When selecting core exercises, the first thing you should consider is risk versus reward. For example: Crunches can really make your abs pop. But they can also wreak havoc on your spine, as you’re continuously rounding it with every rep.

But good news—there are plenty of other moves that are worth doing, and the kettlebell windmill is one of them. Here’s why:

  • You work on your hinging pattern: Hinging at the hips strengthens your posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, and lower back) and is required for a lot of movements like kettlebell swings and deadlifts. Also, as we age our ability to hinge weakens, so reinforcing the movement will only strengthen and preserve your hinging ability over time.
  • Extra lat work: In order to stabilize the weight, the lifter has to engage his lats, which will recruit more back muscle and spare your shoulder joint, the other stabilizer, from potential injury.
  • Anti-rotation: Your torso will want to rotate as you bend down. Don’t let it. Instead, resist the rotation, as fighting your body’s natural instinct will strengthen your core more than actively rotating it.

How to Do It: Kettlebell Windmill

  1. Press a kettlebell directly overhead, maintaining an extended arm.
  2. Turn the foot opposite of the loaded arm outward.
  3. With your unloaded arm, reach down and touch next to your toes. Keep your legs straight and your chest out.
Man preparing to lift kettlebell at gym

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