Muscles Targeted: For strengthening the abdominals and obliques muscles, the perfect core exercise to include in your workout is one legged cross body chops. This exercise is a core targeted movement which focuses on balance. A lot of attention needs to be given when performing this exercise in order to maintain proper form throughout the entire range of motion in order to get the best results. Training the core muscles is beneficial for preventing injuries and increasing stability. Without a strong core, back injuries are sure to arise. One legged cross body chops builds your core while bringing balance to both the anterior and posterior areas of the body. The motion of contracting your abdominals and stretching the back when performing this exercise will help to strengthen your posture by targeting the major areas of your core.
Exercise Advice: While standing, grab a medicine ball with both hands and extend your arms out in front of your body. Hold it out and position it above the right side of your head. Balance yourself on one foot and slowly bring the medicine ball down and across your body as though you are chopping wood. Repeat the movement for the desired amount of repetitions and then repeat the exercise on the opposite side.
Things To Avoid: Keeping proper form when doing this exercise is key to preventing injuries, which is why it is recommended to maintain control of the motion at all times. Losing control of your technique will tend to happen after several reps when your core starts to tire out, so always be aware of your form. Should any uncomfortable pain be felt, it is recommended to try some of the other exercises listed below until your core muscles have strengthened enough to handle the motion for this exercise.
Remember to keep your abdominals contracted and flexed for extra support throughout the motion. This will also help to prevent your body from going into a full swinging motion which could result in you losing control. Breathing is also essential as it gives the body much-needed oxygen to build the core. Breathe in and out in a normal fashion when performing this exercise and avoid holding your breath. Keep your elbows slightly bent, so as not to constrict the motion. A slight bend in your arms will allow an easier flow. Wile moving the ball downward, avoid straining your neck. Allow your eyes to follow the motion of the ball, and in doing so, your head will follow.
Reps and Sets: Beginners may start with 1-2 sets of 8-12 repetitions while focusing your attention on getting the motion of the exercise down completely. Focus on your breathing and the contraction of all those important stability muscles. Remember that this is a dual exercise with two sides, so don’t forget to the other side. As your core strengthens, you can increase the reps within a set. Another option would be to increase the weight of the medicine ball which will make the exercise more challenging.
Other Exercises To Use: Overhead Chops will develop and strengthen your back and abdominal muscles with a forward and bent-over motion. This exercise, unlike one legged cross body chops, offers a more stable foundation since your feet are placed on the ground and it’s a great beginner exercise to start with. The Two Handed Hammer Throw will prepare you in regards to the motion of one legged cross body chops, with a side chopping motion for both sides of the body. This will be a great precursor movement for working up your confidence and overall strength. Figure 8’s will strengthen your shoulders while stabilizing the core muscles.