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The windshield wiper—where you hang from a pull-up bar, raise your legs, and then rotate them from side to side—is the Bigfoot or Loch Ness Monster of the gym.It’s an exercise that many have claimed to see but few can show proof of, as it requires a tremendous amount of stability and core strength, as well as a solid grip and a strong upper back. But with some practice and the appropriate progression, you can do it, too, and lay any doubts about your own six-pack to rest.
Doing windshield wipers lying down will build the rotational core strength you need as a foundation. Lie on your back on the floor and raise your legs 90 degrees. Spread your arms straight out to your sides for support. Rotate your legs to one side, stopping short of touching the floor. Rotate to the other side. As you improve, bring your arms closer in to your body so they offer less stability.
You can practice hanging leg raises—hang from a pull-up bar and raise your legs to touch it. Throw in hanging side crunches too. For these, hang from the bar and twist your hips to one side while keeping your chest forward (shown above). Bend your knees and crunch your hips to your ribs. When you can do multiple sets of 10 or more reps on these three moves, you should be ready for the windshield wiper.
Quick Tip: If it hurts your shoulders to grip the bar overhand, use a palms-facing (neutral) grip, if you have access to a bar that has parallel handles.
Hang from a pull-up bar and raise your legs until they’re perpendicular to the floor while keeping your torso parallel to the floor. (You’ll make an L shape with your body.) This will require you to pull your body closer to the bar, bending your elbows and contracting your upper back. Rotate your legs side to side. You can make the move easier by bending your knees. Add the workout below to your training to build up to doing the full hanging windshield wiper.
HANGING SIDE CRUNCH
Reps: As many as possible (each side)
HANGING LEG RAISE
Reps: As many as possible
LYING WINDSHIELD WIPER