Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredCable
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypeIsometric
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
Target Muscle Group


Obliques Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Wood Chop Overview

The standing cable chop is an exercise used to target the muscles of the abdominal complex. In particular, the standing cable chop primarily works the obliques.

The standing cable chop is also commonly referred to as the wood chop as when you perform the exercise, you look as though you’re slinging an axe to chop a piece of wood.

Wood Chop Instructions

  1. Assume an athletic position with your feet just outside of shoulder width and attach a rope to a cable stack overhead.
  2. Position the inside leg in hip flexion and set up with both hands grasping the rope at roughly shoulder width apart.
  3. Exhale, rotate the rope across your body, and chop to the down knee.
  4. Return to the starting position, repeat for the desired number of repetitions, and then switch sides.

Wood Chop Tips

  1. Crunch slightly and ensure that you exhale as you rotate.
  2. You can also utilize a bar attachment if you don’t have access to a rope but this variation will require slightly different cueing - extend the bottom elbow, then horizontally press the bar to extension with the top elbow as you rotate.
  3. Set up with the inside knee up relative to the cable stack.
    • Always chop to the down leg.
  4. The rotation should be a crossbody pattern, think about moving diagonally rather than up and down.
Posted on: Fri, 05/30/2014 - 01:02

Do you have to use gym equipment to do this?

krishna rao
Posted on: Tue, 05/17/2016 - 17:45

You can do this at home with just body-weight or filled(cleaned)milk cans;but gym equipments like pulleys or dumbbells have more effect

Posted on: Fri, 01/11/2013 - 15:29

Can this be done holding a free weight instead.

Josh Duper
Posted on: Fri, 05/04/2012 - 22:38

I have done everything I know of to work my abs except these. I found a nice surprise when I started doing wood chops. It was a great feeling having my abs being hit like that. Go slow and experiment until you get that perfect feel.