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Heavy Medicine Ball Chops: Center, Diagonal, Side-to-Side

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

To train your entire body—arms, legs, core, and back—try this sequence of medicine ball chops. Start with center chops, then move to diagonal, and finally side-to-side chops. Choose a medicine ball as heavy as you can control for maximum benefit.

Muscles Worked
Full body

Starting Position
Stand upright with a medicine ball held in both hands in front of you in both hands and your feet about hip-distance apart with knees slightly bent (see Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, bring the medicine ball down in front of you in a wood-chopping motion—directly down in front of you, either to between your knees or, for a greater challenge, until you tap the floor. Then bring the ball back up, all the way to overhead. For this type of chop, as with the chops that follow it, try to maintain an even pace throughout the motion. Allow your feet and legs to bend and pivot as demanded by the motion of your upper body (see Photos 2 and 3).
  2. After you have finished 12 of the center chops, move on to diagonal chops. Starting with the ball held in front of you (see Photo 4), bring it up and around over one shoulder and then across and down on the opposite side, tapping (gently) the outside of your opposite knee at the bottom of your motion. Keep your chest tall and back and spine straight throughout this movement, including at the bottom of the diagonal chop, to keep you back safe. Alternate sides for a set of 12 diagonal chops (see Photos 5 and 6).
  3. After you have finished 12 of the diagonal chops, hold the ball directly in front of you, and bring it around to one side with arms extended, as you rotate your upper body to follow the ball. Bring the ball back to center, and do the same to the other side; continue alternating sides for a total of 12 chops (see Photos 7 and 8).
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.