While some exercises require furious speed and numerous reps to make an impact on your fitness, keeping it slow and steady is the key to kettlebell windmill success. You shouldn’t expect an easy ride because of this lack of dynamism, however, as this particular activity requires plenty of strength and perfect form.
It might be tough to get used to the windmill’s movements, but once you have, you’ll be improving the strength of your core and shoulders, as well as boosting mobility and flexibility in yours hips, lower back and legs.
How To Do It
Start standing with your feet shoulder width apart, then turn them so they are pointing 45 degrees in the direction you are going to bend towards. Then you need to get your weight, be it a kettlebell, dumbbell or sandbell over your head in the hand opposite the direction your feet have turned.
Lock out the arm holding the weight above you, and keep it that way for the rest of the exercise. The other arm should hang down towards your feet. Look up at the weight, push out your hips in that direction and fold forward until you can touch your feet with the hanging arm, or until you reach the limits of your flexibility, whichever happens first. Brace at the glutes and slowly return to the starting position. Keep your back straight throughout the movement.
Aim for five to 10 windmills on one side before switching to the other.
See related :
- The Best Kettlebell Exercises For All Levels Of Gym-Goer
- The Best Kettlebells: Plus, Black Friday Deals On The Best Kettlebells
- Brace Yourself For This 10-Minute Kettlebell Workout
Kettlebell Windmill Variations
The natural place to start if you’re not ready to start wielding kettlebells just yet. You lose some of the benefits for your shoulder strength but performing the exercise without any weight will still do wonders for the mobility and flexibility of your hips and lower legs, while also working your core. The movement is exactly the same as with the kettlebell version of the exercise, just without the weight.
Overhead kettlebell hold
Another solid exercise that will help you progress up to the full windmill. Holding the kettlebell above you at full stretch during the windmill is a stern test of your shoulder strength and stability, so it’s worth building that up with some static overhead holds. Hold the kettlebell directly above your shoulder with a straight arm for 60 seconds.
Double kettlebell windmill
If you want a progression from the kettlebell windmill, try holding one bell in each hand as you move. This increases the challenge to your core and hamstrings, resulting in greater strength benefits. Before you give this variation a whirl, try doing the windmill just holding one kettlebell in your bottom hand to get used to the different feel of the exercise.
Get the Coach Newsletter
Sign up for workout ideas, training advice, reviews of the latest gear and more.
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.