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How To: Windshield Wipers

Windshield Wipers
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.

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Abdominals

Required: Pull-up Bar

Optional: N/A

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.

See also
How To: Cable One Arm Lateral Raise

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.

See also
How To: Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly

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

Any Questions Regarding Windshield Wipers? Ask Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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