Muscles Targeted: The overhead chop is an exercise that affects your abdominal area, also known as your “core”, by specifically targeting your obliques and can provide some cardiovascular benefits as well. Being the body’s center of power, your core abdominal area consists of six abdominal muscles. Two of these muscles are known as the external obliques and the internal obliques. Each of these oblique muscles are made up of two muscles as well (one on either side). Then you have a superficial abdominal (rectus abdominus) and a deep abdominal (transverse abdominus) which makes up a total of 6 muscles in the abdominal area.
All of your daily movements originate from the core muscles. By strengthening these muscles, you will be able to increase your stability and balance. Strengthening your core can provide postural support, which is a key element for having a pain-free back and neck. Performing the overhead chop can also help to raise your heart rate which will aid in burning additional calories while working your heart and lungs.
Exercise Advice: Grab a medicine ball with both hands and hold it high above your head. With your feet just beyond shoulder width apart, slowly bring the medicine ball down in between your legs, just above your feet. Repeat the movement for the desired amount of repetitions.
Things To Avoid: While performing this exercise, there are several common mistakes you should try to look out for and avoid. When you are performing the overhead chop be sure that you are controlling the motion and not moving too fast. Avoid any type of quick and jerky movements. Make sure you are not just swinging your arms back and forth. Pay special attention to maintaining strict form and proper technique. This will help to ensure that your form is in a position in which you will receive the most benefits from the overhead chop exercise. You should try to keep your knees slightly bent throughout the entire exercise as well. Keep your arms extended with a slight bend in your elbows. Your breathing technique can also greatly alter the effect the exercise will have and can even lead to muscle cramps as well as fatigue. Avoid holding your breath while exercising and keep your breathing at a steady and controlled pace. Whenever you are lifting the medicine ball up over your head, be sure that your back is not hyper-extended and make sure you are engaging your abs the entire time.
Reps and Sets: To achieve the best results possible from this exercise, it is recommended that you start off by performing 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions. Depending on your level of physical fitness, that can vary. You should first test to see how a few sets of overhead chops feels and then increase your repetitions and sets. Starting off, you probably want to perform overhead chops just once per week. Once you feel comfortable with the movement, then you can progress up to 2-3 times per week. Repetition and diligence are the key elements when working out and training your core abdominal area in order to get a more toned and defined physique.