The windmill is an advanced kettlebell move that combines shoulder stabilization, thoracic rotation, and hip/ hamstring mobilization. Mastering this exercise improves motor control, flexibility, coordination and mid-line stabilization. It will also improve your overhead strength.The following breakdown provides instructions, starting from the feet up, to learn the windmill.
- Foot Position - Start with your feet directly under your hips. Your feet placement will be a little more narrow compared to the squat. Turn your feet away from the arm that is overhead at a 45-degree angle. Your feet should remain parallel to each other.
- Hip Position - Hinge at the hips, pushing your hips back like you have an attitude problem. This will feel like a hip hinge, but also like you are cocking your hips out over your back foot. Keep your hips square to your feet. Do not let them twist toward your front foot. Your rear hip should remain above or outside your rear foot.
- Weight Distribution - Keep your back leg straight. Bend softly thorugh your front leg. Your weight distribution should be roughly 80% rear foot and 20% front foot.
- Overhead Position - Keep your overhead arm locked out with a straight wrist. Keep your lats engaged by pulling your shoulder away from your ear.
- Spinal Twist- Twist your shoulders as you lower into the windmill. Think about pressing your lower shoulder forward and keeping your chest tall throughout the movement.
The goal is not to touch the ground, but simply to go as far as you can while maintaining form. When trying to touch the ground, most people will sacrifice their spine position. In order to prevent losing your neutral spine, focus on your ribs. If the ribs on your overhead arm's side are expanding or the your whole rib cage is moving away from your pelvis, you have lost neutral spine. This may be difficult to feel if you are doing it right so use a friend or video to watch your form.
When first learning the windmill I encourage to always start with your body weight. Simply make a fist overhead and keep your eyes on your fist as you practice the movement. Once you feel confident and fluid in the movement pattern, advance to adding weight!
First time doing the windmill ? Let me know what you think!
Yours in health,