Exercises You Should Be Doing: Standing Cable Anti-Rotation Chop

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A bit off-topic to start, but I just wanted to give my two cents on 127 Hours; otherwise known as “that movie where that dude cuts off his right arm.”

A lot has been said about how graphic this movie is. So graphic, in fact, that there have been several reports of people passing out during the scene were Aron Ralston (James Franco) resorts to cutting off his right arm after being trapped by a small boulder for five days in the middle of the desert.

All I have to say is that if you can handle Saving Private Ryan, you can handle this movie. I won’t sugar coat anything and say that there wasn’t a time where didn’t get a little uneasy in my seat, but what the hell do you expect? The guy had to cut off his freakin arm! You didn’t think it was going to be puppy dog kisses and rainbows did you?

All in all, it’s definitely on my top 5 “must see” movies of the year. If for anything else, demonstrating just how powerful the will to live can be. And, more importantly, making me realize just how much of a pussy I really am.

Note to Self: raise your hand if you went to an ugly sweater party this weekend AND bought Norah Jones’ new cd!!!!

*raises hand*

On that note, today I wanted to share yet another great “core” exercise we’ve been using quite a bit at Cressey Performance. I won’t go into my normal rant here on why crunches and sit-ups make my eyes bleed; but, for the sake of brevity, just recognize that our abz aren’t necessarily designed for only flexion (if they were, they’d be called hamstrings) and that one of their main functions is to resist hoop stress (anti-rotation).

To that end, I haven’t done a crunch or a sit-up with a client in well over five years. Likewise, walk into CP on any given day, and you’re never, ever, ever, never, ever going to see anyone doing crunches off a stability ball. What you will notice, though, are people doing any number of anti-rotation (Pallof Press, chops/lifts), anti-extension (rollout variations, bodysaws), anti-lateral flexion (offset Farmer carries) exercises.

That’s not to say that we don’t include any rotational movements – we do (we do train a ton of baseball players). It’s just that when we do include them, we make sure that they’re coached correctly and that movement is coming from the right area(s). Namely, not the lumbar spine.

That said, here’s today’s exercise:

What Is It: Standing Cable Anti-Rotation Chop

What Does It Do: As noted above, it’s a great exercise that trains anti-rotation, while also training the hip stabilizers simultaneously.

Key Coaching Cues: Assuming an athletic position (chest out, hips back, knees slightly bent), stand perpendicular to a cable system with the arm/cable set at around chest height. Grabbing a rope (I like to double the rope so that I can train grip strength as well), you’ll then “rotate” (through the chest) making sure to pull the cable out in front of your body to increase the range of motion.

In addition, you want to make sure to keep your hips/pelvis as stationary as possible. If you’re having trouble doing so, widen your stance to make it easier. Conversely, to make it more challenging, narrow your stance. Or, if you want to take it to the next level, a simple progression would be to just have someone perform a roundhouse kick into your mid-section. Either one will do.

NOTE: If hanging out with chicks is your goal, I’d go with the latter. But that’s just me.

I like to do 3-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions (per side). Try it out today and let me know what you think!