• Photo for Dumbbell Chop
    Photo Credit: Nicolas Smith

Dumbbell Chop

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.

This variation of the standard shoulder dumbbell extension provides a full range of body motion and incorporates leg and core work as well. It's also an excellent warm-up exercise as it works the entire body.

Muscles Worked

Starting Position
Hold a light to moderately heavy dumbbell in two hands, with your hands holding the ends of the dumbbell and your fingers facing inwards toward the dumbbell. With your eyes facing forward, your back straight and your legs slightly bent, extend the dumbbell out in front of you, parallel to the floor; do not lock your elbows (see Photo 1).


    From the starting position, slowly lower the dumbbell. As both of your arms descend, squat your legs and touch the dumbbell to the floor between your feet. This should be done in one fluid motion; practice until you can achieve that effect (see Photo 2).
  1. When you have touched the dumbbell to the floor, reverse the movement and begin to stand. As you stand, raise your arms in front of you and bring the dumbbell back up to the level of your shoulders (see Photo 3).
  2. Next, you move right into the diagonal chop. This exercise is similar to the center dumbbell chop above, except that you move diagonally across your body from one side to the other. From the starting position, lower your arms and the dumbbell to the left of your body. As you lower the dumbbell, pivot your body toward your left, drop your right knee, and pivot your right foot inwards. Your right heel will come off the floor. Bring the weight down to the height of the middle of your shin, or as low as you can go without breaking your form or losing your balance (see Photo 4).
  3. When you have lowered the dumbbell to the level of your mid-shin, reverse the movement and begin to stand, straightening your right leg and dropping your right heel to the floor. As you stand, bring the dumbbell up in front of you to starting position.
  4. Next switch sides. When you have done one center dumbbell chop and press, and then the diagonal dumbbell chop and press on each side, you have completed one set.
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best 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.