Cliff post Fran, blame it on the thruster.

Cliff post Fran, blame it on the thruster.

Ah, the thruster. It is such a simple movement.  A front squat and a push press.  So, why is it so damn hard? The thruster is the devil’s own creation. Something about it adds up to be so much harder than its parts.

There are, however, some tips that make the thruster a little more easy to manage.  Here are some:

  • Always try to match your breathing to the movement.  With the thruster, this means one breath one entire movement.  Inhale on the way down and exhale at the top of the press.
  • After full lockout is reached at the top of the press, do not lower the bar to the racked position and then drop into the front squat.  From the overhead lockout, immediately drop into the squat, so that the bar reaches your shoulders at the same time as the squat reaches its lowest depth.
  • Try to relax your grip during the squat.  Grip and forearm fatigue can be quite severe during a thruster workout such as Fran, where the opposing movement, pullups, is also grip centric.
  • With the grip and wrists relaxed, try to snap the wrists forward and up at the top of the press, and then snap them back immediately to start the descent.
  • Really try to keep your weight firmly on the heels and off the toes as you perform the front squat.  Pushing the knees out is also key, as is keeping the elbows up. All three of these keys work in unison.  Not only is this proper squat form in general, but it will speed up your thruster by making it truly a vertical movement.  Too many people bring their weight forward onto their toes when in the hole of the squat.  In order to then rise, they need to rock back onto their heels and then drive up.  This horizontal forward and backwards movement at the bottom of the thruster not only makes the movement much slower, but it also speeds up fatigue by wasting energy rocking back and forth.
  • Rest with the bar in the racked position, never overhead.
  • If using dumbbells for the thrusters, hold the DBs so that your little finger is right up against the front part of the DB.  This allows for more of the DB, and thus more weight, to rest farther back on your shoulders, and thus more towards your centerline. This makes the movement easier by reducing the amount of forward pull on your midline in the manner of a back squat vs a front squat.

What tips and clues have I missed?  What are some more that help you with the thruster? Please post to Comments.


Deadlift 5×5, the first 2 sets are warm ups, the last 3 should be your 5RM


15, 12, 9, 6, 3

DB Thruster–use dumbbells totaling half your bodyweight

Ring Dip

Box Jump

Please post WOD completed and score to Comments.