Windshield Wiper Coaching Is A True Core Burner

It can be difficult to reach the obliques, aka the muscles that run down the sides of your core. Well, that’s true until you do your best impression of a car and try a windshield wiper practice.

A windshield wiper exercise involves moving your legs back and forth, much like a windshield wiper, say yoga therapists and personal trainers Berets Jump. “Often you will see them performed on the ground with the feet starting on one side of the body, and then the feet being brought to the center and dropped to the other side. It’s repeated from left to right in a back and forth motion, that’s what it’s called.”

This body weight movement is illuminating oblique muscles when you lift your leg, says Jump. But it also involves your abs, lower back, and hard to target lower belly. It’s a great stretch too, especially if you have stiff lower back. “The windshield wipers can help strengthen the lower back and keep it moving,” adds Loncar.

Dropping down to do a windshield wiper is also ideal dynamic heatingsay Paige Willisa certified yoga teacher and founder Regardless. Not only the back and forth movement increases hip mobility, but it helps open the lower back, psoas, and quadriceps muscles, he explains. “That makes it the perfect move to try when you’re warming up for a yoga stream or cooling down after a workout,” Willis tells Bustle. Here’s how to try this swishy move.

How to Do the Windshield Wiper Exercise

Here Tiffany Berenberga yoga instructor at Yoga for Lifeexplain how to do the exercises with good form.

– Make its way to your back.

– Bend your knees so they are pointing up and the bottoms of your feet are on the ground.

– Place your hands beside you, palms down.

– Rest your arm as close to or as far away from your body as needed.

– Lift your legs up so your knees are over your hips with your shins parallel to the floor.

– Engage your core.

– With control, lower your legs to one side. Don’t let your feet touch the ground.

– Bring them back to the center, then drop your foot to the other side.

– Do 12 reps, 6 on each side.

– Rest for 30 seconds then repeat 1 to 2 more sets.

– Improve your way to more repetitions.

How to Modify Windshield Wipers


The cool thing about windshield wipers is that they “can be anything you want them to be,” says Loncar. To use it for hip mobility or as a warm-up, she recommends leaning back with your arms propped up behind you. Slowly lower your knee to one side and then to the other. “This is amazing morning yoga movement it really makes the joints slack,” he adds.

To use windshield wipers as: body weight training, lay down completely and follow the steps listed above. “This step will gradually increase your lower back mobility and abdominal strength,” says Loncar. “If you want more of a challenge, you can do it with your feet in a spear position, so they really stick out.” This will put more pressure on your stomach.

For even more challenge, pick up some weights. “You can add weight to one of your ankles or you can hold a bar, kettlebell or dumbbells in front of you overhead as you move on a table or spear,” explains Loncar. “It turns the whole thing into not just an abdominal workout, but into a dynamic stabilization exercise.”

For the good lower back stretch, Willis suggests lying on your back and letting your knees gently fall to one side and then the other. Rest there until you feel your lower back loosen.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

As tempting as it may be, try not to force your knees closer to the ground. “This exercise should feel like a massage for your lower back and hips,” says Willis, “so let the movements be slow, gentle, and in sync with your breath.”

If you’re doing windshield wipers more as an exercise than a stretch, Berenberg recommends letting your obliques do all the work. Instead of using your legs and hips to pull your legs out to the side, engage your core. And just like that, you will make the most of this useful step.

Referenced studies:

Akhtar, MW. 2017. Effectiveness of core stabilization exercise and routine exercise therapy in the management of pain in chronic non-specific low back pain: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Mr J Med Sci. doi:10.12669/pjms.334.12664.


Berets Jumpyoga therapist, personal trainer

Paige Williscertified yoga teacher, founder Regardless

Tiffany Berenbergyoga instructor at Yoga for Life

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