The Kettlebell (KB) Windmill is a valuable exercise for shoulder stability, upper back flexibility, better movement in the hamstrings and hips (which helps with back pain). You get the best of both worlds with this exercise – it helps you move better and get you stronger. What’s not to like?

Muscles Emphasis

The entire body is engaged but primarily the glutes, hamstrings, trapezius, deltoids, rectus abdominus, and obliques.

Starting Position (master the half kneeling KB windmill before doing the standing version)

Start off in a half kneeling position (legs in 90/90 position) with a kettlebell pressed up with the same side leg in front. The lower leg of the back leg should be turned away.


Initiate the movement with a hip hinge pulling your hips back placing your opposite hand on the floor. Hold for 3 seconds, exhale and drive your hips back through to return to starting position. repeat.

Avoid these mistakes

  • holding the kettlebell incorrectly
  • bending your elbow (the arm that is holding the KB)
  • sitting down versus hinging back
  • going too fast

How to Program Kettlebell Windmill Into Workouts

The KB windmill can be used as a warm-up or during the workout. Focus on fewer reps and slowing it down. You will find when you go slower you get the full benefits of the exercise while reducing your chances of injury.

Build up to 3 sets of 5 reps each side and gradually building up weight while maintaining perfect form and tempo. You can pair this exercise with just about any exercise but just know that is primarily a hinge so you wouldn’t want to put it with other movements similar such as deadlifts.

Like any exercise, practice. When you do Kettlebell Windmills, focus on the feel and use that as reference points to relate to clients when they are doing this exercise. Help your clients move better and get them stronger all at the same time.


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Ian Nimblett

Ian Nimblett, CFSC, CSCS, NFPT-CPT and is a functional strength & conditioning coach, personal trainer, and author. He is the founder and owner of Premier Fitness Group LLC in South Salem, NY, a world-class functional training facility that provides private, semi-private, and group training.