Cable wood chop exercise

Cable wood chop

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: Internal and External Obliques
  • Synergists: Tensor Fasciae Latae, Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus, Psoas Major, Quadratus Lumborum, Iliocastalis Lumborum, Iliocastalis Thoracis, Adductor Brevis, Adductor Longus, Adductor Magnus
  • Important stabilizers (not highlighted): Rectus Abdominis, Erector Spinae, Sternal (Lower) Pectoralis Major, Pectoralis Minor, Posterior Deltoid, Latissimus Dorsi, Teres Major
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Attach a stirrup (handle) to a high cable pulley.
  2. Grasp the stirrup with both hands, with one hand over the other or with fingers interlaced.
  3. Step back so that the cable is pulled taut.
  4. Turn your lower body until your feet are facing away from the pulley, and stand with a staggered stance.
  5. Straighten your arms.


  1. Keeping your arms straight and shoulders locked in place, exhale as you rotate your torso and pull the stirrup in a diagonally downward motion until your torso faces away from the pulley and your hands are knee height.
  2. Hold for a count of two.
  3. Inhale as you reverse the motion and return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  5. Repeat on your opposite side.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your arms straight, shoulders locked in place, and your lower body facing away from the pulley throughout the exercise. This will ensure that the majority of movement comes from the rotation of your spine or torso.
  • Try to reduce the amount of rotation that occurs in your hips.
  • The cable wood chop is great for strengthening the twisting movement pattern of your torso, as well as improving your torso’s ability to resist twisting forces. It’s a good idea to stop and hold the stirrup for a few seconds halfway through some reps, thus forcing your body to resist the twisting force.
  • The cable wood chop is also known as the cable up-down twist and the cable woodchopper.
  • See also the dumbbell spell caster, the cable down-up twist, and the seated cable twist.

Cable wood chop video


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