If you like the kettlebell windmill, check out my Kettlebell Moves page for a lot more exercises!
The windmill is a fun exercise that requires a lot of shoulder stability and focuses particularly on the obliques. The kettlebell windmill will push the limits of your hamstring flexibility. This exercise closely resembles triangle pose in yoga. In fact, the shape of the exercise is pretty much exactly the same, with the exception of holding a weight overhead.
Success in this exercise requires that you possess the shoulder strength to hold the kettlebell overhead in a locked out position. Before progressing through the steps below, ensure that you can do that through a clean and press.
- Clean and press the kettlebell overhead, and then pivot your feet 45 degrees to the side that you will be leaning towards (away from the side holding the kettlebell). While keeping the bell locked out overhead, shift your hips out to the side that is holding the kettlebell. For instance, if you are holding the kettlebell in your right hand, you will want to shift your hip out to the right side.
- Lower the non working hand toward the foot of the leg you are leaning towards. So if you are holding the bell overhead with your right hand, you are shifting your hips out to the right and lowering the left hand towards the inside of the left foot.
- It is OK to slightly bend the forward knee, however, the goal is to eventually keep the leg straight. Do not push yourself beyond the limits of your flexibility. You will develop improvements over time and with practice.
Eventually, you will be able to touch the ground with your fingertips, and then the palm of your hand. An advanced stage can even include placing the non working hand behind your back and leaning as far as your flexibility allows.
Reverse the movement on an exhale to return to the starting position.
If you begin to lose stability at any point in time, back out of the exercise! You could seriously damage your shoulder or your back by forcing your way through this exercise.
Allow the downward (non-working) hand to slide down the inside of the forward leg. This allows you to be aware of your depth and range of motion without removing your eyes from the kettlebell.
If you have tight hips, you will notice that the forward knee will want to bow inwards. This is an unhealthy bend and could lead to injury in your knee. You can compensate this by taking a wider stance so that your feet are spaced apart instead of being in line with each other. You can also lessen the range of motion of your upper body. Your flexibility will improve over time allowing you to go deeper into the exercise.