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How to Do Cable Woodchopper: Proper Form, Benefits, Variations And Mistakes To Avoid

How to perform the cable woodchopper with perfect form

If you’re looking to carve out some killer abs and obliques, Cable Wood Chops are the way to go! This exercise will have you feeling the burn in no time.

Incorporating Cable Wood Chops into your workout routine not only helps you achieve a strong and defined core, but it also improves your overall athletic performance and functional movement. With a variety of grip options and adjustable resistance levels, Cable Wood Chops can be modified to suit your fitness level and goals. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, this exercise has something to offer.

So, don’t be fooled by their simplicity – Cable Wood Chops pack a punch when it comes to sculpting your abs and obliques. Give them a try and feel the difference in your core strength and stability. In this post, you will learn how to do cable woodchips with a perfect form, common mistakes to avoid as well as benefits of doing this exercise.

What Is Cable Woodchopper?

The Cable Wood Chop exercise involves using a cable machine to mimic the motion of chopping wood, strengthening and toning the core and oblique muscles as well as the shoulders and upper back.

Since it is performed using a cable machine, it allows for adjustable resistance and a variety of grip options. To get the most out of this exercise, it is important to focus on maintaining control and performing the movement slowly. This exercise can be a great addition to any core-focused or full-body workout routine.

How To Do Cable Wood Chopper

How to Do Cable Woodchopper: Proper Form, Benefits, Variations And Mistakes To Avoid

To perform the Cable Wood Chop exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Attach a hand grip to the cable machine and set the cable anchor at the top of the frame using the adjustable mechanism.
  2. Adjust the weight on the machine to provide moderate resistance.
  3. Stand facing the cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart, a neutral spine, and knees slightly bent. The cable should be positioned above one shoulder and your arms extended.
  4. Slowly pull the cable handle downward and diagonally across your body, rotating your torso as you do so. Keep your arms extended throughout the movement until the handle passes your opposite thigh.
  5. Hold the position for a count of one or two before slowly returning the cable handle to the starting position.
  6. Repeat the exercise, performing the desired number of reps.

Pro Tip: The cable wood chop is an exercise that involves twisting the entire body and focusing on maximal rotation of the torso. It is important to maintain tension in the abdominal muscles throughout the movement and to engage the muscles strongly at the end of the exercise. This will help to ensure a strong mind-muscle connection and target the muscles effectively.

Muscles Used


  • Obliques


  • Tensor fasciae latae
  • Gluteus medius
  • Gluteus minimus, anterior fibers
  • Adductors, Hip
  • Psoas major
  • Quadratus lumborum
  • Iliocastalis lumborum
  • Iliocastalis thoracis


  • Pectoralis Major, Sternal
  • Pectoralis Minor
  • Trapezius, Middle
  • Trapezius, Lower
  • Rhomboids
  • Deltoid, Posterior
  • Triceps, Long Head
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Teres Major
  • Rectus Abdominis
  • Erector Spinae

What Are The Benefits Of The Cable Wood Chop?

The Cable Wood Chop is a versatile and effective exercise that can offer a number of benefits, including:

  1. Targets muscles of the core, particularly the obliques, as well as the muscles of the shoulders and back
  2. Improves core stability and strength
  3. Improves rotational power and performance in sports that require these types of movements, such as golf and tennis
  4. It also Improves posture and reduces risk of back injuries
  5. Good exercise for overall functional fitness
  6. Can be incorporated into a full-body strength training routine

There is research to suggest that having strong rotational power can lead to improved performance in sports. The cable wood chop is an exercise that can help athletes develop this type of power, potentially leading to better athletic performance. This exercise can be incorporated into an athlete’s training routine to help them reach their full potential.

Common Mistakes

How to Do Cable Woodchopper With Proper Form: Benefits And Mistakes To Avoid

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Cable Wood Chops are:

  1. Locking the Lower Body: Make sure to keep your knees and hips slightly relaxed and not locked in place during the exercise. This will allow for proper rotation in the torso and reduce the risk of injury.
  2. Bending the Arms: Keep your arms extended throughout the entire movement. Bending your arms will cause your shoulders and arms to do the work instead of your abs.
  3. Excessive Weight: If you find it difficult to move the handle or can only move it slowly, the weight is likely too heavy. It is also important to maintain balance as you rotate the weight. If you stumble or waver, decrease the amount of weight on the machine.

Cable Wood Chop Variations

There are several variations of the cable wood chop exercise that can target different muscle groups or add variety to your workout and can be done using a functional trainer. Some other variations include:

  1. Seated Cable Wood Chop: This variation is performed seated on a bench with a single handle or a rope attachment.
  2. Cable Wood Chop with Twist: This variation involves adding a twist to the traditional cable wood chop. As you rotate the weight, twist your torso to one side to target the obliques.
  3. Alternating Cable Wood Chop: This variation involves alternating sides as you perform the exercise, targeting the muscles on each side of the body individually.
  4. Cable Wood Chop with Squat: This variation involves adding a squat to the traditional cable wood chop. As you rotate the weight, simultaneously perform a squat to engage the lower body muscles.
  5. Reverse Cable Wood Chop: Also known as a standing cable lift, this exercise involves setting the adjustable mechanism of the cable machine at the bottom and pulling from low to high. It works the same general muscles, though in a slightly different way. To perform the reverse cable wood chop, grab the handle with both hands and pull it up and across the body, stopping once it is a little higher than your head. Use control to return the handle to the starting position. You can also do this variation with a resistance band.

It is important to note that when performing any of these variations, it is still important to avoid the common mistakes mentioned earlier (locking the lower body, bending the arms, and using excessive weight).

Take Away

In conclusion, the cable wood chop is a highly effective exercise for strengthening the core muscles. It can be easily incorporated into any training program and offers numerous benefits for daily activities. However, it is important to consider any potential issues or injuries before beginning this exercise, and to stop if you experience pain during any part of the movement. To start, aim for 8-10 repetitions on each side, and gradually increase to 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps as you become stronger. With proper form and caution, the cable wood chop can be a valuable addition to your fitness routine.


Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant. He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves. Rahul has a master's degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.

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