The Kettlebell Windmill is a seriously tough kettlebell exercise and one that the Russian bodybuilders who first experimented with the kettlebell mastered early on. They developed strong and muscular abs long before abs friendly diets, abs rollers and electrical muscle stimulators were even thought of.
In this modern day were a six pack usually trumps a set of 17 inch biceps, fantastic rear delt development and even huge calves, in the fitness industry we are all looking for the next invention leading to awesome abs or the quickest manner in which to get the traditional washboard.
What tends to happen is that we go down one route combining science, nutrition and training techniques and we always end up a few centuries in the past. Strong, powerful movements which require exceptional core strength combined with a fat burning lifestyle (whether that be diet, cardio or both) produce the best abdominals.
This leads us back to the Kettlebell windmill and the emergence of kettlebell workouts. A strength exercise in essence, most of the weight and force and dealt with by the abdominal muscles and Oblique’s, however the role the deltoids (shoulder muscles), Hamstring and Glutes play cannot be underestimated and a little tenderness post workout in these areas will pay testament to this.
Why is the kettlebell windmill better than a sit up?
As with any kettlebell exercise, at no point in the movement are you no longer bearing the weight, there are quite a few points during the traditional sit up were the abdominals actually relax which will certainly not happen with this kettlebell exercise. You don’t really need the scientific background behind the muscular work and the kinetics involved in these two movements to see the difference, just have a quick walk around your gym and see how many people who in all fairness will look out of shape but can do 50 maybe even a hundred sit ups with perfect form. Now look at the guy or girl near the kettlebells using a 14k kettlebell doing sets of 12 reps performing the kettlebell windmill – who is in better shape?
This particular kettlebell exercise is usually classified as an intermediate, isolation exercise and needs to be performed with perfect form using the correct weight for your capabilities. Do not worry if you cannot lift much weight to begin as you will experience dramatic strength increases within six weeks of trying this exercise or fitting it into your kettlebell workouts and exercise routines.
Here is how to perform the Kettlebell Windmill
- Clean and press a kettlebell overhead with one arm.
- Keeping the kettlebell locked out at all times, push your butt out in the direction of the locked out kettlebell. Keep the non-working arm behind your back and turn your feet out at a forty-five degree angle from the arm with the kettlebell.
- Lower yourself as far as possible.
- Pause for a second and reverse the motion back to the starting position.
*Always remember that most of the weight should be loaded through the leg, directly below the overhead kettlebell with force going through the heel of the foot. Naturally your body will want to shift the weght ratio to 50/50 between both of your legs to make this kettlebell exercise easier, do not allow this to happen as it will hamper your form and negate the positive effects of the exercise when performed correctly. Deliberately focus the tension of the weight and the movement through your core at all times ensuring your abdominal muscles never loose total tension throughout each and every rep*
This kettlebell exercise is a great addition to any of your usual kettlebell workouts or even as an addition to your usual abs routine. Please feel free to let us know how you are getting on with your Kettlebell windmill below.