Sculpt your abs with this exercise (better than crunches!)

Kettlebell woodchopWoodchops are a GREAT way to sculpt a strong core — especially your obliques (the muscles along the sides of your waist) — in a functional way.

And by functional, I mean in a way that you would use in your everyday life, whether it’s taking dishes out of the dishwasher or getting groceries out of the car, or any number of other activities of daily life (like golfing!).

Most exercises have you move through only one plane of motion — directly in front of you. With woodchops, you move through a different plane because of the rotation involved, and mixing up your routine to work different muscles in different ways is a very good thing.

But because we don’t often use rotation in standing movements it’s really easy to cheat this move. Your body is going to want to take the efficient (easy) route and disengage the big muscle groups we’re targeting. No worries: I am offering my top trainer tips in the video below. (It’s kinda loud in the gym where I recorded this … sorry!)

Some things to keep in mind:

Keep your posture in neutral alignment, shoulders back, abs engaged, knees soft.

Think about rotating your hips through the movement. I tell my clients to have their hips say “hello” to the one wall and then the opposite wall across the room.

Move the weight across the muscles you are trying to target (your abs!). If you find that it’s difficult to move in the 45-degree angle, move the weight from the hip to the chest to over your shoulder, as I demonstrate in the video.

Try this and let me know what you think! (Also making a rare appearance in front of the camera is my dog Zoey, who hates having her picture taken. 🙂 )

Do you have any exercise-related questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer!

Wendy Watkins

About Wendy Watkins

Wendy Watkins is a Bangor-based personal trainer, fitness coach, studio owner, and writer/editor. She is the author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Losing 20 Pounds in 2 Months. Visit her website at