Building muscle and toning your core isn’t just about doing a sit-up or a crunch. The diagonal chop is an exercise you can do in the gym or at home that incorporates core training while also using your arm muscles.
According to corrective exercise and performance enhancement specialist Drew Walsh, the diagonal chop is a vital exercise to learn, especially for rotational athletes.
“The diagonal chop is a core exercise that helps stabilize our torso against dynamic forces, which is a key skill to build for core strength and body control during movement in all directions,” Walsh says. “This exercise improves the athlete’s ability to efficiently transfer force throughout the body.”
To complete this exercise, find a resistance band and tie it to a sturdy pole or gym rack. It should be tied toward the top of the item that you choose to use.
Begin the exercise by getting into a half-kneel position. You should have your inside knee up at a 90-degree angle and your inside foot flat on the ground. Then, place your outside knee on the ground with the heel of your foot up in the air.
Get into this position parallel to the band. Once you’re set:
- Make sure that your front foot, back hip and back foot are in line.
- Pull the band down toward your chest. Your outside hand will hold the end of the band, while your inside hand grabs it in the middle.
- As you pull the band to your chest, keep your eyes on your hands.
- After holding the band at your chest for two seconds, push it toward the ground and away from your body using your inside hand. Hold that position for two more seconds before bringing the band back to your chest and then to the starting position.
Walsh notes to rotate through your back as you perform the exercise. Remember to work both arms and swap sides. Also, be aware that while you’re pulling the resistance band, your eyes should always be on your hands.
Moving in all directions is important for athletes, no matter what sport they play. In soccer, you have to look for the ball at different angles. In baseball, a ball could find its way to your part of the outfield. Be sure to train your core to handle different rotations with the diagonal chop.
Another exercise that can help train your core and is similar to the diagonal chop is the diagonal lift. Be sure to add this exercise to your next trip to the gym or at-home workout.