Abs of Steel with Windshield Wipers

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Windshield Wipers

The windshield wiper is an amazing core exercise, and its fun too, but its not for beginners. This exercise gets its name from its motion that is very much like a windshield wiper on your car, flopping left and right like a metronome. Doing these before your core is already strong will result in a very, very painful pulled muscle.

Many people find these difficult so let me show you how to work up to them. First, you need to have done bicycles for several months so your obliques are pretty strong. Next, you need to be really strong at hanging leg raises so work on these. If you cant do a straight legged raise to horizontal and hold it, then you wont be able to do windshield wipers, so work on this first.

For safety, make sure your pullup bar is sturdy and use wrist straps! You are hanging upside down, if you fall, you will break your back or neck – this is NOT a time to work on your grip strength! In one fluid motion, bring your knees up to your elbows. Dont just hang passively from the bar, push the bar down toward your waist till you can balance.

For the advanced windshield wiper, keep your legs straight, for the beginning version bend the knees 90 degrees.

abs exercise windshield wiper starting position. Swing left and right like a windshield wiper. When you start out, only go 45 degrees to each side as shown in this photo. When you are strong and flexible enough you can use a full 180 degree range of motion but doing this before you are ready will result in a very painful pulled muscle.
ending position. Like a metronome, swing back and forth slowly. When you get more advanced, you can pick up the pace a bit.

Here is a video showing you how to get started with windshield wipers if you have never done them before. The video also covers an advanced version of the windshield wiper for experienced bodybuilders:

9 thoughts on “Abs of Steel with Windshield Wipers”

  1. Does your back have to be parallel to the ground? I can do like 4-6 reps with a 40 degree angle lol
    Thanks for your help Scooby.

  2. Thnx, scooby. You are always very helpful. Visit my blog about bodybuilding: muscledtuga.blogspot.com

  3. Anecdotally speaking, I've done these for years, often after doing what I call "kick-ups" from that same hanging position. I've never had an issue with my back. But I do not do them fast. I try to do them slowly or at a moderate speed, as with all exercises.

  4. @Marco, the spine twists all the time and stengthening it in controlled maneuvers like this prevent injuries in the uncontrolled events of everyday life.

  5. windshield wipers are also possible on the floor lying on the back, while preventing yourself with outstreched arms from completely turning over. just as an idea maybe to work yur way up to windshield wipers, hanging down from a pull-up bar

  6. I dunno. Thinking anatomically, there is no load on the spine, as your weight is all held by the abs, arms and lats. The twisting motion is no more than what your spine is used to experiencing, as long as you keep the motion under control, and don't go wildly swinging around. Certainly no more than swinging a baseball bat or golf club, and you do that, often with the full explosive power of your entire body, to no ill effect.

  7. I think that twisting in that position is not good for the spine.
    This exercise looks like potentional back injury just waiting to happen.

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