Functional Training
for the Torso

Gray Cook, MSPT, CSCS
and Keith Fields, MS, CSCS
Orthopedic & Sports Therapy
Danville, Virginia


Program Design and Progression     

     To properly acclimate to the Chop and Lift Program, the athlete may need to begin at a lower level of difficulty to allow for more stability within the synergistic pattern. Form and body mechanics should be monitored throughout the phases of progression. Remember that optimization occurs only through proper technique. If fatigue compromises form, it's time to terminate the exercise.

      The seated chop and seated lift do not involve the amount of hip or leg musculature that the standing phases do. Thus they would be seen as preparatory for the half-kneeling and standing chop and lift.

      The half-kneeling chopand half-kneeling lift, thus they would be preparatory for the standing chop and lift.

     The preparatory phases of both the chop and the lift vary in their progressive levels of dynamic movement and respective degrees of torso stability.

     The Chop and Lift Program can be used to complement training programs in various sports. Even once the season begins, the chop and lift exercises may be used to maintain ROM, strength, dynamic balance, and coordination.

     In designing such a program, a strength and conditioning specialist can implement the exercises according to a periodization program. The emphasis should always be on correct form and proper progression in order to promote functional and efficient movement.

     Begin with 2 to 3 sets of each exercise and progress to 3 to 4 sets; the exercise volume should decrease as intensity increases. Due to the large arc of motion in the exercises, resistances that allow for fewer than 8 to 10 reps per set are not suggested.

     To allow for sufficient rest of the torso musculature, torso training should be incorporated on light lifting days. The training of the torso with the chop and lift exercises should be done at the end of a workout. The torso muscles play an important role in helping to stabilize other movements, thus early exhaustion of those muscles should be avoided.

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