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How to Do the Cable Woodchop

Strengthen Arms, Shoulders and Abdominals


Updated January 14, 2008

The value of this exercise is that it simulates activity that occurs in many sports: swinging a bat or stick or throwing while twisting the torso. Of course, this approximate movement is slightly different in any number of sports such as baseball to golf, tennis, hockey or cricket. But even without a stick, bat or racket, the twisting motion of the abdominals under load is a prominent movement in many sports, including football and basketball.

1. How to Do the Cable Woodchop - Starting Position

Start the cable woodchop
(c)Paul Rogers / Cooloola Fitness
  1. Attach a suitable hand grip to a cable at one end of a cable machine frame. Position the cable anchor near the top of the frame using the adjustable mechanism.
  2. Position your body so that the cable movement will be downward and across the body -- like a tree-chopping action.
  3. Position the feet comfortably apart and grasp the cable handle with both hands above one shoulder.
  4. Load the machine with sufficient weight to provide moderate resistance. If you struggle to move the handle or if you can only move it slowly, the weight is too heavy.

2. How to Do the Cable Woodchop - Exercise Movement

Woodchop exercise movement
(c) Paul Rogers / Cooloola Fitness
  1. Swing the clasped handle downward and across the body until it passes the opposite thigh.
  2. Don't lock the knees and hips. Allow the hips and knees to rotate slightly.
  3. At the end position, allow the cable weight to retract the handle to the starting position.
  4. Do 8 to 10 repetitions then reverse your stance by facing the other way and repeat the exercise to the other side of the body.
  5. This exercise is best used for power development. Do the movement at high velocity, rest for 10-15 seconds, then repeat.
  6. Ideally, you will have progressed through a beginner's program in order to build sufficient strength with which to benefit from this exercise. If not, start with a light weight and progress slowly.
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