Hanging Windshield Wiper Exercise

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Hanging Windshield Wiper Exercise

Is it the world’s craziest abs move? We dare you to find out. In this post you will find out how to perform the Hanging Windshield Wiper safely and effectively to obtain the maximum from this extremely difficult and effective exercise.

The windshield wiper is a pseudo hanging leg raise (Hanging Toes to Bar exercise), adding in a fierce rotational component. The ben­efits of the windshield wiper are vast, especially for those seeking rota­tion power and a ripped midsection. You’ll feel this movement across your entire abdominal wall, and we say across purposefully because you’ll specifically feel its effects around the finger-like muscles of the rib cage (the serratus anterior).

Hanging Windshield Wiper Exercise Instructions

Your form is very important in all exercises, but it’s especially vital for this advanced core exercise. Follow these steps for the hanging windshield wiper:

STARTING POSITION (SETUP):

  1. Grasp a pull-up bar with an overhand grip.
  2. Take a deep breath and contract your abs to raise your legs all the way up with a slight bend in your knees. In other words, you will perform a full hanging leg raise (this is basically Hanging Toes to Bar exercise), bringing your feet (toes) all the way up to the bar.
  3. You body should now look like a “V”.
  4. This will be the starting position for the exercise.
Hanging Windshield Wiper - Exercise Instructions

Hanging Windshield Wiper – Exercise Instructions

EXERCISE EXECUTION (ACTION):

  1. Slowly lower your legs to one side (about 90-degrees) while keeping your torso facing upward.
  2. Raise your legs back up to the starling position and then lower them to the other side.
  3. Bring them back up to the starting position once more to complete the movement.
  4. Your hips should be flexed in the “V” position for the entire set.

Hanging Windshield Wiper Additional Tips & Key Points

  1. You simply must be able to achieve a full hanging leg raise position from the previous post before you even star thinking about doing hanging windshield wipers.
  2. Your arms should be nearly straight during the entire range of motion.
  3. Exhale as you bring your legs back up to the top position on each rep.
  4. Your hips should be flexed in the “V” position for the entire set.
  5. Your upper-body should stay in the same relative position throughout the movement.
  6. Keep this movement carefully controlled.
  7. For safety, have a spotter on hand to help you get into position the first few times you do this move.
  8. Work through a small range of motion until you get the hang of this exercise. Also, work on hamstring flexibility if you have difficulty bringing your ankles to your forehead.

Muscles Used

All core and abs muscles are fully activated while preforming this advanced exercise. During this exercise, your upper abs undergo a strong isometric contraction, while your lower abs do a substantial amount of work, and your obliques are trained hard.

Easier Variations (Replacement Exercises)

Is this advanced core exercise too difficult for you? Try lying on the floor, which retains the isometric hold in your core, but removes the grip strength component.

Proper progressions may be the quickest way for athletes to make gains in training. So if you are struggling with this exercise, the best progression towards Hanging Windshield Wiper are core/abs exercises listed below. Progression exercises are listed from easiest to hardest.

hip roll or lower body russian twist

  • Medicine Ball Hip Crossover

medicine ball hip crossover

  • Lying Windshield Wipers (straight legs)

lying windshield wiper

knees to elbows hanging from a pull-up bar

hanging toes to bar

Closing Thoughts

As impressive to watch as it is difficult to perform, this exercise requires not only strong abs but good flexibility. However, Olympians need to challenge their core muscles in crazy ways to stay in fighting shape. To find out just how insane these pros are, we sought out the single most difficult ab move on the planet. And (eureka!) we found it: the Hanging Windshield Wiper.

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