The wood chop is a favorite exercise among trainers. In fact, it's celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson's favorite core exercise and is fast becoming one of ours, too. The wood chop really works the abs but targets the obliques, helping tone your muffin top. But unlike the static plank, the wood chop targets your middle while your middle is in motion, making this move a serious functional fitness maneuver. Grab a five- to 10-pound medicine ball, and get ready to learn the basics.
- Start with the feet a little wider than hip distance apart, keeping the knees slightly bent, and bring the medicine ball to your left shoulder.
- On an exhale, pull abs to spine, and "chop" the ball down diagonally across your body toward your right knee. Imagine you're chopping some wood at this angle and the ball is your axe — the move is a bit percussive.
- Focus on the rotation initiating in your torso.
- Control the ball back up to the starting position. This completes one rep.
- Remember you are moving with force but control. Don't give in to the momentum of swinging the ball around. Do three sets of 15 reps on each side.