The Kettlebell Windmill

The Kettlebell Windmill

The picture above is of me, at the July 2011 RKC II, performing a kettlebell windmill.

And I’ll admit it.  Until I attended this training, I did NOT like the exercise.  It felt awkward, I didn’t know if I was doing it correctly, and it just didn’t feel like I was getting much out of it.

Then I learned how to do the exercise PROPERLY – and I quickly realized just how powerful it was for building core strength, shoulder stability and mobility, opening up the thorasic spine, “unlocking” the hips, and a whole lot more …

My goal with today’s video and article is – especially if you’re in the same boat as I was before the RKC II – to help you learn how to do the windmill properly … and to fully realize all the wonderful benefits it has to offer!

First, check out the video below to see the kettlebell windmill learning progression:


And now for some additional coaching points …

Kettlebell Windmill Progression

Weightless Windmill

Start with a ketttlebell at the instep of your foot. Your feet should be pointed to the side at approximately 45 degrees.

Poke your hip out to the side. The movement in this exercise is coming from the hip and not the torso.
Let the hand slide down the leg; tap the ‘bell and stand up.

(You’re imagining you have a kettlebell in your top hand throughout the movement here.)

Bottom-Hand Windmill

Same exact movement; now you’re simply picking up the ‘bell with your bottom hand.

Standard Windmill

Same movement – only now the KB is overhead. Arm is locked, shoulder is “packed” – same principles as the Turkish get up. Make sure you tense the glute and engage the core to stand up.

Kettlebell Windmill Workout

Now for a sample workout using the windmill … here’s one from the brand new 21 Fat Burning Kettlebell Workouts program (the exercise, in fact, is a staple of the full plan):

In conclusion, the kettlebell windmill is a great exercise – but it can be a little tricky to master.  Follow the progression outlined in this article, take your time learning, and you’ll be on your way to building strong shoulders, a back of steel, and a bulletproof core … with the the KB windmill!

Train hard and talk soon –

Forest Vance, Level II Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certified Instructor

6 thoughts on “The Kettlebell Windmill

  1. Sal Renda

    Hi Forest, this is a great exercise which I have difficulty performing. I realize the KB I use is heavy (35lbs), therefore I was performing this with no weights or with a lighter weight using a bumbbell (8,10 or 12lbs). My main focus is to strengthen the hip region due to injury. The exercise I haven’t tried was the bottom hand windmill. Thanks for this video. Cheers

    1. admin

      Sal –

      You’re right – it’s a great move. Good idea – use a light weight to learn it. Also, following the progression I outline in the article should be helpful.

      Thanks – and keep training hard!


    1. admin

      Holly –

      Yes, sort of a pop – but not necessarily explosive like a swing. Again, the #1 thing is mastering the form first, no matter how slowly you need to go with the move.


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