequently, if a bug is knocked onto its back, it can use its sides until it brings itself into proper position.

That is where we come in with the Deadbug exercise, which is NOT A COOL exercise but one of the most beneficial if implemented properly, along with regressed-progressed properly. It is somewhat doubleminded to say that we perform the deadbug progression to help with stabilizing the spine, enhancing the core and addressing motor control issues; ultimately outlining various imbalances. However, when bugs die, they are trying to gain but slowly lose their motor control issues that we are trying to address.

Nevertheless, in taking a closer look at the kinetic chain and various exercises that correlate within biomechanical principles we need to work positive posterior pelvic tilt mechanics to make instrumental impacts throughout the core musculature to make sure everything is firing correclty in relation to one’s sport.

We’ve had so many great progressions done in the past, but things change and they are always evolving’ therefore, we must have a “fresh” perspective on core training and the various progressions to address unique functions of the core and manipulate training principles according to one’s sport. The goal in many core-training programs/progressions is to fundamentally resist motion by stiffening the core and using your limbs to create motion with a neutral spine. However, sometimes in real life situations and/or on the playing field we canot just think about creating a nuetral spine. Therefore, we need to practice additional methods that might come into play during competition.

When using your limbs with Deadbug progressions, the limbs do not have to work extended and/or flexed in the same motion each time. Like when a bug does, the limbs go in various directions.


The uniqueness that can be presented regarding the core has been untapped where, we in the field wait for the “experts” to develop a progression for us to follow. However, these progressions are built on a scientific foundation to link with the anatomy of the core. According to Dr. Stuart McGill in some sports such as cricket, bowlers, and gymnast, those athletes suffer high rates of spine, joint change and pain. Therefore, how can we change the dynamics of core training but provide the same benefit that will assist our athletes in their sport?

More importantly, according to Dr. Stuart McGill to progress in effectively in exercise/program design we must:

(1) Implement corrective and therapeutic exercises.

(2) Grove the appropriate and perfect motions and motor pillars.

(3) Build whole body and joint stability (mobility throughout the joints, hips, and maintain stability through the lumbar/core region.

(4) Increase strength, endurance and build strength.

Once regressed/progressed effectively we can then incorporate various/different dynamics into our training programs that will ultimately influence the sport.

I can go into the eight essential components of stiffness according to Dr. McGill; however, you can read it for yourself: à

By now, you should know the correct way to perform the normal Deadbug progression. If you do not, please check out Tony Gentilcore’s article: on what and what not to do concerning the Deadbug exercise.

More importantly, you should know how to perform the Pallof Press and Pallof Press Cable Tight Rotation 2.0. If not, it is no need for me to reiterate it here when you can just read it (Tony Gentilcore and Nick Tumminello do a great job here: and

Moving forward in my last two articles, I extolled the creation of the Pallof Press and Pallof Press 2.0 Cable Tight Rotation DeadBug variations:

In outlining my latest progression of the Pallof Press (Single Arm) DeadBug variation, the goal was to progress effectively but add some difficulty to a routine progression. By working the Deadbug progressions and adding some difficulty to the progression, the goal was to address the pelvic tilt, along with other factors while sitting at work, in conjunction with strengthening the core musculature. As you can see from the diagram, the Deadbug exercise is the same setup as when sitting and it is easy for your pelvis to tilt while sitting.


Therefore, the Deadbug in general can help decrease the spine loads and disc pressures through various fluidity of movements, loosen up tight hamstrings and hip flexors. The exercise can also decrease and correct the anterior and pelvic tilt when performed with a neutral spine can assisting in the control of lumbar lordosis commonly seen in fitness professionals, their clients and the world in general.

The preceding Pallof pressing variations along with the Pallof Press (Single Arm) Deadbug progression can aid to correct the flexed position we normally find ourselves in on a daily basis.

This single arm variation works the same as the regular Pallof Press because depending on the level of tension, your body will want to rotate and flex with the opposite leg movement, correlating with the pull. With this progression, its requires isometric core contractions with concentric and eccentric limb movements where the directional force vectors vary. However, this progression works more of the shoulder in conjunction with the hip complex to target static and dynamic stability, which is not challenged when sitting but challenged in the daily competition of life and sports.

There is more that can be said about this progression, the benefits, etc. But your goal should be to jsut try it and give me some FEEDBACK.


Core Training: Evidence Translating to Better Performance and Injury Prevention: Stuart McGill, PhD Spine Biomechanics, Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada


Nick Tumminello: Pallof Press – New Pallof Press Exercise Variation! – Vertical Pallof Presses

Photo credit: and

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