Sports Training & Conditioning Zone!

The Chop and Lift...Anywhere (Part 3)

by Gray Cook

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In the last article I discussed the split arm chop and lift. Hopefully you have practiced this move and have observed the benefits of three dimensional strength training. Knowing this exercise has given you more than a killer upper body workout and posture reinforcer, it has given you freedom.

The freedom I’m talking about is the freedom to workout anywhere. We are always envious because runners have it made. They can enjoy a great workout anywhere by simply packing a pair of running shoes. If you enjoy strength training moves that help your sport and you have a great workout, chances are the equipment is not portable and does not travel well. Strange gyms and hotel fitness centers may have different or unfamiliar equipment causing you to spend half your workout trying to fit your workout to their equipment.

Many of the golf and tennis professionals I’ve worked with have this very problem. If you would like to maintain your strength gains but need or want to travel you can still have some consistency. Resistance tubing provides a inexpensive and portable solution to this problem. The elastic resistance usually will not give the load or resistance work out that a weight stack and pulley will provide.

Elastic tubing is also often criticized because the resistance increases from the beginning to the end of the movement, making the resistance less uniform. However these two factors that seem to be a disadvantage are actually benefits if you use the tubing to its full potential. Tubing does not need to be as heavy as weight because you are going to add speed to your workout. You will follow a natural force-velocity curve and add a new dimension to your workout. You will increase your speed of movement, but must reduce the force to make if possible. As you accelerate through the movement the elastic will increase the tension or force as you try to maintain your speed. This will help convert the strength, you gained in your chop and lift weight training, into power with improved wrist and forearm speed.

The half kneeling position is helpful when training with tubing because it offers improved balance and demonstrates any undetected differences in the right and left side. Remember to always train for a balance of strength and power between the left and right side. The tubing can be attached to a door or safely tethered to a piece of weight training equipment. The tubing should be situated slightly behind you creating a diagonal pull from the rear and across your body. This will leave the finish position more in front of the body than the cable chop.

The lift will also come from a more behind position to a front press. The pull from behind on both the chop and lift creates a opportunity to work on the quick change from a pull to a push. It will reinforce quick hands and a smooth forearm and wrist rotation. The tubing will be chopped from the side of the knee that is up. The tubing will be lifted from the side of the knee that is down.

For the chop the tubing should be anchored about 6 inches to 1 foot above your head. This will create a good angle for your downward pull to push movement. For the lift the tubing should be anchored as low as possible. To create the best angle possible for the lift exercise, elevate your knee on a sturdy but padded surface. Four inches up to 14 inches will work. This is also helpful if you have trouble bending the knee all the way to the floor.

You can also use the tubing chop and to work on stability and posture with some benefit to the hips as well. In the swing the hips get the movement going but then need to actually stop moving to transfer energy up into the torso, then shoulders, then arms, and then the club. The chop can help reinforce this as well with a simple coordination drill.

The set up for the drill is the same as the tubing chop but with the addition of a club. The club handle is placed at or slightly below the belt-line on the side with the knee in the down position. The club should be set out to the side at a 45 degree angle. The club will probably fall a few times before you can find a balance position. Once the club is set start the chop movement slowly and then increase your speed. See if you can perform 6 chops with increasing speed without the club falling.

You will immediately become aware that your hip wants to keep moving backward. If your hip is still moving it cannot be learning to decelerate. So regroup and stiffen your body. Stay tall and try to move as fast as possible without dropping the club. Do this in both directions and don’t think about your swing. Just think about moving your arms and keeping your hips under you. The hips will actually give a small rotation to start your chop, but you need to stop that movement and use that small initial hip punch to complete the move with the rest of your body. Even though the move is not simply an arm movement it looks like a total arm movement. Good hip strength and core stability create a solid anchor for the arms to pull toward and push from.

Now you have no excuses for not doing some form of training when you are traveling or have limited equipment. So pack your band and get going!


Our corrective exercise and movement prep DVD shows all our tubing exercises and the companion CD-rom has almost 100 printable tubing progressions for easy teaching, coaching and instruction. The tube is designed to work 4 different ways so the same tube is used for all the exercises (upper body, lower body and core). See all our products.

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