THE MOVE High-to-low cable chop
THE PAYOFF Using weight to overload the abs strengthens and sculpts your midsection, particularly the obliques, with fewer reps than more traditional exercises like crunches.
THE RIGHT WAY
* Attach a single handle to a high-cable pulley and, with your right side to the machine, take a large step away from it.
* With feet hip-width apart, hold handle with both hands, fingers interlaced.
* Engage core muscles by bringing lower ribs and hips toward each other. Then, with arms straight but not locked, pull down on a diagonal, slightly rotating torso.
* Slowly return to starting position and repeat for reps. Then stand with left side to machine and repeat to complete 1 set.
WEIGHT & WORKOUT GUIDELINES
Do this move 2-3 times a week as part of a regular strength-training program, performing 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps using 20-30 pounds. Rest 45-60 seconds between sets. When rep 12 of each set is no longer challenging, increase the weight slightly. After 4-6 weeks, or when you feel ready, progress to the move in the Advanced Tip.
For more of a challenge, do the same move standing on a stability tool such as a Reebok Core Board.
Breathe out forcefully as you start the exercise. This engages the deepest abdominal muscles, so you’re better able to control the twisting motion.
MISTAKES TO AVOID
* Don’t initiate the movement with your arms; otherwise you won’t completely challenge your abs.
* Don’t let your shoulders round forward as you do the move; this adds stress to your neck and upper back.
* Don’t lean into your hips on the side toward which you are pulling; this takes the movement out of your torso and can stress your lower back.