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Abdominal workouts have presented a challenge to me since my disectomyAny ab exercise that involves pressure on the lower spine, such as the V-sit, is off the table. Rotational exercises are also a challenge because the twisting that occurs can create a shearing force on the lower back.  I include rotational exercises in my routines because twisting is a functional movement that occurs in daily life. I am, however, very careful when I perform these exercises taking care to concentrate on the movement, go slow, and use an appropriate amount of weight.

The rotational chop exercise has similarities to the stability chop exercise but there is a difference between the two.  With the rotational chop, your torso and hips rotate through the movement. With the stability chop, your head, chest, abs and hips remain facing forward and stable throughout the movement.

The rotational chop exercise places emphasis on your oblique muscles.

This exercise is particularly beneficial for those who participate in sports that involve rotational movements such as golf, tennis and baseball.

This post focuses on the use of the cable station but the exercise can be performed in similar fashion with a medicine ball or dumbbell.

Equipment: cable machine, dumbbell, medicine ball

Major Muscles Used: internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis
Secondary: shoulders, lower back, hips

Position: (High Pulley) Attach a rope at the highest pulley position. Grab the rope in an overhead grip. You can also use a handle, grabbing on with interlocking fingers. Take a step away from the cable station. You should be about an arm’s length away from the pulley.  If using a rope, hands should be placed about 1 ½ to 2 feet away from each other. Stand or kneel so that your right side is aligned with the weight stack.  If standing, place feet in one of two positions: in staggered position with inside foot in front of outside foot or shoulder width apart.  Neck and spine are in neutral.  Arms are fully extended. Abs and glutes are engaged. Knees are bent.

Movement: (on a cable station) While exhaling, bring rope or handle down and across the left hip. Rotate your torso and hip while pivoting your right foot as you perform the movement.  Inhale and in a slow and controlled manner return to original position.  Perform to failure and switch to opposite side.

Position: (Low Pulley- REVERSE CHOP) Attach a rope at the lowest pulley position. Grab the rope in an overhead grip. You can also use a handle, grabbing on with interlocking fingers. Take a step away from the cable station. You should be about arm’s length away from the pulley. If using a rope, hands should be placed about 1 ½ to 2 feet away from each other. Stand or kneel so that your right side is aligned with the weight stack.  If standing, place feet in one of two positions: in staggered position with outside foot in front of inside foot or shoulder width apart. Neck and spine are in neutral. Arms are fully extended. Abs and glutes are engaged. Knees are bent.

Movement: (on a cable station) While exhaling, bring rope or handle up and across the left shoulder. Rotate your torso and hip while pivoting your right foot as you perform the movement.  Inhale and in a slow and controlled manner return to original position.  Perform to failure and switch to opposite side.

 

Common Mistakes:
– using too much weight
knees aren’t bent
leaning forward

Need more information on rotational abdominal exercises?  Please leave a comment or question…

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