- Main muscles worked: Abs (rectus abdominis), side abs (external and internal obliques), transverse abdominis
- Other muscles: Front and back of thigh (quadriceps, hamstrings), glutes, shoulders
- Exercise type: Anti-rotation
- Equipment: Dumbbell or medicine ball
Wood chops are an exercise that resembles the movement of chopping a piece of wood. This functional exercise builds strength and power in the core muscles, especially the abs and obliques, as you lift the weight and rotate your body. It also targets the shoulders, thighs, hips and glutes.
Wood chops improve rotational power, which can boost athletic performance in sports that require a swinging action such as golf, tennis, and baseball. It also helps make everyday activities easier such as reaching up to grab something from the cupboard, lifting up a child, or shoveling.
Use your core, not your back to perform the chopping movement. Also, do not let your knees collapse inward as you squat down. Perform this exercise slowly and with control. Avoid using momentum. Start with lighter weights, as this exercise is quite technical.
Variations: To make wood chops easier, you can perform it with equipment. To make this exercise more challenging move your feet closer together. This increases instability, so you have to work harder. You can also slow down the movement to make it more challenging or add more weight.
Wood chops can be easily adapted, you can perform it with a cable, medicine ball, or resistance band.
How to add it to your workout: Add wood chops to a core-focused workout or total body workout.