Chop and Lift Q&A

The below is a post from, and there is an extended segment on the principles and execution of the Chop and Lift on the upcoming DVD, Training = Rehab, Rehab = Training.

* Do you, or can one, perform these in both spilt stance and regular stance?

Yes, these Chop and Lift patterns can be done in supine, tall or half kneeling, standing symmetrical (squat), standing asymmetrical (lunge), standing 1-leg (SLS/hurdle step).

*Is the typical progression in these moves to do them kneeling then move to standing?

Yes, but please consider that the kneeling moves are corrective in nature, and the standing-style moves are closer to conditioning.

*Any specific tips/cues you like?

Stay tall
Pack the neck
Shoulders relaxed
Huge grip
Only use the arms

*Can you share how you progress these (chops and lifts) or do you like staying in that kneeling position > keeping the legs out of the movement.

The progressions are to mimic the weakest link in training the FMS or SFMA.  If one of the Big 3 is dysfunctional, removing the contribution of the knees, ankles, and hips can cull out these compensators to train the core if warranted.

*Also what qualifiers do you use to move someone from the kneeling position to standing.

A 3 on the FMS.

*What other progressions a have you used or experimented with in the chop and lift pattern?

Supine for knee pain folks.
Qualifying for the Chop and Lift for static stability before allowing the dynamic stability/movement of the bar.
Bar to Rope to Band to Medball

*Have you/ do you use med balls and what did you find effective and not?

Very effective in longer term lower quarter surgeries where the movement with the upper quarter warrants progression, but the lower quarter does not warrant loading.
Very hard to do without a lot of medballs or someone else to retrieve the ball.

  • September 18, 2010

Leave a Reply 5 comments

Chris K Reply


Great stuff here.

One thing Gray touches on quite a bit in “Movement” is utilizing the screen to delete erroneous programming. With the myraid of corrections available, understanding how to progress this simple move has really been a key in our work with clients.

We have recently seen sucess incorperating chop/lift patterns to improve movement and balance in our fitness classes for seniors and you have given me a few more things to think about here.

Keep up the great work!


Chris K Reply

One question BTW: Knowing that some clients will never recieve greater than a 2 in certain cases, do you maintain the chop/lift in a certain posture as a maintainance tool or allow for eventual progression?

Charlie Reply

Chris – The beauty of the FMS progressions is that you really can never go wrong. There is nothing wrong with staying on the knees. My rule of 3 is not a steadfast law. Moving to standing is an option.
I would prefer staying kneeling and either increasing load or getting through the bar to rope to band to ball progression lead.

Walter Virdon Reply


I am new to many of the nuances with this stuff, so please forive me if I come off sounding even more green than I already am.

*Would standing 1-leg versions mostly be reserved for folks with a specific deficit as opposed to those already functioning at a high level and seeking to maximize performance? Or would it be a mistake to almost entirely overlook those at that stage in favor of the other standing versions, the parallel and split stance ones?

*Once someone has properly progressed on to using standing versions, is it still perfectly acceptable to use tall or half-kneeling versions at times with increased loads and/or speed of execution? In the past I have found myself rotating most of the various versions with those whom I work with, even after they have progressed to standing versions. Is this acceptable despite their being considered more corrective in nature versus standing?

*Would it be possible to provide a brief summary of the why/details behind the order of progression that listed Bar to Rope to Band to Med Ball.I’ve fleshed out some thoughts as to why that was suggested, but it’s probably best to hear your reasoning as you simply have a far greated grasp on these things than I likely ever will.

Thank you for your time and help.

Charlie Reply

Walter – I see standing 1-leg chop and lifts are for either supporting the 3 Hurdle Step or in cases where the HS is the weak link, and the half kneeling in-line position isn’t getting you anywhere. In this case, you are dealing with a knee or foot stability problem.

Sure, regressing to the floor is fine with bigger challenges. It just probably isn’t corrective for anything anymore, and I think that’s totally okay.
A good exercise is always a good exercise. It will always be safe and effective as conditioning when it is no longer useful as corrective.
Check out the 4-part article on the Chop and Lift at the above link.
The cable bar starts out with a locked out shoulder position and relegates a multi-planar option.
The rope progresses to more degrees of freedom as the rope is more forgiving to movement.
The band allows for a progression from strength to speed-strength or strength-speed.
The ball allows for maximal power development.
If the upper body deserves a higher level of training, it can be done with these progressions.

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