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How do I Perform a Kettlebell Windmill?

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  • Written By: T. Alaine
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2016
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A kettlebell windmill is a type of weight-bearing exercise designed to target core and back muscles. The only equipment you need to perform a kettlebell windmill is one kettlebell in a weight suitable to your personal strength and ability. To perform a basic kettlebell windmill, you will use a simple but specific body position progression while holding the weighted bell.

First, you must select a kettlebell of appropriate weight. Do not start out with too heavy of a weight, especially if you are new to exercise in general, or if you have never lifted with kettlebells. Test out a few different weights by using one arm to lift the kettlebell over your head. If you can not hold the weight with one arm while that arm is fully extended above your head, you have selected a weight that is too heavy. It is generally better, especially for beginners, to be cautious when choosing weights; you can always increase if you choose too small of a kettlebell, but beginning with too large a weight can cause injury.

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Once you have determined an appropriate weight and selected your kettlebell, stand facing straight ahead with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell between them on the floor in front of you. With your right hand, grab the kettlebell by the handle and stand straight up, holding the weight at your chest. Rotate both of your feet 45 degrees to the left, so they are pointing away from the arm holding the kettlebell. From this position, hoist the kettlebell into the air, and hold it above your head with your arm fully extended. This is the starting position for a kettlebell windmill.

Next, rotate your torso so your chest is angled toward the kettlebell and your extended arm. Slowly lower your upper body by reaching your free hand down toward the floor as far as you can. Try to touch the fingertips of your free hand to the ground in front of your foot, and ideally strive to place your entire palm flat against the floor. The kettlebell should still be high above your head, with your arm fully extended. After touching the ground with your free hand, slowly lift your torso back up to the starting position.

Repeat the lowering motion for several repetitions; generally, very heavy weights should be lifted for 6–10 repetitions and less heavy weights should be lifted for 12–15 repetitions. When you have completed the desired number of repetitions, rotate your feet and torso so they are facing straight ahead, and lower the kettlebell first to your chest, and then to the floor. You may now either rest for a few moments before continuing, or immediately lift the kettlebell with your left hand to begin completing kettlebell windmills for the other side of your body.

All the movements to perform a kettlebell windmill on opposite side will be the same, but the directions will be reversed. This time, you will hold the kettlebell in your left hand with your left arm extended above your head, and your feet will be rotated 45 degrees to the right, so they are facing away from your left arm. You will lower your torso so that your right hand touches the ground, and repeat the movement for the same number of repetitions as the first side.

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