Ask Men’s Fitness: Is Splitting Wood a Good Workout?


If you split enough wood, says former competitive lumberjack Brett McLeod, “you’ll be as strong as the ax you swing.” But before you start hacking at the trees behind your house, you’ll need a splitting block—usually a large log—to rest under the wood you’re splitting as a safety catch for the ax, McLeod says. Also, choose a heavier ax that provides a bigger head (and a better workout). To start, stand with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart. With one hand at the bottom of the handle and one at the top, raise the ax straight above your head; slide the top hand down as you swing, and hit the wood on its front edge. Repeat. Although your biceps, abs, and shoulders will burn, you’ll feel like a man. (True story: A 2013 study in Evolution & Human Behavior found that tree chopping significantly boosts testosterone.)

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