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Beginner Ab Exercise for Paleo Fitness: The Windmill

Although many mistake the windmill for a side bend, it isn’t. This movement blends hip flexion and thoracic rotation, which means the hips support the load, not the low back. The windmill is a heavy-hitting rotational core exercise, but you must approach it with caution. Don’t rush weight onto this movement.

First, practice the windmill without weight, and then after you perfect the movement pattern, try the windmill with a kettlebell or dumbbell.

Here are the steps:

1

Press the weight overhead and lock it. Then assume a shoulder-width stance, but point your feet at a 45-degree angle away from the weight.

The stance setup is critically important. You must angle your feet away from the weight; otherwise, you won’t be able to properly push your hips back and perform the movement.

2

Start the windmill by pushing your hips back and shifting most of your weight onto your rear leg (the leg under the weight).

You should displace approximately 75 percent or more of your weight to your hind leg. If this isn’t the case, you need to work on pushing your hips back further.

3

As you start to bend at the hips, look up at the bell, slightly rotate your torso, and use your free arm to guide you into the windmill by tracking it down your front leg (on the inside of your thigh).

Only go as low as you’re comfortable with the windmill, and be sure to keep your eye on the weight at all times.

4

To come out of the windmill, squeeze your butt, drive your hips forward, and follow the same path in reverse.

The windmill offers the added benefit of stretching the low back. Light windmills are a great way to loosen up a tight back.

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