How To Do The Floor Wipers Exercise Properly

The floor wipers exercise is performed exactly how it sounds- you wipe the floor, quite literally.

It is an extremely challenging workout that recruits several muscle groups at a go, including the hard-to-reach ones like your obliques.

You can do it with or without weights. The non-weighted version, also known as the three-kick windshield wiper, is the one we’re discussing in this article.

Here’s how to do it correctly:

  • Lie on your back in a “T” position, with your legs extended and your arms out to the side.
  • Bend your knees, bringing them over your hips.
  • Tighten your abs as you slowly lower your legs downward toward your left side.
  • Extend your left leg out in a kicking motion.
  • Kick the leg out three times, engaging your obliques each time.
  • Raise your legs towards the middle to get back to your starting position.
  • Repeat these steps on the other side.
  • Continue for a minute.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE FLOOR WIPERS EXERCISE WORK?

CORE

Your core is the main focus of the floor wipers exercise.

This movement activates all the muscles that make up your core, including your obliques, rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis muscles.

 

With this exercise, you will also get to work the erector spinae on your lower back which stays on the floor the whole time to provide you with stability throughout the exercise.

Your gluteal muscles are also activated during this exercise to help with hip mobility and stability.

Apart from the above mentioned muscles, this movement also works your arms, legs and the pectorals on your chest.

BENEFITS OF THE FLOOR WIPERS EXERCISE

STRONGER CORE

The floor wipers exercise helps build your core strength by working both your upper and lower abs, as well as the hard-to-reach obliques at your side.

COMPOUND EXERCISE

This exercise targets multiple muscle groups at once, which means it can help you work almost your entire body within a very short time.

BETTER POSTURE

Like every other core exercise, the floor wipers exercise helps improve your posture by working both your core and lower back which are responsible for your posture.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE FLOOR WIPERS EXERCISE

STRAIGHT LEG RAISE

The straight leg raise is a version of the floor wipers exercise that does not require weights.

Also, instead of moving your legs diagonally like in the floor wipers exercise, you just raise and lower them alternately.

When doing this exercise, you should make sure to engage your abs throughout since the focus is on them. This will help protect your lower back as well.

Steps:

  • Lie on your back (in a supine position). You can use a mat or in the alternative, tuck both hands under your butt with your palms facing down for extra support.
  • Keep your legs straight and squeeze them together as you slowly raise them upwards and then lower them down to get to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of about 10 reps each.

If you choose to use weights for this exercise, you should opt for light ankle weights.

V-SIT

Also known as the v-up or the v-situp, this ab exercise is designed to build your core strength by working multiple core muscles at a go while also challenging your ability to maintain your balance.

How to do it:

  • Begin by sitting on the floor with your feet and hands on the floor too.
  • Tighten your core slowly and raise your legs as you extend them until you get to the point where they are at a 45-degree angle with your upper body.
  • Reach your arms forward or up toward your shins if you are flexible enough. Your limbs should form a “V” shape.
  • Hold this position for some seconds before slowly returning to the starting position as your core remains tight.
  • Stop lowering your legs just before they hit the floor and hold this position for a second or two.
  • Repeat this movement as many times as you desire.

Make sure you don’t hold your breath all through this exercise as this could interfere with your core engagement.

You should also avoid rounding your shoulders forward so that your spine stays straight and stable from start to finish.

REVERSE CRUNCH

The reverse crunch puts your core muscles under tension for a relatively long period of time to give your core a proper workout.

Steps:

  • Lie down on the floor with your arms by your sides.
  • Raise your legs slowly so that your knees are bent at 90 degrees and your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.
  • Exhale and tighten your abs to bring your knees towards your chest as you raise both hips off the floor.
  • Hold for a few seconds then lower your legs to the starting position.

Make sure you move slowly and with control to get the most out of this exercise.

FLOOR WIPERS EXERCISE MISTAKES TO AVOID

FAILING TO WARM UP

Never fail to warm up before doing this exercise.

This way, you’ll stretch your muscles and release the tension in them so that they are maximally activated before you get to working them.

FAILING TO SUPPORT YOUR BACK

Although it’s not really a requirement, it is advisable to use a mat for extra back support since you will be lying down throughout the exercise.

If you don’t have a mat, you can instead tuck your hands under your butt so that you don’t strain your back.

NOT BENDING YOUR KNEES

Failing to bend your knees will likely strain your lower back and put you at risk of injury.

WRAPPING UP

The floor wipers exercise is a challenging, yet highly effective way to increase your overall strength since it recruits several muscles at once.

Beginners may benefit more if they start with simpler versions such as the straight leg raise before progressing to the more advanced versions like the weighted versions.

You may want to have a word with your doctor before adding this exercise to your routine, especially if you are on any medication or you are pregnant.