Exercise of the Week: High to Low Cable Chop Split Squat

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Today’s guest post/video comes from Cressey Sports Performance – Florida co-founder, Shane Rye.

There is a lot to love about the Split-Stance High-to-Low Cable Chop, so it’s been a staple in our programming for years! Often, we see folks who struggle to handle frontal plane forces correctly.

Athletes who primarily train the sagittal plane tend to have difficulty centering their mass when doing single leg work or frontal plane exercises, though, so it’s not uncommon to see a lot of mistakes on this. Some of the common compensations you will see are:

1. Over pronating or over supinating

2. Shifting the hips forward to access extension based postural patterns

3. Collapsing at the midsection

4. Lateral flexion (side-bending) or hip shifting

5. Valgus collapse of the knee

6. Excessive rounding of the upper back

7. Hips bailing way too far out or away (losing their center of mass)

8. Knee shifting to far over their toes etc.

As you can see, there are a lot of places where this exercise can go off the rails, so in some cases, it’s a better strategy to modify the exercise than provide 500 cues to address each issue. Enter the High-to-Low Cable Chop Split Squat, one of our favorite ways to teach athletes how to handle frontal plane forces. I originally encountered this variation from Pat Davidson a few years ago, and it’s stood the test of time. Thanks to Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett for the great demonstration:

There is also a great added bonus of hammering your oblique sling system. This might help a football player learn how to properly cut, or a pitcher to effectively accept force on the front hip.

1. Your adductor and glute med should engage on the front leg. Think of this as a dynamic hip shift or dynamic adductor pullback. You should feel your adductors working hard to help stabilize your pelvis. You might even feel a stretch in your posterior hip capsule.
2. Don’t allow your knee to collapse in.
3. Ensure that the front foot is stable and not overly collapsed or overly rolled out.
4. Control your breathing as you descend and ascend.
5. Don’t over stride with the back leg.
6. Don’t Rush!

We’ll typically program this for 6-8 reps at a slow tempo (three seconds lowering, one second pause at the bottom, and three seconds up) at first, and when athletes get more proficient with it, they can speed it up.

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