Weekly fitness tip: The Woodchop

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April 10, 2012

I’ve never worked on a farm before, nor am I accustomed to similar kinds of intense manual labor. I do, however, know of exercises formulated after such kinds of labor.

The woodchop, as the name suggests, simulates chopping wood (go figure!). This exercise touches base with your shoulders, abs (if you keep your abdomen contracted throughout the duration of the movement!) and legs.

Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart (make sure your toes are slightly turned out and your knees are aligned with your feet)

Hold a 5 lb. weight (or whichever weight you’re comfortable with) with both hands

Twist your body at the waist to position the weight on the outside of your left thigh

Lift the weight up and across your body, above your right shoulder

While you life the weight up, straighten your legs and turn your torso

Return to the starting position

Repeat the movement for 3 reps, 15 times each rep (or whatever you’re comfortable with)

Modified move: If using a free weight isn’t enough of a challenge for you, try using the pull-down bar to create more resistance. The added weight of the machine will definitely be more difficult, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t get it right away. It’s an entire process being able to work your body up to handling that much resistance.

Important tip: Regardless of which weight you’re using or if you decide to increase your resistance using a pull-down bar, remember to be kind to your body. The weight and resistance added to the workout and the areas in which the move focuses on may cause a lot of strain on your body if you’re not used to doing activity like this (sometimes even if you are used to it).


Freshwoman Rachel Davis starts the woodchop routine with her feet shoulder-width apart, a 5 lb. weight in both hands.

Davis twists her body at the waist, bringing the weight down and across her body until it is on the outside of her thigh.

Davis performs the woodchop with a pull-down bar for more weight and resistance, increasing the difficulty of the workout.

All photos by Bridget Stagnitto.


Weekly fitness tip: The Woodchop was published on April 10, 2012 in Sports & Health

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