The thruster is a well-known compound exercise that’s part of the CrossFit workout program. Martial artists and athletes also practice thrusters. This exercise is a combination of a front squat and an overhead press.

Thrusters are deemed to be one of the most beneficial exercises since they’re a full-body movement that’s useful in daily life. Thrusters help improve coordination, muscular endurance, and balance. They help you gain both upper and lower body strength by working the quadriceps, glutes, and shoulders. Thrusters can also help you develop a strong core.

Continue reading to learn more about the proper technique and benefits of this popular exercise.

It’s important that you use proper form and technique when performing thrusters. You can start by using only a barbell. Gradually add weight as you increase your strength, become comfortable with the movement, and are certain you’re using proper form. This is important to avoid injury and gain the most benefits.

Make sure all of your movements are smooth, steady, and controlled. The movement of thrusters should be fluid, quick, and continuous. It shouldn’t be broken into short or separate movements.

Do at least 10 thrusters, or follow the instructions of your workout program. Follow these steps:

Gif credit: Active Body. Creative Mind.

  1. Use an overhand grip to hold a barbell and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Your hands should also be shoulder-width apart.
  3. Draw your shoulders back and down. Keep your spine in alignment.
  4. Keep a slight bend in your knees. Refrain from locking them.
  5. Your feet should be under the bar.
  6. Slowly bring the barbell up to your collarbones or above your shoulders.
  7. Bring your elbows underneath or facing forward.
  8. Engage your core and expand your chest as you slowly lower your body into a deep squat position.
  9. Drop your glutes lower than parallel to the ground if you’re flexible enough, as though you’re sitting.
  10. Engage your core and turn out your knees slightly for stability.
  11. Press your heels and the outside of your feet into the floor and bring your elbows up as you quickly and powerfully explode to return to standing.
  12. When your hips are nearly in alignment for standing, engage your glutes, press your heels into the floor, and extend the bar overhead.
  13. Straighten your arms and extend your head forward so that your ears come in front of your biceps.
  14. Bring your head back into line with your arms.
  15. Slowly lower the bar to collarbone height and repeat the movement in a continuous motion.

You can do thrusters using dumbbells to improve your balance. Here’s how to do them:

Gif credit: Active Body. Creative Mind.

  1. Come into a standing position with your feet at shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a pair of dumbbells just above your shoulders or resting on them.
  3. Your palms should be facing each other, and your elbows should be slightly in front of your body.
  4. Complete the same movements as regular thrusters.

The thruster is a compound exercise since it uses more than one joint and combines the front squat and overhead press.

Thrusters require you to elevate your heart rate, thus improving your cardiovascular fitness and performance. They also help boost your metabolism and increase your muscular endurance and strength. They improve intermuscular coordination, movement efficiency, and flexibility.

You can add variation by using dumbbells, sandbags, or kettlebells in place of a barbell. Change up your routine by alternating high-rep, lightweight sets with low-rep, heavyweight sets.

Thrusters work the whole body. Muscles used include:

  • glutes
  • quadriceps
  • hamstrings
  • core muscles
  • back muscles
  • triceps
  • shoulders

Here are some general tips and guidelines to follow so you can get the most out of this exercise:

  • Perform thrusters as one fluid movement. Avoid stopping at the top or bottom of the squat. This helps keep your momentum and ensures you’re using your whole body.
  • Use your glutes, hips, and legs to lift the bar overhead instead of only using your shoulders.
  • Engage your core muscles throughout the exercise.
  • Keep your spine in alignment.
  • Maintain good balance as you come up to standing. Make sure the movement is steady and controlled.
  • Don’t let the bar come in front of you once it’s lifted. This can cause you to lean back and injure your lower back.
  • If you start to lose your balance and fall backward, push the barbell away from you to avoid it falling on you.
  • Use perfect form. Make sure you’re well-trained and prepared to perform thrusters.
  • Keep your elbows up high to maintain balance and ensure smooth movement.

Here are a few tips for improving and perfecting your thruster practice:

  • You can practice and perfect your form by using an empty barbell to get the technique down pat. Form is more important than weight.
  • Check your form by watching yourself in the mirror or by filming yourself.
  • Practice the movement slowly so you can perfect your form. Going too fast or rushing may cause you to lose control.
  • Work with a trainer or watch online tutorials to develop your form when you’re first beginning.
  • Always do thrusters as one continuous movement. If this is difficult for you, try experimenting with less weight.
  • Make sure you maintain a strong core. This helps you control the weight and the movement.
  • Try using alternative forms of equipment for slight variations. You can use kettlebells, cinder blocks, or sandbags. This will change your balance and momentum slightly.
  • Use your legs and knees to lift up your body and the bar. Keeping your knees out slightly will help you activate your hip muscles as you’re lifting up. Using these lower body muscles will allow you to have more strength in this movement.
  • Press down into your heels instead of leaning forward onto your toes. This helps make sure you’re moving up and down in a straight line instead of moving forward and backward. This increases efficiency and helps you remain in alignment.
  • Keep your elbows up so the bar can rest on your shoulders. This also helps keep the bar lifted, making it easier for you to stand.
  • Use your breath to assist you with the movement. Inhale deeply as you squat, and exhale as you do the overhead press.
  • Make sure you’re not squeezing the bar too tight. This can tire your forearms. Keep your grip as relaxed as possible. You can tighten your grip a little bit when you do the overhead press.
  • Always work within your own limits and to your own capacity. Remember that your limits can vary on a daily basis.

Taking the time to do thrusters correctly should leave you with strong abs, shoulders, and legs. Plus, you can increase your strength and endurance.

You may choose to work with a trainer when learning to do thrusters, especially as you begin to learn them or if you’re new to fitness training in general.

Remember to listen to your body. Pace yourself and rest when needed. Increase the weight gradually to avoid injury. Push yourself to your own edge, but don’t overexert yourself.

Stop your workout if you feel dizzy, short of breath, or weak. Discontinue the practice if you have any adverse effects.