Dr. Meisenhelder, chiropractor with Back In Motion Chiropractic & Sports Rehab in Beaverton, Oregon, demonstrates the classic wood chopper exercise using the TRX suspension trainer for resistance.
Spinal muscular imbalance is often present in patients presenting with low back and thoracic spine pain. This is even more prominent in patients with even mild scoliosis. Whether functional or structural, spinal imbalances ultimately lead to bilateral muscular compensation, typically seen as shortened muscles on one side, and lengthened muscles on the other. Both are problems that can be addressed with specific corrective exercises. The wood chopper exercise excels at rotational strengthening, which is particularly good for the spine, as both functional and structural dysfunction present rotationally. This exercise is also exceptional for rotational athletes - Think golf and tennis as classic examples. While this particular exercise features the use of a suspension trainer for resistance, it can just as easily be performed using elastic bands like TheraBand offers, or a FreeMotion cable machine at the gym. The method of resistance really doesn't matter, we just thought it would be fun to demo on the TRX:)
The key to performing the wood chopper exercise is to really brace your body during the movement, essentially removing any slack. Note how I keep my core, hips, and shoulders braced through the movement, focusing on letting my right side (in this case) do the work or rotating my body. Note that performing this exercise on the TRX is a bit more difficult than with a cable machine, and less easily to regressed in terms of resistance. So, if this proves too much for you, drop the suspension trainer and setup with either bands or the cable machine.
I advise training both sides, 2-3 sets of 10 rotations each side, for best results, and if you are having any problems with the movement, just check in with a member of our team.
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