How to do it, benefits and variations   


Windmill exercise is an incredible full body workout that can be done using a dumbbell, kettlebell or no weight at all.

When done consistently and correctly, this exercise can help target entire major muscles, including the hips, shoulders, abs, core and glutes. Moreover, it helps boost strength and stability throughout the core muscles and improves flexibility in the hips and hamstrings.

Read on to learn how to do the windmill workout correctly, along with the benefits this full body exercise offers.

How to do the windmill exercise correctly?


  • Begin by standing with your feet positioned slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • Turn your right toe straight to the side at a 90-degree angle, and reach your left arm up towards the ceiling. Allow your right hand to hang down at your side, and keep your gaze on your left hand.
  • With your core muscles engaged, slowly push your hips towards your left, and slide your right hand down your right leg to reach your ankle using the abs to stabilize yourself.
  • Make sure the right arm is perpendicular to the ground and the left leg is straight throughout the move. To prevent the knees to get locked, bend your right leg slightly.
  • Push down through your feet, and rise back up to the starting position while keeping the abs tight and back straight the entire time.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps before switching sides.

Before you start the windmill exercise, though, remember to warm up with some jump rope or spot jogging to activate the muscles and boost blood circulation. You can also do some full body stretches to warm up the hips, hamstrings, abdomen, shoulders and other major muscles.

Benefits of windmill exercise

Windmill exercise improves shoulder stability. (Photo via Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto)
Windmill exercise improves shoulder stability. (Photo via Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto)

There are several benefits to doing windmill exercise regularly. First of all, being a full body workout, this exercise helps target and strengthen major lower and upper body muscles at once.

It helps boost core stability by recruiting even deeper core muscles and improves hip function while reducing risk of muscle strains and injuries. The windmill workout also works wonders in improving shoulder stability and strength and improves muscle coordination and control.

It allows for a wider range of motion throughout the scapular region and helps build strength and size of the shoulders. Additionally, this exercise helps in stretching the obliques, hips and hamstrings while building strength across the glutes and quads.

Common variations

There are several ways to perform the windmill workout. You can either do it as a bodyweight exercise or add a dumbbell or kettlebell to increase the challenge. Below, we have listed some of the most common variations of the windmill workout that can help level up your training:

#1 Kettlebell windmill

To do this variation, start by standing straight and placing a kettlebell in front of you. Engage the core, and bend your knees to grab the kettlebell with your left hand.

Bring the weight to your shoulder height, and continue the exercise as the standard version. When doing the exercise, keep your focus on the kettlebell and left arm locked to have control.

#2 Dumbbell windmill

In this variation, instead of using a kettlebell, grab a dumbbell in your raised hand, and perform the movement.

#3 Kneeling windmill

Kneeling windmill exercise variation is done in a kneeling position. (Photo via Instagram/gabbymbarreto)
Kneeling windmill exercise variation is done in a kneeling position. (Photo via Instagram/gabbymbarreto)

This windmill exercise variation is done in a kneeling position. To do it, start with your left knee on the ground and a dumbbell or a kettlebell in your right hand. Place your right foot out wide to balance, and engage the abs.

Slowly twist your body, and try to touch your left elbow to the floor by lowering it. Engage the glutes, and come back up to the start, and repeat the exercise by placing your left hand on the floor. Push back up, and complete a few more reps. Perform the exercise on both sides.

#4 Double kettlebell windmill

In this windmill exercise variation, grab a kettlebell in each hand. Hold the kettlebell overhead in one hand, and hold the other in your lowered arm for more resistance.

Overall, the windmill exercise is a great workout that can spice up your full body strength training routine. When doing this exercise, though, you need to be mindful of your form and technique. Incorrect form can lead to muscle strains and even injuries.

So, to attain all the benefits of this productive exercise, keep your form correct, and also do not forget to keep your core muscles tight throughout the move.

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