Understanding the Thruster Exercise

Exercises can be divided mainly into two categories: compound and isolation. While isolation CrossFit exercises involve the movement around a single joint, compound exercises involve movement around more joints than just one. Also, isolation exercises regarding target aim at a small number of muscles while compound exercises target at a large number of muscles. The thruster is one of the most effective compound exercises which allow you to perform a high volume of workout within a short time. Compared to other movements, the thruster has the greatest carry over into physical and sports performance.

thruster exercise

What is a Thruster?

In simplicity, a thruster refers to a combination of two compound weight training exercises: overhead press and the front squat. For this reason, the thruster can also be referred to as complexes. When performing the thruster, CrossFit athletes use kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls, barbells, and many more. Well, any heavy object can be used in this exercise.

The performance methodology involves standing with your feet at a distance apart equivalent to shoulder width. Your chosen weight should be in front of your shoulder, and your elbows should be positioned below your hands. Then, lift your chest, push back your hips, and gradually bend your knees. After that, you have to slowly squat down until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Then, drive up explosively and maintain the momentum of the bar by extending your arms and pushing the weight overhead at arm's length. Lower the bar back to your shoulders as you bend your arms and then squat down before doing a repeat.

thruster workout

The Anatomy of the Thruster

Adding the thruster to your CrossFit workout of the day will benefit your major muscles including the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.  The part of the thruster that works out your legs muscles is squatting. Your legs generate some force which is transmitted to your upper body through the lower back and abdominal muscles. The powerful push that drives the weight overhead originates from the triceps and upper back.

The Benefits

Thrusters are usually done using a variety of repetition and set schemes which target different elements of your fitness. High rep, light-weight sets dramatically elevate your heart rate and enhance your cardiovascular fitness because they are metabolically demanding. On the other hand, low-rep, heavyweight sets develop muscular power and strength.

thruster workout

When you perform thrusters using an unstable object such as a sandbag or water-filled barrel, your core strength will be significantly improved. If you want to enhance your balance, try using dumbbells as your weights in the thruster.

It is not advisable to include thrusters in a beginner CrossFit training programme. This is because of the high-risk nature of this exercise characterized by the heavyweight lifting and complex, coordinated movements. Argued in another way, thrusters place a potentially injurious and significant load on the lumbar spine which requires perfect technique else the lower back can become rounded.

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