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Thrusters = Your Best Friend
Written by Nichole DeHart

Some of you may cringe at the title of this post, which is a shame! In my opinion, thrusters are one of the best movements in CrossFit. It is a full body movement that forces you to generate a lot of power, requires good mobility – and heck, the heavier, the better! The thruster is a staple in CrossFit, so if you plan on improving your CrossFit performance, you better get comfortable with lots of thrusters!

Unfortunately, I see many people struggle with the potent thruster. I am here to help you fix that! Instead of seeing grimaces on peoples faces when I utter the word ‘thruster’, I would love to see smiles and excitement because you are equipped with the knowledge to make those thrusters smooth and efficient! Here are my Top Five Tips for making your thruster efficient, fast and a movement you actually look forward to!

  1. Stay Back. I see people perform thrusters and loose their balance because they are too forward. Stay back on the heels and keep the bar in close. The weight of the bar should be over your mid foot, not your toes. As you go into your thruster, think about sitting back and driving your chest up; this will help you keep the bar in a good position.
  1. Have A Good Rack. If you lack mobility in the upper back, lats or shoulders, then the rack position for a thruster is going to be a challenge. Ideally, you want a pseudo rack position when completing a thruster. The thruster rack position is a hybrid of the front squat and press. With that pseudo rack position, the bar should be sitting high on your shoulders and, if mobility allows, hold onto the bar throughout the entire thruster. The minute that bar slides down your shoulders is the minute it owns you! If you want to work on your rack position.
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Proper Front Rack Position


  1. Punch The Bar Up! You’ve got to be aggressive in your thruster. As you are driving up, punch the bar to the ceiling! Imagine gaining speed as you accelerate out of the hole with the peak speed being when you punch the bar overhead.



  1. Pull The Bar Down! As aggressive you are punching the bar up, you need to have that same speed coming down. Actively pull the bar down to your shoulders and let the weight of the bar take you down into your squat. Pulling the bar down will help you accelerate your thrusters as well as make them feel a little more weightless since you are allowing the bar to do more work.
  1. Breathe At The Top. Ideally, I don’t like to break my thrusters….ever. I do, however, have to take a quick break to take a breath. I do this by pausing for an extra second when the bar is overhead. I can take a breathe there, then pull my bar down. This is faster then bringing the bar to my shoulders where I will undoubtedly take more then one second to breathe and I will have lost my bars momentum in taking me down. Establish a good rhythm for breathing (aka don’t hold your breath) and breathe at the top.


Try applying these tips next time you have the opportunity to do thrusters! Soon, they will become your best friend just like they are mine! If you have any specific questions about the thruster, or an experience that you would like to share, please post to the comments section below!

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May 16, 2014 9:39 pm

Cool!!! Tks Nichole…it’s look easy for you!!!

Mary DeHart
Mary DeHart
May 14, 2014 1:38 pm

Gee Nichole, you make it look so easy.

Linnea H
Linnea H
May 14, 2014 10:02 am

Thanks Nicole! These all seem like good tips!

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