The half kneeling cable chop is a great anti-rotational core stability exercise for strengthening the musculature of the anterior core. It also develops hip mobility and stability. This exercise is extremely versatile and can also be performed in a tall kneeling stance, a square standing stance, and a split standing stance.
You need a weight plate, dumbbell, or kettlebell to perform the kneeling chop. You can also use a cable machine, or a resistance band.
Beginners should start out with the standing square stance chop as it is the easiest variation to perform, and can do 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps/side. Then, they can either add in 1 or 2 more sets, or can progress to the most advanced variations described below, or can add more weight. Beginners should use less resistance and should make sure that they use proper form before they add more reps, weight, and also perform more difficult variations.
Intermediate lifters can use the half kneeling chop at the beginning of a workout as a stability based warm-up exercise. It can also go at the end of the workout, after the more advanced compound exercises have been performed, or on its own or as part of a core training circuit. Intermediate lifters can do 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions per side of the half kneeling chop. Intermediate lifters can begin to use the tall kneeling stance, and can use additional resistance.
Women of an advanced fitness level can use the half kneeling and tall kneeling chops the same way as intermediate lifters, but they can add additional resistance.
How a woman chooses to use the half kneeling chop is highly dependent on her overall technical ability and experience, how much weight is used, the set/rep scheme used, where it falls in the workout, what it’s paired with, and what the rest periods are. In general, the half kneeling chop can be used to do any or all of the following:
While I am going to describe the half kneeling chop, you can also perform the tall kneeling chop where you are on both knees
The positions that I am about to show you are are tall kneeling and half kneeling. These are great for integrating core stability with hip mobility and hip stability as well. Half kneeling looks simple but if you do it correctly it is really difficult - in fact I still have kind of a hard time getting into the proper position. I like to use this to steady myself.
You are going to bring one foot in front of you like in a lunge or split stance position. You want to try and square your hips as much as possible. What happens is that people will let one hip kick out to the side, or this hip will come up really high. You want to try to get as square as possible, so that this knee is in line with this hip and this knee is in line with this hip. You don't want this knee to cave in or come out. Again I am going to try and get as square as I can. You can put a bench next to you to steady yourself or hold on to one of these. Another important thing is to not jam forward. People say “oh, this is easy”, while they are hanging on the their hip capsule, they are not actually using what they are suppose to be using to get their stability. So you want this to be in a nice straight line, this knee at about a 90 degree angle, for a lot of people (myself included) just sitting in half kneeling is pretty challenging. So we try to get people to sit in this position and just breath and take relaxed belly breaths.
Once you have done that, if you want to make it a little bit more difficult, you can grab a weight and you can do a half kneeling chop. A lot of people do a half kneeling chop with bands or from a cable machine, that's fine. We do a lot of classes at my gym, J&M Strength and Conditioning, so it's just easier to use a kettlebell. You grab a kettlebell under the horns once you are in a nice solid half kneeling position. You chop kind of down towards your hip and then up towards the other knee. Again, this is not an arm exercise, this is to simply challenge your stability. Up and down will be one, and we generally go from 8 to 12. You can also do this from a tall kneeling position. So that was half kneeling, and half kneeling chop.
So now I am going to show you a tall kneeling chop. So tall kneeling, you are on both knees, knees again are kind of in line with the hips, you are going to extend through your hips. You don't want to be here, you want ribs down, glutes underneath you, you don't want to lean back. Again it looks really simple,but there are a lot of ways you can mess it up. Stay nice and tall, ribs down, glutes underneath you and you are going to chop. With this one we generally go side to side. You can do all one side if you like, you can use a kettlebell, you can use a weight plate you can use whatever you like. So that was half kneeling, a half kneeling chop, and a tall kneeling chop.
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