You’ve probably seen them being performed in movies or fitness magazines before, the hanging windshield wiper.
This is an extremely ‘flashy’ (aka. everyone will stop what they’re doing to see what’s going on) abdominal exercise that builds immense core strength in the upper abs, lower abs and obliques thanks to the twisting motion.
The windshield wiper gets its name from the appearance of the exercise while being performed, while holding your body in position horizontally the goal is to rotate your torso from one side to the other (like a russian twist) while maintaining your horizontal position… your legs in essence resemble the window wipers on a car as you perform each rep.
The key to learning and performing the windshield wiper is to ensure you’ve built a relatively strong core first.
If you can’t do a set of straight leg hanging leg raises or hold a hanging V sit position for roughly 20 seconds you’re going to really struggle to even get your body into the correct starting position for your first set of the elusive windshield wipers.
Required: Pull-up Bar
Windshield Wipers Form:
The grand daddy of all abdominal exercises, the (genuine) variation of the windshield wiper.
If you can pull these off you will be getting a lot of attention in the gym and you’ll be sporting a core forged of steel.
Assume a hanging V-sit position before rotating your hips from left to right – when starting out limit your range of motion and perform these nice and slow, this will allow you to get the hang of the pause and change in direction for each rep. As you begin to become comfortable and build up that core strength even further you’ll be able to exaggerate your range of motion and increase the speed of each repetition.
Windshield Wipers Variations
Around The World
People quite often call this variation the window wiper, however in my books this is not a window wiper – I’m coining it the ‘around the world’ (IgnoreLimits patent pending..)
Grasp your pull-up bar and as you start to lift your straight legs up rotate at your hips and continue the movement from left to right for the first rep.
Pause and perform the following rep from right to left by simply rotating your hips again.
You’ll feel these in your obliques quite quickly! It took quite a while after I mastered the traditional straight leg hanging leg raise for me to get the hang of these.
Common Windshield Wipers Mistakes
Neglecting Prerequisite Exercises
If you disregard these key exercises & skills and jump ahead you’re more than likely going to be compromising form as the movements will be unfamiliar and you may be lacking in core strength… resulting in not only a waste of time but also potentially injury. Do things the right way and master these to ensure your core and familiarity with the movements is up to scratch.
Hang from a pull-up bar for 30 seconds
Hanging leg raise (toes to bar) with straight legs x10
Hanging L sit – 20 seconds
Comfortably get into a hanging V sit position – with your legs as vertical as possible
Russian twists for 15 reps per side
Similar & Substitute Exercises
- Side Planks
- Hanging Leg Raises
- Cable Crunches
- Dragon Flags