The Thruster, in which you move a weight or implement (e.g. barbell, dumbbell(s), or kettlebell(s)) from the bottom of a front squat to the standing overhead position, is one of the most draining exercises in functional fitness.
The long line of action required in the thruster makes this movement brutally difficult—and effective. It works your lower body, upper body, core, balance, endurance, flexibility, coordination, strength, stamina, and power.
Set-Up: Start with your feet at a shoulder-width stance. Clean the bar from the ground into the front rack position. Place your hands just outside your shoulders. Get a full grip on the bar with your elbows in front of the bar. Brace your core.
Execution: Descend your hips back and down. At the bottom, your hips should be lower than your knees. Maintain your lumbar curve. Your knees should track your toes throughout the movement. Keep your elbows off of your knees. Extend your hips and legs rapidly, then press the bar overhead. Keep your heels down until your hips and legs extend. The bar moves over the middle of your feet. Stand tall at the top of the movement to reach full hip, knee and arm extension.
Points of Performance: To get a “good rep,” ensure the following:
– Your hip crease drops below your knee crease at the bottom of the squat
– Your elbows stay in front of the bar
– You reach full hip, knee and arm extension at the top
Pro-Tip: It’s easy to get lured into doing big sets of fast thrusters, especially if they’re light. But thrusters are a taxing movement that empty your tank and the last thing you want in a WOD is to crawl breathlessly to your next movement. Find a rhythm by matching your breath to the movement: inhale on the way down, exhale on the way up. (Use this same rhythm when you perform wall ball shots, as wall balls and thrusters have very similar movement patterns.)