By Ryan Unverzagt
Summer is cruising by so I hope you have taken full advantage of it so far. This month’s exercise is the Cable Woodchopper. Two different versions exist. The handle can be on a high pulley to finish low or, in this case, start low and finish high. More resistance will be needed for the high-low chop and less for the low-high.
I am using a single grip rotating handle attached to the end of the cable, however, I use both hands (right is over the left) to grab the handle. The start position is shown in figure 1. Take a quarter-squat stance with the feet wider than shoulder-width. You should be far enough away from the weight stack such that the weights do not touch each other. Keep both arms straight and the hands about knee high.
The pictures show me starting on the lower left side rotating and extending up high to the right for the finish. This should be one continuous, smooth motion as you pull the handle in a diagonal line, rotating the torso, extending out of the quarter squat with a slight rotation of the hips. Keeping your arms straight and the handle away from your body during this exercise will effectively engage the core muscles. Try ten reps from left to right and then switch to the other side without resting. The resistance should be light if you are trying this for the first time. Do not attempt a one- repetition max because of the spinal rotation factor.
You can incorporate the low-to-high version of the cable woodchopper into a warm-up routine or utilize it in an abdominal workout. Either way, this is an excellent exercise for all the major muscle groups and a great way to increase the heart rate too! Stay cool out there!!