The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Sandbag Chopper Raise

Written by
Michael Harper, MEd
Posted in
Fit Tips

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2015

Enhance mobility, stability, and strength with this full-body exercise utilizing a sandbag. While statically working lower body musculature, full body stability is challenged along with upper body mobility. This exercise is similar to everyday tasks that require twisting, pushing, and pulling in the upper body while attempting to keep the lower body stable without movement.

To perform:

Preparation: Align the feet shoulder-width apart. Push the hips back and down into a squat position or a lunge position with a goal of about a 90 degree angle in the knees while maintaining neutral spinal alignment. The knees should not go over the toes. Hold the sandbag with both hands at chest level, then lower the sandbag down to side of body as the starting position for a low to high “chop.”

Movement: Extend the knees and hips (rise out of the squat position) and keep the arms in soft extension, lift the sandbag upward while pulling it across the body and up over the opposite shoulder. During the movement, focus on maintaining distribution of the weight between both legs allowing only a minimal turn of the hips if needed. Slowly return to the starting position following the same pattern with the sandbag – down and across to the side of the body.

Modification: Perform same movements as above, but pull the bag to chest level by bending the arms. Pause and then press the bag up and over the opposite shoulder. This decreases the lever arm, decreasing the intensity.

Amplification: Perform the same movement as above but when rising from the squat or lunge position, toss the bag to a partner to create a higher velocity chop. Release the bag when it has been pulled to either chest level or slightly higher. Upon catching the bag, lower the body into the squat or lunge position while bringing the bag down and across the body making sure that the knees do not rotate. Any rotation needed should come from the torso (spine).

Note: Be sure to perform on both sides of the body.