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Week 33: Tall Kneeling Cable Chop

For the month of January, we have selected exercises to keep you strong and agile on the pickleball court throughout the entire winter 🥒🎾

Exercise: Tall Kneeling Cable Chop

Purpose: To target rotational stability and introduce concepts of explosive power of the trunk, arms and shoulders

What It Targets: Controlled mobility of the Internal Obliques, External Obliques, Transverse Abdominis; Serratus Anterior, Latissimus Dorsi, Pectoralis Major and Minor, Triceps; Stabilization/Co-contraction of the Glutes, Hip Flexors, Hamstrings and Quadriceps; Lengthening of the Iliacus, Psoas Major/Minor and Quadriceps


  1. Get in the tall kneeling position with your ribcage stacked over your pelvis and your back toes dug into the ground. Kneel on something soft to avoid knee pain.

  2. Grab a cable or long resistance band anchored high with your elbows straight. A rope attachment to a traditional cable column would be ideal. 

  3. Following your hands with your eyes, pull down on the cable at a 45 degree angle while simultaneously rotating your trunk and exhaling. Pull the handles to your belly button, allowing your elbows to bend.

  4. In the same diagonal motion, push the handles away while straightening your elbows, continuing to follow your hands with your eyes.

  5. Reverse the motion by bringing your hands back to your belly button, and then up towards the source of the resistance. Maintain good control, keeping your spine stacked and core engaged throughout the entire motion.

  6. Repeat on the other side, and repeat as prescribed.

Main Cues:

  • Follow your hands with your eyes to allow for the right amount of trunk rotation

  • Maintain good control, keeping your spine stacked and core engaged throughout the entire motion

  • Exhale as you chop downward 

  • Keep your spine stacked without arching backward, especially as you bring your hands back up

  • You should feel this primarily in your core, chest, and arms 

Common Compensations/Adverse Effects:

  • Pain in mid or lower back

Correction: Be sure to maintain a stacked spine position; Decrease the range of motion to a comfortable one to avoid any discomfort; Decrease the weight

  • Tensing of the shoulders and neck

Correction: Make conscious effort to relax your neck and shoulders and initiate motion from the middle trunk and core; Exhale calmly as you rotate to allow your ribcage to drop down and in, and away from your neck and shoulders

  • Pain in neck

Correction: Do not allow your shoulders to hike forward or up and cause compression on the neck; Reduce the range of motion; Decrease the weight

  • Pain in your knee

Correction: Kneel on something soft; Decrease degree of knee flexion 

Why We Love It:

  • This core focused rotational movement introduces lumbar spine rotation in a safe manner (a prerequisite for avoiding back pain with racket sports)

  • It connects arm strength and core power through safe rotational mechanics

  • Increasing the speed introduces explosive movements for developing power and athleticism on the pickleball court

  • It coordinates activation and stabilization of your lower body (glutes, quads, hamstrings) with controlled mobility of the upper body (pecs, serratus, biceps, triceps) which is crucial on the pickleball court

*Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone, and participation in novel activities may increase the risk of adverse effects such as pain, soreness, or injury. Please consult with your Physician or a local Physical Therapist prior to attempting any exercise you feel uncomfortable performing. If adverse reactions occur, discontinue performance of the exercise and consult your physician or trusted clinician for evaluation.

Keep It Moving Physical Therapy & Wellness

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Suite 200 (Inside Muscle Mind Movement)

Burlington, MA 01803

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