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Standing Cable Wood Chop 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Main Variation Core Exercise


Standing Cable Wood Chop
Standing Cable Wood Chop

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group


Secondary Targets



Force Type


Required Equipment

Cable Machine

Fitness Level












The Standing Cable Wood Chop is a dynamic exercise that targets the obliques with secondary engagement of the abdominal muscles. Using a cable machine, this exercise involves standing perpendicular to the machine with the cable attachment positioned high above one shoulder. With a firm grip on the handle, the individual initiates a diagonal chopping motion across the body, pulling the cable down and across towards the opposite hip while rotating the torso. This movement pattern mimics chopping wood and effectively engages the oblique muscles as well as the abdominals. The resistance provided by the cable machine adds challenge and tension to the exercise, promoting strength and stability in the core muscles.

How to Perform

  1. Begin by assuming an athletic stance, with your feet positioned just outside of shoulder width apart to establish a stable base.

  2. Attach a rope to a cable stack positioned overhead, ensuring that it is securely fastened.

  3. Set up for the exercise by positioning the inside leg in hip flexion, slightly bending at the knee, and maintaining a strong posture.

  4. Grasp the rope with both hands at roughly shoulder-width apart, ensuring a firm grip to maintain control throughout the movement.

  5. As you exhale, initiate the movement by rotating the rope diagonally across your body, from the high side down towards the opposite knee.

  6. Engage your oblique muscles to perform the chopping motion, focusing on a smooth and controlled movement pattern.

  7. Once you have completed the desired range of motion, return to the starting position with controlled movement.

  8. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions on one side, then switch sides to target the obliques evenly.

  9. Throughout the exercise, maintain proper form by keeping the core engaged, the spine neutral, and the shoulders relaxed.

  10. Remember to breathe continuously throughout the movement, exhaling as you chop down and inhaling as you return to the starting position. This helps to maintain oxygen flow to the muscles and enhances performance.


  1. Begin the exercise by slightly crunching your abdominal muscles and ensuring that you exhale as you rotate your torso.

  2. If a rope attachment is not available, you can use a bar attachment as an alternative. However, note that cueing for this variation will be slightly different. Start by extending the bottom elbow, then horizontally press the bar to extension with the top elbow as you rotate your torso.

  3. Position yourself with the inside knee raised relative to the cable stack to optimize the effectiveness of the exercise.

  4. Always direct the chopping motion towards the leg that is positioned lower, ensuring that the movement targets the obliques effectively.

  5. Visualize the rotation as a crossbody pattern, emphasizing diagonal movement rather than purely vertical or horizontal motion. This ensures proper engagement of the oblique muscles and maximizes the benefits of the exercise.

How Not to Perform

  1. Avoid Using Excessive Weight: Do not select a weight that is too heavy, as it can lead to compromised form and increased risk of injury to the back and shoulders.

  2. Do Not Overextend the Arms: Avoid fully extending the arms at the bottom of the movement, as this can strain the shoulder joints and detract from the engagement of the obliques.

  3. Avoid Using Momentum: Do not rely on swinging or jerking motions to initiate the movement. This diminishes the effectiveness of the exercise and increases the risk of injury.

  4. Avoid Hunching the Shoulders: Keep the shoulders relaxed and avoid hunching them towards the ears during the movement. This ensures that the tension remains on the obliques rather than the shoulders.

  5. Do Not Neglect Core Stability: Avoid neglecting core stability by allowing the torso to twist excessively during the movement. Maintain a stable core and focus on controlled, deliberate movements.

  6. Avoid Hyperextension of the Spine: Do not hyperextend the spine at the top of the movement. Maintain a slight contraction in the abs to prevent excessive arching of the lower back.

  7. Do Not Forget to Exhale: Remember to exhale forcefully as you perform the chopping motion, engaging the core muscles and enhancing muscle activation.

  8. Avoid Leaning Too Far Forward or Backward: Maintain an upright posture throughout the exercise and avoid leaning too far forward or backward, which can compromise form and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.

  9. Do Not Neglect Proper Form: Focus on maintaining proper form throughout the movement, including keeping the feet stable, the knees slightly bent, and the spine aligned.

  10. Avoid Neglecting the Eccentric Phase: Do not rush through the lowering phase of the movement. Control the descent of the cable and focus on eccentric muscle contraction to maximize muscle engagement and strength gains.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.


Alternative exercises in fitness refer to different movements or activities that target similar muscle groups or serve the same training purpose as the primary exercise. These alternative exercises can be used as substitutes when the original exercise is unavailable or challenging to perform due to various reasons such as equipment limitations, injuries, or personal preferences.


Cable Machine