Bodycare,  COACH,  EXTRA,  HEALTH,  March 2023,  Training and Technique

Move of the month: woodchop

Having strong core muscles is important in all our swimming strokes as it is in many functional movements in our everyday activities. The woodchop is a great move for challenging the stability of the muscles that surround the trunk of our body as well as the hip and shoulders, says Vivienne Rickman. 

There are two parts to the woodchop exercise, the lift and the chop, with each working on different muscles and sides of the body, great for strengthening our constant rotation in the water.

How to do the woodchop

1. Standing with your feet hips width apart, grasp a single dumbbell with both hands at either end.

2. Hold the dumbbell at the side of your right hip. Your body will be rotated to the right, you will also need to pivot your feet to the right as you rotate.

3. Lift the dumbbell to the left side of your head, as you lift keep your trunk strong by holding in your tummy and your spine neutral.

4. Maintain a controlled movement, pause slightly between each one to decrease the speed of the swing.

5. Try two sets of 10/15 repetitions on each side

Variations you can try 

Try this from a kneeling lunge. Start with a 90/90 bend in the knees with your rear knee bent directly under your hips. Lift the dumbbell from outside this rear hip to the outside of your head on the other side.

This can be done using body weight alone, or try using a medicine ball or stability ball. The different hand grip these offer gives added challenges.

In the gym? Try the cable machine, set the pulley on the highest anchor point and pull down to the opposite hip, this is working on the chopping motion. To work on the lifting motion switch the pulley to the lowest anchor and pull from the hip.

This article is from the March 2023 issue of Outdoor Swimmer. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.

To see all the online content from the March 2023 issue of Outdoor Swimmer, visit the 'Hemispheres' issue page.
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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.