Improve mobility, stability and durability with the kettlebell windmill.
The kettlebell windmill is often over looked for the turkish get up when it comes to mobility and stability. Sure, the get up gives many benefits but adding the kettlebell windmill into your training will add complimentary mobility, stability and durability benefits.
Firstly, what is durability?
Before we can condition the body under stress, durability gives us the ability to perform skills in various environments. Quite often people’s gym routines focus on sagittal movements like the squat, deadlift and bench press. Avoiding planes of movement such as lateral and transverse will leave huge gaps in your training. This is usually represented in an injury or poor performance on your chosen field.
(Mobility + stability) x durability = conditioning
Put simply, we need to ensure we are durable enough to add fatigue into the mix. The kettlebell windmill helps us achieve that durability. Focusing on lateral hip mobility and stability, shoulder mobility and stability and trunk rotation in the same movement the kettlebell windmill really gives you the bang for your buck you need when looking at injury proofing your body.
Before we get to the full kettlebell windmill, as alway we need to make sure we have the requisite mobility and movement competency to achieve it.
The Stick Stretch
Dan John taught the stick stretch to me in his Melbourne workshop where we covered so many little gems of knowledge that it was hard to remember them all. Using a dowel held on your shoulders like a barbell back squat you can rotate into the kettlebell windmill position. By not adding load but instead focusing on prying ourself open on the inside of your thigh you can increase range of motion and assess if you’re ready to progress to the half kneeling kettlebell windmill. You can watch a demo of the stick stretch here.
Half Kneeling Windmill
Using our floor to standing approach you learn in Unlock Your Movement we start the kettlebell windmill in the half kneeling position. This take limiting factors such as balance, lower limb and hamstring mobility issues out of the equation. By isolating trunk rotation and shoulder mobility/stability you will be able to assess and work on any issues you find. Getting confident under the bell in a lateral movement such as the kettlebell windmill is much easier when you’re closer to the ground and there are less moving parts.
If you find shoulder mobility and stability are still a limiting factor, using drills like the kettlebell arm bar will take you closer to your goals. It will also take you closer to the floor which is important.
Take it to standing
Once the half kneeling position has been mastered we can take it to our standing position. On top of the cues already learned in the half kneeling kettlebell windmill you’re going to have to focus on a few key elements:
- Turn the feet on 45 degrees facing the same way
- Rotate toward the back hip before adding flexion, it’s not about spinal torque but trunk rotation and hip flexion
- Keep the lat sucked to the hip throughout, if you break that connection come back to the start
- Work slowly to the floor, it’s not a rush
- Small reps to begin with, don’t add fatigue until you’ve mastered the technique
The perfect kettlebell windmill doesn’t require a lot of weight, sure you can add it once your technique is perfect but you will see the benefits long before that. Adding lateral movements and strength training is often the missing pieces to the puzzle when it comes to injury proofing the body. If you’re always getting injured, struggle with mobility or are in pain and you have always done the conventional big three it might be time to take you out of the symmetrical stance and add the kettlebell windmill into your life.