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Stabilise the Shoulders, Strengthen the Waist and Mobilise the Hip all with this exercise

The kettlebell windmill. A very commonly performed drill, and rightly so. when done well it has many benefits not least of which are:

  1. shoulder stability

  2. core strength

  3. hip mobility & strength

So it’s a drill worth learning, and worth learning well.

Set up as follows:

  1. Feet approx shoulder width, maybe wider if needed.

  2. Legs straight, and kept as straight as possible throughout the drill.

  3. Core braced tight.

  4. Shoulders pulled back and down.

  5. Arm on the working side pointing straight up, eyes fixed on this hand.

  6. Other arm acting as a guide following the inside of “unloaded” leg.

Simple eh?

The most common mistakes are not looking up and overbending of the legs. If you don’t look up it becomes very difficult to keep the chest high and also stabilise the kettle if it is in the top hand. You are essentially putting the back at risk as well as running the risk of loosing control of the bell by simply not looking up. Over bending the legs is often done as a compensation for a lack of hip mobility. While not too serious in most cases, people with poor glute function end up twisting themselves into all sorts of weird positions, knee valgus (bowing in) is particularly common. Don’t be confused, we don’t need perfect locked out knees, just try to keep them as straight as possible. If this means a reduced range of motion, so be it. Have patience and work on slowly and gradually adding depth.

But how deep should you go? Thats down to the individual. Go as far as you can safely manage and no further. As you loosen up your range of motion will gradually improve, just have patience.

Here’s a video clip detailing and demonstrating the lift:


Take care with this, learn it slowly and carefully, it will reward patience and persistence. Most people do well starting with the kettle in the bottom hand before graduating to the top position and finally doubles. Going too hard too soon will cause nothing but pain.

Regards Dave

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