Through this article, the reader will get to know how to perform the wood chopper exercise and some of the wood chopper exercise benefits that will help increase mobility and coordination in the long run. 


Core activation is quite important for a lot of movements in everyday life. Especially when participating in sports such as golf or while lifting a heavy box or paddling a paddleboard, core muscles need to be trained well.

While there are a lot of exercises that focus on the core, very few of these exercises such as wood chopper exercise actually work quite intensely. This wood choppers workout keeps your trunk activated in a rotational movement pattern while multiple abdominal and back muscles are also activated for advanced stability. Apart from this, your arms and leg muscles will also attain mobility and stability.

The wood chopper exercise is used in a number of ways However it is commonly used in rehabilitation as it can be used to treat lower back pain. It can also be performed in a number of positions or can be equipped with a number of resistance tools to include a variety or increase the challenge levels. The different positions and tools involved will also further help in changing the target muscle groups. Here is a guide on the wood chopper exercise, its benefits, and how it can help increase your core strength.

How to Perform the Wood Chopper Exercise

To perform a basic wood chopper exercise, also called the dumbbell woodchop as it includes dumbbells, the steps can be provided as follows:

  • Place your feet at a shoulder-width distance
  • Now slightly bend your knees
  • Grip a dumbbell with both your hands
  • Rotate your torso to the left-hand side
  • Raise the dumbbell above your shoulder
  • Squat and then rotate your torso towards the right-hand side
  • Bring the dumbbell across your body length such that it is now close to your right side hip
  • Repeat the above steps about 10 to 15 times
  • Now switch sides


Benefits associated with the wood chopper workout

There are several benefits when it comes to doing the wood chop exercise regularly and some of the wood chopper exercise benefits include the following:

1.       The wood choppers workout is a great way to build core strength. A strong core is quite essential in order to stabilize your trunk and spine which will help prevent back pain.

2.       One of the main wood chopper exercise benefits is that it allows you to gain coordination and balance. As you get better at the wood chopper exercise at home you will find that you have got better control and can move more fluidly. The improved coordination will also carry onto other aspects of your life such as improved performance.

3.       To improve your athletic performance, a dumbbell woodchop is a great option. The explosive nature of the exercise help works on your power, speed, and agility intensely. All of these factors hence help in performing better in many of the sports forms.

4.       Improvement in posture can also be claimed to be one of the main wood chopper exercise benefits. This takes place by strengthening your muscles that support the spinal area. Improvement in posture will also help prevent any injuries or pain associated with the posture.

5.       The wood choppers workout is also a great way to burn those extra calories and fat. The more muscle groups you tend to target the larger the number of calories you can burn. Those looking for an ideal choice for fat or weight loss can opt for the wood chopper exercise at home.

What are its variations? 

Depending on the challenge that you’d like to take up and the various target muscle groups being aimed at will help understand the wood chopper exercise variations that can be included. Some of the variations when it comes to trying the wood chopper exercise can be provided as follows:

    Wood chop lunge

You can now integrate lunges into the wood chopper exercise which helps the exercise to be a full-body functional workout. As you raise your upper body out of f a lunge you need to move your arms diagonally across your body while you hold a weighted object. This movement will help advance coordination and balance.

    Cable wood chop

One of the major benefits of doing the exercise using the wood chopper exercise cable is that the cable height can be adjusted which means that you can perform the exercise based on how you target your obliques and abdominals. The cable wood chopper exercise itself has two variations that can be included and these can be provided as follows:

1. Seated cable wood chopper

Those who find it hard to balance while standing should try the seated wood chopper exercise. This can be done by placing a weight bench next to the cable machine and then straddling the bench and following some of the basic steps. Set the pulley in such a way that it is about the same level as your shoulder to make it easier on this joint.

