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 CORE: "Stability Ball Back Chop"
(30-30-30 Matrix Exercise #1)

Directions: Perform Dynamic Warm-Up exercises at “beginning” of workout
for maximum benefit and improvement.
Pick a safe level; never be unsafe or exceed your capacity to “control” your body!

Back Chop-1
Split feet WIDE for a good base of support.

Back Chop-2
Reach HIGH for maximum benefit!

  1. Get on ball face down with center of gravity shifted slightly back towards feet.

  2. Split feet wide for good base of support.

  3. Extend arms straight out over head and shoulders.

  4. Fold down over ball (flexion) as you "chop" and bring hands close to ground.  The "chop" motion resembles wood chopping with an axe. 

  5. Lift torso back up while extending arms up high as you arch spine backwards (extension).

  6. If the extension is too difficult with fully extended straight arms,  fold arms across chest.  This will bring the weight in closer to your core making it easier to extend or raise up your torso.

  7. Perform »30 seconds (10-15 reps) or do this as part of my 30-30-30 Back/Shoulder Matrix.  This is Exercise #1 in my 30-30-30 Matrix.

  8. Go to 30-30-30 Matrix Exercise #2-Fly

Exercise Figure Tips: The key is getting enough weight onto your feet and splitting your feet really wide.  If your weight is too high, your center of gravity will be directly over the ball causing you to "teeter-totter" or roll forward during flexion.  "Anchor" your weight into your feet which helps stabilize you and the ball.  If your feet are too narrow, the ball will be too hard to control and this will decrease the quality of work you can do for your low back.  Prioritize back strength over lateral stability challenge with this exercise.

  • The SB Back Chop is truly one of the best back extensor exercises I have found.  It's very easy to do for beginners yet can be made challenging by adding repetitions or more resistance by holding a light medicine ball of 2-4k out in front of your body.  I would not use a med ball heavier than about 4k because it tends to limit the amount of back extension.  One of the nice secondary benefits to this exercise is the degree of "extension" it provides which helps increase spinal mobility.  I do not suggest sacrificing a good extension and mobility benefits just to go extra heavy with a ball.  You want the right amount of resistance you can control with a full range of motion whether that resistance is just arm weight or a med ball.

  • This is also Exercise #1 in my 30-30-30 Stability Ball Core/Shoulder Matrix.

  • A related exercise for the front side of core is the Stability Ball ABS Chop.

  • Where to buy a good Stability Ball

*Note: These exercises are intended for "normal healthy" individuals and many are only intended for competitive athletes.  If you have an injury, or abnormal pain is present, see your physician or a certified physical therapist before continuing your exercises. 

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(Updated 2.25.08)

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