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The Unlock With Michelle Wie West

The golf legend puts her own unique twist on the Rotational Chop to build body awareness and generate explosive power.

Michelle Wie West swinging a golf club.

Golf champion Michelle Wie West turned pro at age 16. Known for her 300-yard drives and on-course savvy, she won five professional tournaments and even made a few forays into men’s professional events. Now, the 32-year-old is harnessing her strength with Tonal and eyeing a full-time return to professional golf. 

In this episode of The Unlock, a series that highlights one key move that takes even an elite athlete’s game to the next level, Wie West shares her go-to exercise that’s all about increasing body awareness and generating power: the Rotational Chop. Her unique twist? Adding a pause at the top.  

The Benefit

While everyone’s golf setup and swing might look different, proper sequencing is essential. The pause at the top of the Rotational Chop ensures you utilize the full range of motion in your backswing and sets you up for proper sequencing. Then, you engage your legs before using your hips and core in the right kinetic sequence to power away from the Tonal—the same way you would initiate your golf swing with the lower body before allowing the upper body to follow. “I love the rotational chop because it really allows you to feel the separation between your upper and lower body, which is the X-factor in golf,” says Wie West. 

The How

  • First, attach the rope and adjust one Tonal arm to the top height. 
  • Start in a wide stance with the trainer to your right side and your weight on your right foot. 
  • Grab the rope with both hands, arms fully extended. 
  • Pull the rope down toward you, driving your elbows into your body.
  • Shift the weight from your right foot to your left, pivot your hips, and extend your arms just beyond your left foot.
  • Reverse the motion to return to the starting position.  

The Key Point

The pause at the top creates an awareness of where your body is in space. “During that pause, don’t let the weight just hang,” says Tonal sports performance specialist Max Artsis. “Instead, create tension through your core as you load your back leg, as if someone is about to punch you in the stomach.” In golf, your back leg is similarly loaded in your backswing. You don’t want to initiate forward movement with your arms. Instead, the drive phase of both the rotational chop and the golf swing begins in the lower body and moves through the hips and thoracic spine before powering through the arms. 

The Level Up

Artsis recommends using Eccentric Mode to emphasize the weight transfer into the back leg, then exaggerating the pause at the top of the movement to create tension.“ Or, use Chains Mode to highlight the weight transfer into the lead leg to get a better feel for initiating movement from your lower body and then rotating all the way through,” he says. 

The Scale Down

“If you’re a beginner, don’t feel threatened by this exercise,” says Artsis. If you’re unsteady, reduce to a weight that feels manageable and move slowly so you can master the movement and feel the weight transfer while focusing on generating power. 

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