What is the Wood Chop Exercise? Many movements in regular life require core activation. The wood chop is one of the few workouts that work your core as hard as it does. This exercise keeps your trunk, as well as other abdominal and back muscles, active. This activation is in a rotational movement pattern for stability. However, your legs and arms also help you maintain your equilibrium.
The wood chop exercise has been employed in several ways. It’s most commonly used in rehabilitation centers. It is also used to treat and control lower back pain. In addition, it provides a more advanced challenge for core stability. Finally, the woodchop exercises an excellent functional workout. It moves the body in a transverse plane by rotating the trunk.
This movement mimics many of our daily actions, for example, putting a seat belt on and putting a box on a top-shelf. You can do it in various variations to add variation and challenge, like banded woodchop, ball and cable woodchop, etc. You can also do it with the range of resistance equipment. The many postures and tools target different muscles.
Step-by-Step Guide to Perform Wood Chop
Knowing the correct technique to perform the exercise is essential to benefit from the wood chop exercise. The lift and chopping movements are two components of this exercise. Following is the step-by-step guide on how to perform wood chop properly:
Step 1: Begin with your feet parallel to each other shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in both hands. Hold it with both hands clapped, either at the ends or at the handle.
Step 2: Hold the dumbbell at your right hip’s side. You will rotate your body to the right. To avoid strains, pivot your feet to the right.
Step 3: During the first phase, lift the dumbbell on the outside of one hip. Lift and rotate the dumbbell above the outside of the opposite side of your head.
Step 4: Pivot your right foot as you lift to assist the rotation and elevation of the weight. There will be minimal trunk movement in this upright position. Your arms and feet provide most of the turning motion.
Step 5: The second phase involves chopping motion. The weight will shift from above the left side of your head to the right hip; as you do this, pivot on your left foot. While doing this phase, keep your trunk and head tall.
Do two sets of 8-15 repetitions on each side.
Muscles Involved during Wood Chop
During Wood Chop exercise, a variety of muscles are involved. These muscles include:
- An essential role in maintaining stability
- Aggressively engages your obliques and transverse abdominis
- Primarily serve as stabilizers
- Key muscles involved are upper gluteal muscles (glute medius and minimus)
Thigh and Calf Muscles
- Thigh muscles handle whole-body stabilization
- Calf muscles help to produce force
- While arms are in action, scapular stabilizers help maintain shoulder blades steady.
- Deltoids and rotator cuffs provide strength to move weights
Variations and Modifications
To make it more challenging, try adding variations. Following are some variations and modifications for the wood chop exercise:
- Sit-Up to Half Chop
Lie face-up on the floor with your feet planted. Your knees should be bent. Extend your arms straight up over your chest. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Engage your hand. Now steadily lift your shoulder blades off the floor as you lift your torso. Keep your neck long. Rotate your torso to the right as you sit up. Now the dumbbell crosses your body and settles near your right hip. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position. Then rotate to the left again—alternate sides as needed.
- Wood Chop in Reverse
With a slight bend in your knees, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place the dumbbell down and center underneath your tummy. Bring the dumbbell to your right hip. Now controllably swing it across your body to over your left shoulder while keeping your arms straight. As you rotate left, pivot your right foot. Next, return your hand to your right hip. Continue for the specified amount of time, then switch sides and repeat.
- Wood Chop Exercise with Slam Ball
Hold the slam ball at the left hip. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Reach the dumbbell up in the air on the right side of your body. Your arms should be straight out in front of you. Return the dumbbell to the left hip. Make use of your left foot as a pivot point. Continue for the specified amount of time. Now switch the sides.
To avoid any injury and strains in your muscles, it’s essential to consider a few safety tips.
- During this action, keep your trunk stable. During the chopping movement, the spine flexes or bends forward. This can put an excessive amount of strain on your spine.
- Begin with lesser weight than you believe you will require completing this workout. Then, as needed, increase the weight while keeping adequate control.
- Reduce your range of motion and lessen your speed if you experience pain while executing this action. You can also reduce the amount of resistance applied. Stop and consult a healthcare expert if you are still in pain.
The last word on the wood chop exercise
The woodchop is a functional core strengthening exercise. The lift and chop are two phases of wood chop exercise. Different sides and muscles of the trunk are emphasized. Maintain control over your emotions. The wood chop exercise engages the core, hip, and lower extremity muscles. The wood chop exercise can be done in various ways, depending on your stance, position, and equipment. Each variation alters the muscle emphasis or level of difficulty. Proper exercise technique is critical for ensuring the safety and success of an exercise program. Still, depending on your specific demands, you may need to alter each exercise to achieve the maximum benefits of this exercise.