2. Reverse cable wood chopper

This is also commonly called the standing cable lift and this exercise involves setting the adjustable wood chopper exercise cable machine at the bottom and then pulling the cable from a lower end to the higher end. It works on some of the general muscles however in a slightly different way. To be able to perform the exercise by using the wood chopper exercise cable you need to grab the handle with both your hands and pull it up and across your body length. Stop the pulling actions once the resistance band wood chopper is slightly above your head level. Now utilize your control to bring the handle back to the starting position.

    Medicine ball or kettlebell

Medicine balls are often compact and dense and hence can be used in conjunction with bodyweight movements which include exercises such as wood chopper gym exercise. Wood chops are done along with a medicine ball or a kettlebell and will require a little more balance and coordination while performing the movement. However, once you succeed in doing this movement you will get a great core workout out of it.

Unlike the dumbbell grips, the medicine ball grips will be quite different and they will lightly engage the forearms while also increasing the grip strength.

    Resistance band

Resistance bands wood chopper exercise are also a great option. All you need to do is attach a resistance band to a solid structure that is roughly hip or knee height such as a park bench. Now hold the bands in and follow the instructions as provided for wood chops. Unlike that seen in dumbbell woodchop there will be an intense core engagement at the top of the movement and hence resistance band wood chopper exercise can be much more intense than any of the other exercise variations.


Dumbbells are the most commonly found wood chopper exercise variation. Dumbbells as they come in a number of weights can change the intensity of the exercise based on the different weights chosen. If you are a novice starting off with the wood chopper exercise it would be better to start off with lighter weights and once you become comfortable it will be easier to shift to heavier weights t increase the intensity.

    No equipment

If you have got no equipment, you can still of the wood chopper exercise at home. All you need to do is simply hold your hands together and follow the instructions for the wood chopper exercise. This can be a great exercise for improved mobility and flexibility. It also helps loosen up any stiff muscles that are attached to your torso.

Muscles worked during the wood chopper exercise

A number of muscle groups are targeted with this workout and some of them can be provided as follows:

1. Hip muscles

Your hip muscles act as the part providing stability during the movement whereas our upper gluteal muscles are the main muscles that are getting affected by the workout.

2. shoulders

Your scapular stabilizers help keep your shoulder blades in a stable position while the arms are in continuous motion. Your rotator cuff muscle and deltoids increase the strength to move the weight from a higher position to a lower position.

3. Thigh and calf muscles

Your thighs are the ones that primarily stabilize the entire body while the calf muscles on the opposite side that you‘re moving toward will provide the power for this movement.

4. Core muscles

Wood chopper gym exercise will mainly focus on the trunk or core muscles and perform a very important role in stabilizing the body during the entire movement. Your obliques and transverse abdomen will be intensely involved in this wood chopper exercise.

Common mistakes to avoid while doing wood chop exercise

Some of the common mistakes that not only a lot of beginners but also a lot of athletes tend to make can be provided as follows:

1. Locking down your lower body section

You need not lock down your lower body section while performing the cable wood chops. Instead, you need to allow the rotation of your joints slightly.

2. Bending of arms while moving

When performing the exercise make sure that you do not bend your arms or your shoulders or else the concentration will be more on your shoulders and arms rather than your core. Right from the start of the action to the end the arms must be kept straight.

3. Adding in excessive weight

If you add excessive weight, you might not be able to move properly. You should be able to keep your balance as you rotate the weight. If you tend to waver or stumble then it is advisable to reduce the weight on the machine while doing the wood chopper gym exercise.

What are the precautions that should be taken?

Kneeling wood chopper exercise is a great option for increased intensity and focus on the core however those people with injuries to hips, back or knees must consult with either a doctor or a physical therapist before performing this action. You should not continue with the wood chop movements if you feel pain in any of the parts during the movement. You can also start by doing 6 to 10 reps each day and then increasing the repetitions as you get stronger.

Wrapping up

While the kneeling wood chopper exercise is a great addition to add your training program it is important to understand the limitations and the benefits that the exercise provides. It can be performed in a number of ways depending on the various type of equipment and the areas to be targeted on. 

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