Cable Machine Exercises: Reverse Hammer Woodchop

When it comes to the cable machine exercises available in your local gym or health club, you have a lot of options to choose from. Cable machines provide some fixed-weight design, but also include versatility and thus, room for error. The cable reverse hammer woodchop represents one of these free-form exercises. The positioning may seem strange to some beginners, and doing this exercise the wrong way can cause a risk of injury, but with proper form, the cable reverse hammer woodchop can be a great addition to your overall fitness program.

Doing the Cable Reverse Hammer Woodchop

Here are the general steps for the cable reverse hammer woodchop:

  • Find the cable machine that offers the cable reverse hammer woodchop exercise–it will include a handle attached to a cable and that handle will be at or below the waist level.
  • Load the weight; start out with a lower weight. You can add weight gradually, but beginning with a lighter weight load will help you avoid injuries.
  • Grab the handle and hold it at waist level.
  • Slowly pull up and diagonally toward your opposing shoulder, keeping your arms stretched out straight in front of you.
  • Return to the original position.

Muscles Worked

The cable reverse hammer woodchop provides a good workout for your hips and glute muscles. It also provides challenges for your core muscles, which help with overall balance, poise and body capacity and also support your spine. The cable reverse hammer woodchop is intended to help trainers improve leg strength as well as rotational strength.

Avoiding Injury

Proper form is very important for this activity. You should make sure you pull with your arms, not with your back. Keeping the weight load on the arms can be difficult. You also have to use the appropriate stance and bend knees as necessary to avoid placing the weight load on your back.

With the cable reverse hammer woodchop and its opposite activity, the cable woodchop, there’s also the question of balance. It can be difficult to remain in the right position and stance when you’re facing a weight load in front of you.


Some trainers prefer to use activities like medicine ball flys and kettlebell swings instead of the cable reverse hammer woodchop and similar cable machine exercises. Although your resident trainer at your gym can give you practical advice, in the end, it’s all about what feels right to you. You will generally be able to feel if you’re off balance, overloaded, or putting too much weight load on your spine.

The key is to use slow, controlled movements and always, always use an amount of weight that you can handle easily.


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