Craig Fingrutd: RKC, AKC, MKC
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Windmills

The Windmill is a combination of a good morning stretch with a twist while performing an overhead anchor. It is not only a stretch but an excellent exercise for developing the waist, back and hips. It is one of the very few exercises that works the Performa muscle that runs along the outside edge of the gluteus near the hip. The Windmill also stretches the shoulder, scapula and lat.

This is not a beginner movement. You need to first be able to perform a Press then hold the arm locked out overhead. You should be able to hold this position for 30 seconds or more. The other technique you will need to integrate into this technique is a good morning stretch. Try this at first without any weight. Then start with a light weight. There is no need to go heavy with this technique, except when the bell is performing from the low windmill position. The form is what is most important, especially when performing any windmill.

Windmill
Low Windmill
High Low Windmill
Squat Windmill

Windmill

Start by holding the kettlebell in the rack with your feet parallel or as we say on rails . Next angle the feet 45 degrees away from the arm holding the kettlebell. Bring the kettlebell overhead with a push press or any other technique and stop with the arm locked out overhead. The free arm can be placed in several positions, to the side, behind the back, or hanging inside the body. You are now ready to perform the Windmill for up to now you have only prepared for the technique. Start to bend forward at the waist by pushing back the hip of the rear leg to the rear diagonal on same side as the arm overhead. Keep your body in alignment just as in the good morning, but you will be twisted to the side. Your arm stays extended and elbow locked out at all times. Your entire arm will rotate from the shoulder as you bend forward. Your arm will move as if screwing in a cork screw. Keep bending forward by pushing back with the hip all the while keeping the back in alignment. As you bend forward and return to the starting position, look at the bell the entire time.

The support leg or rear leg under the overhead bell has 90 percent of the weight loaded with force going through the heel of the foot. Keep both feet flat with the knee of the rear leg locked out. Only about 10 percent of weight should be on the front leg. To test yourself you should be able to lift up the forward foot a few inches off the ground while in this position. Try and keep the knee of the front leg straight but it is OK to bend it. Do NOT change the weight distribution to 50/50, this will throw off the technique. You will not be able to push out the hip if the weight is not 90 percent on the rear leg.

If extra support is needed to protect the back, let the free arm slide down along the inside of the forward leg. In the final bent over position, if the free arm is not in the behind the back position, reach for the floor and place your open hand in between the legs while the bell is overhead. Keep the upper armed pulled back and the shoulder packed at all times. If you don't need the support of your free arm on the leg try and place it behind you directly along the back of the waist. From this lower position take a deep breath and use the exhalation to release tension and go deeper into the stretch. Keep out of your lower back at all times, as if you were performing a modified good morning. NEVER loose total tension in the core area.

For the final movement while you are bent forward, add an extra twist and turn as much as you can to the back plane with the bell pulling back while extending out of your hips and lower back. To rise back up, keep your tension and move backward along the same path until you are standing with the bell overhead. This should be performed with total control of the body and kettlebell. This is a slow technique, it should not be performed quickly.

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Starting position
Using the front leg as support
 
The free arm is behind the back
 
Nice stretch with free arm extended to the floor

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Low Windmill

The Low Windmill works as a negative to the regular Windmill. Instead of having the weight overhead the weight is lifted off the floor. Start with all the same basics as the Windmill but there is no bell in the overhead position. Instead there is a bell between your legs resting on the floor. Bend forward as in the Windmill but pick up the bell from the floor and raise up to a standing position. This negative movement will improve your form when performing the Windmill. This is a good exercise where once you get use to the movement you can use a heavy weight. The Low Windmill is basically a bent over dead lift but it follows the same form as a Windmill.
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Starting with the bell on floor
 
On the way up
 
Finished
 

 

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High Low Windmill

The High Low Windmill is a power technique. This combines the Windmill and the Low Windmill techniques. Start as if performing a Windmill, but place a kettlebell on the floor between your legs. Proceed to go through the motions of the basic. At the bottom of the movement pick up the kettlebell off the floor as you rise up. Lower the bell back down while doing the basic Windmill action. At the bottom you can rest the kettlebell on the floor to go deeper and pick it up on the rise and repeat. Another variation is to not let either bell to rest on the floor until you are done.
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The starting position
After the basic windmill and the grasp of bottom kettlebell
On the rise up
Completion of rise

2 bell windmill video

 

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Squat Windmill

The Squat Windmill uses the same upper body movement as the Windmill but performs a squat instead of standing up. Stand with the kettlebell in an overhead position, then bend forward and squat at the same time. Again rotate the shoulder while keeping the arm locked out. This version of the windmill will work your shoulder more then the other windmills as you can get much deeper as the shoulder rotates. The free arm will stay inside and press against the inside of the thigh.

Put in 3 new pictures, use same size, etc

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Starting with the bell on floor
 
On the way up
 
Finished
 

 

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