Want a core that performs as good as it looks? Try these banded exercises:
1. Low-to-High Band Chop
- Set the resistance band around knee height or lower. Then start in a side-facing position (in relation to the band) with a double overhand grip.
- Keeping your elbows soft but at a fixed angle, chop the band in a low-to-high action.
- Punch your back hip through and allow your back foot to pivot.
- Keep your core engaged as you accelerate through the increasing band resistance.
Why It Works
This trains power transference from your lower to upper body, arguably even better than doing the same exercise using cables. This is because of the increasing resistance of the band which forces you to accelerate through it. It's a good option as an oblique-builder, for athletes, or before your workout to prime your nervous system.
2. Horizontal Band Chop
- Set the resistance band around chest height. Then start in a side-facing position with a double overhand grip.
- Keeping your elbows soft but at a fixed angle, chop the band horizontally, keeping it close to your elbow.
- Pivot your back foot as your hip extends and spine rotates.
- Keep your core engaged throughout. Imagine 360 degrees of air around your spine with abs, obliques, and low back engaged.
Why It Works
This is a staple oblique exercise that's good for building power and athleticism. Using a band fits perfectly with the explosiveness and "punch" of the back hips you often see folks forget about when using cables. Use these to chisel your obliques and build power from your legs and hips through your core.
3. High-to-Low Band Chop
- Set the band around head height or ideally even higher. Then start in a side-facing position (in relation to the band) with a double overhand grip.
- Chop the band from a high-to-low angle aiming towards the knee of your opposite side leg.
- Rotate your shoulders while also allowing a little spinal flexion as you rotate fully. Allow your back foot to pivot so your hip is coming through and you knee doesn't buckle inward.
Why It Works
High-to-low chops allow you to use more weight as your whole body works together to pull the cable downward. In this case, the band resistance gradually increases as you pull it down, making the exercise even harder at the bottom than at the top.
Compared to horizontal or low-to-high chops, these involve some spinal flexion alongside rotation. For many this means they feel this more like an ab exercise.