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UberExercise — Cable Woodchoppers [Abs]

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Image: Men’s Health

Cable Woodchopper Quick Hits


Primary Muscle: Obliques
Secondary Muscles: Lower abs, upper abs, rear deltoids
What You’ll Need: Cable station
Why They’re Über: Seriously effective on the abs, high intensity shreds fat in the process


About The Cable Woodchopper

The cable woodchopper (aka cable twist) is one of my all-time favorite exercises when it comes to shaping a tight, compact, ripped-up core.

Specifically, woodchoppers blast the obliques — the long, flat muscles that run vertically down the side of the torso — and carve out a deep, pronounced v-cut. They also create definition in the lower and upper abs, rear deltoids (the back of your shoulder), arms and upper back.

Who doesn’t want that!?

In my experience woodchoppers are stupidly effective, more so than 95% of other ab exercises. Woodchoppers are weight-bearing, high intensity and require an EXTREME amount of core stabilization — something that most less-than-stellar ab routines severely lack. All of that makes for a turbocharged ab-blasting, fat-burning experience.

After about a month of woodchoppers you’ll begin to see fresh new obliques pop-out along the side of your abs. 2 months in and you’ll have a full-fledged v-cut. Shortly after you’ll have an in-your-face six-pack, assuming your body fat is in the single digits.

Cable woodchoppers are also one of the chief exercises used by golf, tennis and baseball trainers on their players, as they build a ridiculous amount of core power, torque and force. Longer drives, harder forehands and more home runs — booyah!


How To Do a Cable Woodchopper

  • Set up a cable pulley station with the single handle attachment so that it rests at chest height (slightly below the guy in the top picture)
  • Stand perpendicular to the machine — your side should face the weight stack — and grab the handle with the arm that’s furthest from the weight stack. Your arm should be pulled across the front of your body. Stack your free hand on top of the hand that’s already on the handle
  • Take about 3 steps away from the weight stack so that it pulls on your arm and creates tension in your rear delts and upper back
  • While tightening your core, powerfully pull the cable all the way across your body — hold for 1 second — and SLOWLY bring the weight back to the starting position. It should feel like you’re swinging a baseball bat. There are two HUGE keys to making this as effective as possible:
    • Keep your arms straight the entire time; no bending whatsoever
    • Keep your chest and torso perpendicular to the weight stack the entire time; you should feel the weight pulling your obliques and core. That’s exactly what we want
  • Repeat for a total of 15 reps and then switch sides.

Once you’re able to successfully do 15 reps per side with a given weight, gradually increase the difficulty by adding an extra weight plate.

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Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
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