In the last post we talked about how good the kettlebell swing is and all its benefits. There is a second kettlebell exercise that I love and it’s called a thruster. Thrusters are thought to be one of the most advantageous exercises since they’re a full-body movement. They help improve coordination, muscular endurance and balance. They help you gain both upper and lower body strength by working the quadriceps, glutes, and shoulders. The thruster can be done unilaterally or bilaterally (it can also be done with a barbell, dumbbell, medicine ball or anything you can get above your head).
A thruster might sound like an intimidating movement but it's really just a combination of two common exercises — the front squat and the overhead press.
How to perform the Thruster Exercise
To perform a thruster, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your chosen weight held in front of your shoulders. Your elbows should be below your hands.
Lift your chest, push your hips back and bend your knees. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Explosively drive up and out of the squat.Maintain the momentum of the bar by powerfully extending your arms and pushing it overhead to arms' length. Bend your arms and lower the weight back to your shoulders before squatting down and repeating.
The exercise can be done using a variety of set and repetition ranges to target different areas of your fitness goal. High-rep, light-weight sets of thrusters are metabolically challenging and can dramatically raise your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Low-rep, heavy-weight sets will develop muscular strength and power.
For muscular endurance, perform 15-20 reps for 3 sets. Rest for 30-45 seconds between each set.For muscular hypertrophy, perform 8-12 reps for 3 sets. Rest for 1-2 minutes between each set.For muscular strength, perform 3-6 reps for 3 sets. Rest for 2-3 minutes between each set.
As the thruster can be considered two exercises combined together; for variation why not try treating them as such.
Do a set of strict overhead presses.Rack the weight and reset your grip to a more comfortable front squat grip.Do a set of controlled front squats for twice as many reps as you did the press.
This exercise will leave you will begging for mercy if done at the correct intensity but it will certainly deliver the results if you’re willing to put the effort in.
My personal favourite is the landmine thruster. I tend to use these as a metabolic conditioner at the end of some of my workouts. The landmine is an amazing piece of kit and warrants its own blog post one day.
If you would like to know more about thrusters or require any training then why not contact us for a free chat.