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.'Hemispheres' issue page.