The kettlebell windmill is an exercise that I think everyone that works out should be incorporating in some way into their workouts routines.
I have used this movement with great success in a number of different situation with clients. The other reason I thought of this exercise to post is after doing my deadlifts the other day I finished my workout with some windmills which I think is a great thing to do after deadlifts. I remember talking with Pavel years ago and he suggested it to me to do after deadlifting. If you missed the the 4 Tips to a Stronger Deadlift Video & Blog I suggest you go and check it out.
Here is a list of the reason the kettlebell windmill is such a great exercise.
Kettlebell Windmill Reason 1: Decrease Back Pain
When we have lower back pain it is usually a sign of a couple of things taking place or rather not taking place in the body. Lower back pain can be caused by limited range of motion of our hamstrings. Improper function of our glutes muscle and weak core muscles. By increasing the range of motion and increasing flexibility in your posterior chain muscles like the hamstrings and glutes the lower back is alleviated from pain. The windmill position causes us to put a great stretch on our hamstrings which will usually take some stress off of the low back. What it also does is require us to brace our core in order to perform the movement and when we strengthen the core we are decreasing the amount of load gets displaced in the low back causing our pain.
Kettlebell Windmill Reason 2: Increased Range of Motion in the Hamstrings
The kettlebell windmill will primarily work on increasing the range of motion in your hamstrings. You cannot perform this exercise without it doing so. What I really like about the windmill is it stretches each leg individually instead of together. This allows for greater increases in each hamstring muscle because one leg is not compensating and doing the work for the other. The other nice thing about this movement is it teaches us how to fire our hamstring and glute muscles from a stretched position. In order to get up from the bottom position of the windmill you must ground your heel into the ground and fire the hamstring and glute muscles of the single leg.
Kettlebell Windmill Reason 3: Glute Activation
Much like the hamstring each glute muscle is being worked individually teaches us how to contract the glute muscle from the bottom position in order to get back up. This is extremely important for pretty much anyone. Without glutes being fired, you can forget about jumping, running, hitting, getting out of a chair or enjoying the midnight move:) O yeah and that back pain we talked about, that will still be present without working glute muscles.
Kettlebell Windmill Reason 4: Core Strengthening
The windmill is what we consider a Dynamic Integrated Stabilization exercise. While the main focus of the core is to protect your spine and back by bracing the core muscles, we are doing this in a dynamic way. Our hips are moving while our shoulders are stabilizing causing our core to work even harder to maintain it’s control of the movement being done. This is a much more effective way of taking a basic core strengthening exercise and progressing it to increase the strength of the core musculature.
Kettlebell Windmill Reason 5: Shoulder Stabilization
Another awesome component of the windmill is the shoulder stability practice you get. In order to hold a kettlebell in an over head position you are working all the stabilizers of the shoulder joint. The windmill teaches one to pack the shoulder into it’s proper position and hold that position for a period of time while moving your body into different positions. This will greatly decrease the risk of injury to the shoulder and give you a much healthy shoulder.
Kettlebell Windmill Progression Video
Here is a video of 3 progressions of the Kettlebell Windmill: