Written by: Ryan Unverzagt
Happy New Year! 2015 is here whether we’re ready for it or not. I hope all of you enjoyed a great holiday season with family and friends. If you followed any of my advice the past two months (controlling portion sizes & receiving that fitness gift), you should already be ahead of the game. As always, January is the perfect time to evaluate your lifestyle and set realistic “New Year’s Resolutions.” The best approach is to write down reasons WHY you want to make a change. Here’s an example: Reasons WHY I want to lose 20 pounds: “I can feel better about myself; I want to keep my diabetes in check; I want to sleep better; I hate being out of breath walking up the stairs; I want more energy so I can play with my kids or grandchildren; I’m sick of my joints always hurting.” Post these in a place where you will see them every day (maybe as your cell phone wallpaper) to remind you exactly why you want to put forth the effort for a healthier life.
With that said, I bring you another exercise of the month to try. I call it the Cable Woodchopper. This exercise has been featured in a previous issue of the Old Town Crier. However, the last time I explained this exercise, it was the “Low-to-High” version. This “woodchopper” is the opposite being “High-to-Low” which means that the cable pulley is set in the high position. This exercise is a great way to get your heart rate up and challenge the core.
To start, select a lighter resistance and attach a single cable rotating handle to the clip. Grab the handle with your right hand over top of the left as shown in Figure 1. This shows the starting position for “chopping” down and to the left. Be sure to stand far enough away from the weight stack so that when your arms are straight the selected weight is not touching the remaining stack.
Stand with your feet wider than your shoulders. Your hips should be facing away from the weight stack with the torso and arms slightly rotated towards the right. Begin the chop by using your abdominal muscles to initiate the movement. Pull the handle diagonally across your body and down towards the floor. Keep the arms straight with the handle away from you. This will make your abdominals work harder during the exercise. Finish the chop towards the left at about knee height (Figure 2). Reverse the movement and control the resistance back to the start position by utilizing those amazing abs! Try at least two sets of 10-12 repetitions for each side to get a balanced workout.