by Dave Thomas

Our perspective is that an athlete should have just as much strength in slow, controlled movements that require a high degree of stability as they do in high speed barbell movements that display power and athleticism. The kettlebell windmill is an excellent tool to train the former and reveal weakness. A lot of time, great athletes can perform athletic movements quite well, but not as a result of being highly trained so much as natural athletes.

The kettlebell windmill is very good at forcing the training aspect of strength, and is highly proficient in training strength in the shoulder, lats, obliques, hamstrings, adductors and glutes. In addition, it is a great tool to work active mobility in the hip extensors, as well as stability in the shoulder and in the anterior core, specifically the obliques. The shoulder is a joint known for great mobility, but it was very poor stability, so the windmill (as well as the Turkish Get-Up) is a great tool to train it.

While it might look complicated, the execution of windmill is really quite simple. In this video below, we’ve answered the question on how to do a kettlebell windmill, as well as provided regressions for the kettlebell windmill and step-by-step guide to the movement.

A few tips to keep in mind.

  • Angle the toes out roughly 45 degrees away from the body.
  • Always keep the rear leg at full knee extension, the front knee can flex a little bit.
  • Wrist should not be extended. Bell should sit in the the meat of the thumb pad, not the fingertips. “Knuckles to the sky.”
  • When descending, shift the weight into your back hip.
  • The arm should trace down the inner leg and arrive at the arch of the foot. It should never travel outside of the leg.
  • At bottom, you should be able to draw a relatively straight line from wrist-to-wrist.
  • Keep eye contact with the kettlebell as best you can. 
  • Width of feet will depend on the athlete’s hamstring and adductor flexibility. 
  • Do not come out of the gates hot. Build up with light weight and leave your ego at the door. 

The following regressions are appropriate for beginners or those who are highly inflexible.

  1. Weightless Windmill
  2. Deadlift Windmill 

Once the athlete is comfortable with the demands placed on the hamstrings and the obliques, they may proceed with weighted, full windmills.