Are “Thrusters” Any Good? (What To Do Instead)

Thrusters have become an amazingly popular exercise
in the last 10 years or so.

Just in case you’re not aware of what a “thruster” is
here’s a quick description:

It’s a front squat where you press the bar/KBs at the
end of the squat with the force generated from the
squat – almost like a Push Press… Almost…

And you do them repeatedly for reps.

I’m not a big fan.

I like the concept, just not the application.

Why not?

Technical breakdown.

Let’s face it, most people can’t squat well or properly
or however you want to say it.

And most of those same people have limited shoulder
ranges of motion and control.

So why would I load them up with weight and do a complex
movement – especially an explosive one and then, as
so often is the case, do it for lots and lots and lots
of reps?

If I had half a brain in my head I wouldn’t.

Which is why I don’t. (And science says I’m only using
10% of my brain anyhow, so I must be ahead of the curve
on this one. LOLz)

So what should you do instead?

Well first of all, understand the the KB front squat –

ESPECIALLY the double KB front squat.

It is such an amazing exercise for loading up the “anterior
chain” – or the “flexor chain” – the group of muscles that
comprise the front of your body and are responsible for
“flexing” the body.

The anterior chain works in opposition to the posterior
chain that we’re so fond of talking about.

So you need to learn how to properly perform the
double KB front squat before you even think about doing
any thrusters.

The first thing you should learn how to do is to
pressurize your abdomen and “breathe behind the shield” –

Or breathe while having your abs braced.

Then you need to be able to maintain that brace throughout
the entire squat – both the descent and the ascent.

Some other things you’ll need to be aware of:

1. Foot placement – what’s optimal for proper force
generation and absorption

2. Shoulder mechanics
– yeah – no one ever talks about
those on the front squat – but there are optimum mechanics
you need to be aware of that make the FSQ so much “easier.”

3. Eye and head position – a bigger deal than you think.
You can and will actually make yourself weaker if these
are in the wrong positions.

4. The direction of your knees
and the intent behind the
direction of your knees – doing this correctly provides
the necessary stability in your squat.

From the Front Squat, you need to be working on your
Military Press – with a pair of KBs
.

Why?

Well the Thruster is a front squat combined with a press,
right?

So it makes good sense that you need to work your press
on its own before you combine it with something else,
right?

Right.

Again, just like the FSQ, one of the biggest problems
with the MP (Press / Military Press) is that people lose
their ability to stay tight in the middle while the
weights are going over head.

This is because they are
:

A. Weak in the middle – they have weak abs

B. They have poor shoulder range of motion and control

C. They try to compensate for A and B when going
overhead and put both their lumbar spines and shoulders
in jeopardy.

If you want to do that to yourself, knock yourself out.

But don’t complain about any injuries you pick up along
the way.

Anyway, once you get the FSQ and MP down, then you should
work on the push press (PP)
.

Why?

Because you should learn how to move load slowly before
you move it quickly/explosively.

You still need to be able to keep your diaphragm pressurized
and your abs braced on the quick dip and the explosive
drive phases of the PP.

Most people cannot do this well.

That’s because they don’t have the fundamentals lined up –

They haven’t learned how to do it with the FSQ and the MP.

You can learn all the techniques to safely and correctly
perform the FSQ, the MP, and the PP inside “Kettlebell
STRONG!”
- it’s a 2 DVD set – almost 4 hours long – and
an 89 page “fluff and filler free” book.

Combined, you’ll have at your fingertips everything
you need to safely and successfully do Thrusters, should
you choose to.

Just respect yourself enough to make sure you have the

basics down pat first.

If you don’t, spend some time there and reap those rewards
then move on to the Thrusters.

Talk soon.

Geoff

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