Few would dispute that the advent of indoor ovens and central heating has made human lives easier, but if there is one downside to ditching real fires it’s the consequent lack of a need to regularly chop wood. Sadly those days are long gone, but you can still recapture some of the magic with the dumbbell woodchop.
The woodchop is a fantastic functional core exercise. Your abs and obliques are working overtime as you twist and lift, and the overall movement of the exercise means the core strength benefits created will translate to everyday activities and sports.
How To Do The Dumbbell Woodchop
Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and turned out slightly. Crouch until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your back straight. Hold your dumbbell with both hands next to the outside of your right thigh. Twist your torso to the side and lift the weight up and across your body with straight arms. As you lift, stand up and turn your torso so you end up facing the dumbbell, which is above your left shoulder. Rise onto your toes as you twist and lift. You should be using your core muscles to control the movement. Return to the starting position, reversing the twist and bringing the weight down as if chopping wood. Don’t rush; it’s all about control. Aim for three sets of 10-15 reps a side.
Set a cable pulley at the lowest rung and stand side-on with the right side of your body parallel to the machine. Keeping your core engaged and back straight, bend your knees slightly. Fully extend your arms across your body to grasp the pulley handle. Pull the handle up and across your body diagonally, keeping your arms outstretched. Lower to the start point and repeat for your target rep range. Then change sides.
High Pulley Woodchop
This variation works the same muscles as the cable woodchop above, just through a different range of motion. Set a cable pulley at the highest rung and bring it downwards across your body diagonally. Otherwise, follow the form guide above.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in both hands above one shoulder. Engage your core, keeping your back straight, and step forwards into a lunge – leading with the leg on the same side as you’re holding the dumbbell. Bring the dumbbell down and across your body diagonally in the same movement as your lunge, keeping your knees and toes pointed forward. Reverse to the start. Complete all your reps on one side, then switch.