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Winding Down the Windmill

The windmill is one of my favorite exercises! It’s beautiful and elegant yet requires serious amounts of shoulder stability and core strength. The windmill is easily regressed or progressed for a variety of skill sets. If you know anything about the movement pattern of the windmill I’m sure you might be asking yourself how exactly can you make a windmill easier (and maybe even how can you make it harder).

Learning the windmill should first be done as bodyweight only exercise, doing so will not only allow you to learn the unique multi-planar movement pattern but will also allow you to teach the windmill in the group setting safely. I like to introduce the bodyweight version as skill work in a few sessions then start to include it as part of certain warm ups. This allows our clients to get used to the movement, which isn’t a typical pattern we do in every day life.

The one downfall to teaching the windmill as a bodyweight only exercise initially is the tendency to not focus on the arm remaining vertical to the shoulder and perpendicular to the floor. One of the key components of the windmill is to maintain two vertical and perpendicular structures with the same side arm and leg, regardless of the loading pattern. Let’s take a look and break it down.