In the exercise world there are many different variations to the same type of movement and in those variations there can be different approaches to those variations and movements. Not all of these methods are bad and not all of them are good, as always it depends on the person their capabilities and whatever issues they may presently have. One of those moves in the fitness and kettlebell training world is the windmill exercise.

The windmill is an awesome move that can be used for stretching out the hip abductors and for working on a rotation exercise with kettlebell training. It also offers other benefits, but for the sake of making this post readable I won’t share all of them. Just as it is with using the swing as a beneficial exercise many people attempt to do these moves without proper instruction, which can end up making it a harmful, move for the user instead of one that will make the exerciser better.

(windmills like this will get you to your doctor)

Oftentimes exercises are labeled as bad due to the move being done poorly or some cases a muscular imbalance in the person’s movement patterns. I can see the windmill ending up in that “camp,” if once again it isn’t executed in a way that is safe and beneficial to the person. This move requires that one must sit into their hip, keep their shoulder “packed,” avoid lumbar rotation and flexion, keep an abs brace and lastly focus on doing the movement and not some external weight or objective so much. (Touching the floor etc.)

 

Sit into your hip:
It seems like one of the biggest mistakes that people make with this move is to treat as if it were a unloaded yoga move that would be safe to not to sit into your hip. However, since today’s post is about the kettlebell windmill which entails external loading you will need to sit into your hip or hinge back. Think back not down!

Keep your shoulder packed:
This drill is an incredible loaded stretch. But is also a shoulder stability and thoracic rotation drill at the same time. But in order to ensure that we are getting the full benefit of the drill you will need to create what I call conscious stability. This is done by pulling the shoulder down into its socket and rotating your hand as you sit into your hip. Finally as these two things are going on, you will want to rotate your t-spine and not your low back. If you put these things to work you will get greater gains in mobility and strength from this advanced kettlebell move!

Keep your eyes on the load the whole time:
As with shoulder packing this focus is important for the safety and effectiveness of this exercise. Your focus and deliberate gaze should be on the back of the kettlebell at all times as you practice it. Just as with the Get-up, it will increase your stability and strength.

 

Keep your abs tight:
This focus once again is needed for stability. The abs brace is the way to not lean back especially on the lock out of the move. Once again keeping tight in you middle will help you stabilize the bell better as well! In addition to all of these safety pointers, it will help you burn more calories as you follow them!

Stay within your range of motion:
Once again different people have different approaches to this move. But for the sake of this post, in my experience and for health reasons do not go further than your ability to keep you spine long and back flat goes. Our culture already has too much spinal flexion (rounding it) in it as it is; we don’t need to add it in as we are training as well.

Keep your weight on your back leg:
This movement is essentially a single leg stance drill. so be very light your front leg as if there were a sleeping bear there that you don’t want to wake up! If you do this your weight will shift back and you will get an amazing stretch in your back leg, create a better hinge and stability; Which means as I have written a hundred times today, “make it more effective!”

The preceding pointers are geared towards safe bio-mechanics and if you follow them will lead to a more effective movement that will lead to you progressing into more advanced variations. They will also enable you to utilize this challenging and beneficial move throughout your life with less time off due to injury and over use. Did I mention that they will help you burn more calories as well?!

So remember to practice: sitting into your hip, keep your shoulder packed while doing it, keep your eyes on the bell, tighten your abs, keep your back flat , while keeping 80% of your weight on your back Leg. “Also don’t forget to chew bubble gum as you walk backwards on a straight line while reciting the alphabet backwards!”

 

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