Fitness ABC – Grab the Rope
O.K. G doesn’t really stand for ‘Grab’ in the ABC of fitness. Being originally in German, G actually stands for Glöckner or ‘Bell-Ringer.’ Grab though is exactly what you’re going to do – and then pull.
Rope Pull Down Exercise
There are a number of ways to approach this exercise, but let’s start with the way shown in the image. Stretch up as high as you can and grab an imaginary rope with both hands. At the same time twist your waist slightly to move your arms over to your right side and come up on to the toes of your left foot. Getting into this position is part one of the exercise as it involves a good stretch and a twist. Engage your core (stomach) muscles and keep them tight throughout the movement.
You don’t need to have ever rung a bell to know how heavy they must be – you only need to see the sheer SIZE of one to know. That’s what you need to keep in mind as you PULL that rope down, bringing it across and down in front of the body. Bend at the waist and bend the knees a little. To keep it simple you can pull down until your hands are somewhere around your left foot. Alternatively, you can release the left arm as shown in the illustration and that just opens and stretches the chest a little more. Breathe IN as you stretch up, OUT as you pull down. Reverse the movement and repeat a dozen or so times.
Keep both movements slow, and don’t just ignore the return movement – if you were really ringing a bell there would be resistance pulling you BACK as well, so keep a little tension in your body as you straighten up.
The bell-ringer pulls on the bell and the bell sounds bright: Bim – bam – bim – bam!Fitness ABC
Wood Chopping Bodyweight Exercise
As much fun as campanology is (the art of bell-ringing) this movement is more often referred to as The Woodchop, and it is a very popular core exercise. Your abdominals and side muscles (obliques) really have to work as you twist and lift. As before you are going to stretch up, but this time with an imaginary axe in your hands, then bring it down and across your body. You should feel the lift and twist pulling your stomach all over the place – that’s core work.
Take a look at this hardy lass, chopping wood in a pair of shorts AND looking happy about it. Certain fitness related words are not used as much now as they used to be, or have become something you don’t want to be called. Words like STURDY and ROBUST for example (and hardy come to think of it). These are great words though, and fantastic things to be! Ring a bell or chop some wood every day for repetitions and you too could look this good chopping wood in the snow!
How to do a Dumbbell Woodchop
There are many videos out there showing you how to do a woodchop bodyweight exercise, but this example using a dumbbell shows good form and how to keep safe knees!
When I do these exercises I alternate between holding one fist on top of another (as if holding a rope), or I interlock my fingers to keep the hands locked together. Each way of doing it feels slightly different, therefore will work your muscles slightly differently. See which way works for you.
Charles Atlas Rope Pull Variation
In the famous Charles Atlas course one of the first exercises is a little similar to this, and you might like to try that as well. There is no twisting involved, but is is sure to generate power over time.
Just grab the rope directly overhead this time and pull down forcefully until your hands are by your knees (you might need to ‘crunch’ at the waist a little to do this). Release the hands as if you were letting go of the rope, then reach your arms up again and grab the rope. I do this by raising my arms out in a big arc – it feels really good.