Why You Should Add The Windshield Wiper Exercise To Your Routine

Your core is one of the biggest muscle groups. Taking up almost half the body, it doesn't just consist of the six-pack that so many men and women aim to get, but also includes every muscle that connects to the spine and pelvis, according to Men's Journal. These include the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, as well as the rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis. By working these muscles, you can improve balance and stability in your daily life (per MayoClinic).

It can be difficult knowing which exercises target which muscles. There are dozens of options for strengthening and toning your core muscles. However, there is one exercise that works to engage your core better than others, namely the windshield wiper. This exercise is performed with your back pressed to the floor, legs together and extended straight up, and by moving your legs from side to side, sweeping across your core in a controlled way, according to LIVESTRONG. So what makes this exercise so special?

Targeting the obliques which are important for stability

Most people who perform ab exercises focus on the rectus abdominis, also known as the six-pack muscles. This results in other important muscle groups, like the obliques, getting ignored. The obliques run along the sides of your core and are important for rotational movements, bending from side to side, and generally protecting your spine (per Healthline). Doing windshield wipers is a great way to work your "side abs" and boost your overall fitness.

You perform this exercise lying on your back on the floor. According to Muscle & Fitness, extend your legs straight and lift them 90 degrees keeping your lower back pressed into the floor. Ideally, spread your arms flat in a "T" position. Using your core and keeping your legs together, lower your legs to one side without touching the floor, hold for one second, then sweep your legs to the other side — just like windshield wipers. Repeat for the desired number of reps. Good form is important. If you feel your back lifting off the ground, stop and modify the exercise by bending your knees 90 degrees instead of keeping your legs straight. This will lighten the strain on your back, according to LIVESTRONG.