This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Using a cable machine, attach a doubled-handled rope attachment at the top stationary setting (you can also use tubes connected to a fixed point for this exercise). Take a handle in each hand and stand at right angles to the machine or the fixed point of attachment. Stand with legs shoulder width apart and knees soft. Hold your legs as steady as possible so that the movement comes completely from your abs and lower back. Allow the resistance to pull your arms toward the point of attachment, so that the arm closest to the machine or point of attachment is nearly fully extended to your side (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, use your core muscles to pull the cable or tube in a single, smooth motion across in front of your body in a diagonal chop. Bend your legs and pivot through your hips until you are facing fully away from the machine, with your arms almost extended. Be sure to use your abdominals and lower back as the driving force of the movement (see Photos 2 and 3).
- When your arms are fully extended at the bottom of the diagonal, reverse direction and return to the starting position (see Photos 4 and 5).
- Do a complete set of the diagonal chops facing in one direction, and then turn around and repeat another set of the diagonal chops facing the other direction.
- After you finish your diagonal chops, you are ready to move into horizontal side chops. Re-attach the cable to the machine at a stationary point set at chest height. Take the cable in both hands and stand at right angles to the machine, again with legs shoulder width apart, knees soft, and core engaged (see Photo 6).
- From this position, bring the cable across your body in front of your chest, pivoting through your hips and bent legs until you are facing fully away from the machine with your arms extended (see Photos 7 and 8).
- Reverse and return across the same arc to the horizontal side chops starting position. After you have finished a full set of the horizontal cable chops at chest height, face in the opposite direction and do the same set on the other side (see Photo 9).