The windmill exercise is an entire body movement that can be performed using kettlebells, dumbbells, or with no weight completely.
When performed with the correct technique, it guarantees hip, shoulder, and core strength. It is performed by bending the body to the sides while holding weights overhead.
It can be performed with anyone whose fitness level ranges between moderate and advanced.
To perform the advanced weight variations, you must be able to move weight over your head and hold it at that position-which necessitates shoulder mobility. You can opt for the windmill variation with no weights.
Also known as Windmill
Targeted Muscle Groups: Deltoids, Rotator cuffs, Rhomboids, Core, Traps, Glutes, and Hamstrings
Required Equipment: Kettlebells/Dumbbells
Exercise type: Strength
Exercise Mechanics: Compound
Difficulty Level: Advanced
- Assume a hip width stance.
- With your right hand, hold a dumbbell and lift it over your head. Ensure your right foot is directly under the weight and your opposite foot is angled outwards with your toes facing the same direction as your knees.
- Brace your core and pull your shoulder blades down and back. Put your left hand on your thigh with your palm up.
- Rotate your upper body such that your left shoulder turns down towards the floor. Move your hips towards your right side. At this point, most of your weight should be on your left leg. Focus on the direction of your weight.
- Lean towards your side. Ensure your right leg is straight and bend your left leg slightly. Keep your gaze on the weight.
- Lean down as far as you comfortably can reaching towards your leg. Feel the stretch at the back of your left leg and the right side of your upper body. Concentrate on stabilizing the weight using your right shoulder.
- Untwist your torso and squeeze your left glute and hamstring as you stand back up. Keep the dumbbell stable over your head and your left palm on your leg as you do this.
- Repeat for the recommended sets of reps, take a rest then switch sides.
- Remember to set your shoulder blade down and back before you start bending to your sides.
- Do not hinge at your waist, instead, hinge at your hip and keep it moving outwards towards the side of your waist as you move down.
- Ensure your bottom arm stays vertical to the ground throughout the session. Ensure the weight is centered above your body to keep your shoulders stable.
- As you lower your body, you should feel your weighted side stretch. Only bend as far as you comfortably can. Stick to your range of motion.
- Choose the weight and sets of reps and motion range that you can comfortably work with. This will alleviate muscle imbalances and train the targeted muscles effectively.
MUSCLES WORKED BY THE WINDMILL EXERCISE
The main muscles worked by the windmill exercise are:
Delts and rotator cuffs: The deltoids are the muscles located alongside the shoulder muscles and help with movement. They help in muscle abduction, meaning they will allow you to raise your arms to the sides.
Additionally, the exercise will work the glutes, rhomboids, traps, core, and hamstring.
BENEFITS OF THE WINDMILL EXERCISE
IT IS EASY TO SET-UP
The windmill exercise is suitable for a home gym because it utilizes little space. Setting up the mat will take up a tiny space in your living room, making its setup relatively simple. Also, it requires minimal equipment, making it easy to perform indoors or outdoors.
IT WILL TON YOUR BODY
The windmill exercise will work several muscles in your body. Therefore, it will strengthen them. Also, the movement copies how we move when performing daily activities. For instance, lifting the kettlebell off the ground mimics how we lift the objects we interact with in our daily lives. Such movements will tone the body and will improve your performance in your daily activities.
IT WILL CONTROL THE LEVEL OF GLUCOSE IN YOUR BODY
The windmill exercise is a high-intensity workout that will help you lower your blood glucose levels. Therefore, it will track your insulin level, allowing you to live a healthier lifestyle. This makes it a suitable exercise for people working long hours while seated.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE WINDMILL EXERCISE
The Romanian Deadlift is an exercise that relies on lifting dumbbells or a barbell to develop and improve the strength of your posterior muscles, such as the glutes, erector spinae, abductors, and hamstring. It is an effective exercise for a stronger core and will improve your lower body movement, making it a suitable alternative to the windmill exercise.
- Begin the move by standing with the weights in your hands.
- Lower the weights gradually while maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Also, bend your hips and maintain a straight back.
- Lower the weights until you feel your hamstrings stretch. This will occur when the weights go past your knees.
- Return to the starting position by thrusting your hips forward. Use your hamstring to power the movement.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING THE WINDMILL EXERCISE
The secret to reaping the exercise’s full benefits depends on your rotation when tilting to the side. However, some people fail to rotate when they tilt to the side. It mostly occurs when you fail to monitor the placement of your hands during the lowering phase.
Instead, counter the tilting by rotating your torso enough to allow the hands to move in front of the leg, and not to the sides.
BENDING YOUR KNEES
Another common problem with windmill exercise is the bending of the knees. This often occurs to less flexible people. The problem with bending too much is – it will reduce the workload, reducing the exercise’s benefits.
Instead, soften the knees on the side on the side you will lower your arms. This will reduce the bend, increasing the workload. As a result, you will gain maximum benefits from the exercise.
The windmill exercise is a suitable workout for full body strength. It targets a wide range of muscles and improves the strength and performance of those muscles. Being an advanced exercise, it is more challenging and requires mastery. Follow its steps carefully to avoid injuries and perform it in the correct form.
If the exercise is too difficult for you, try its alternatives, such as the Romanian deadlift, which is simpler and more effective for working a similar group of muscles.
If you are looking for a challenging compound exercise, try the windmill exercise.