A thruster is a compound movement that moves a weight through a large range of motion. This movement combines a front squat with a press overhead. To perform a thruster, you will hold a barbell in the front rack position throughout the squat and then thrust the weight overhead in one explosive motion.
The movement starts from a standing position. The bar must be racked on your shoulders before performing a front squat. At this point, the crease of your hip should be below the top of your knee. As you stand from the squat, you will push the bar overhead, ending the movement with the bar balanced over the heels.
Thrusting is one of the most challenging parts of Crossfit training and if you need tips to achieve the proper form or improve your technique, consider these ideas:
Even Weight Distribution
One of the most critical parts of the movement is even weight distribution. Without it, you are likely to accidentally drop the weight and sustain an injury. The feet must remain in a squat stance as you perform the front squat. Drive your weight through your heels and do not roll forward on your toes. When you do, the weight will swing dangerously, tipping you over.
If you noticed that you’re rocking forward, slow down your thruster then start over again. The barbell should be moving vertically, straight down and then straight up with your feet planted firmly on the floor. If your heels are not planted on the floor, then you will start rocking forward and backward.
Although thrusting is comprised of two separate moves, it’s performed in one fluid motion. Pausing as you transition between positions will mess up the fluidity of the movement. After the lockout overhead, try not to bring the bar back to the front rack position, pause and then moving to a front squat.
Ideally, set the barbell down from the top of the press as the body moves into a front squat in one motion. This way, the barbell will reach the front rack position at the same time you’re at the end of your front squat. As you come up from the squat, start extending the arms to prepare for the lockout overhead.
Avoid Tight Grip
A kung-fu death grip has no place in a thruster. You have to relax your grip when in the front racked position to avoid fatigue during the thruster.
Your breathing must be coordinated with your movement to boost power and endurance. Try taking one breath per thruster. Inhale on your way down then exhale at the top of the press.
Perfecting Your Technique
It’s easy to mess up the thruster if your breathing is out of sync or your form is not right so do not speed through practice. Take time perfecting your technique and learn how to regain your bearing quickly when the position is proving unstable. When this happens, just re-rack the weight in the front rack position quickly before resetting your feet and stabilizing your midsection.