How does the thruster run?
First of all, it must be said that the thruster is nothing more than the combination of a front squat and a press above the head. Thus, the initial position is that of clean or charged. For this, we can remove the bar from a rack at the appropriate height or perform a clean from the ground.
Before starting the movement we must ensure that the bar rests correctly on our clavicles, with the wrists extended, the elbows parallel to the ground and the core activated. Once we have maintained this compact position, we begin the movement by driving the hips back and accompanying the movement by flexing our knees. At all times the elbows must remain parallel to the ground since otherwise, the bar may fall.
Once the right depth is reached during the squat, we take advantage of the myotatic reflex and bounce up trying to keep our torso as vertical as possible. It is important to push the ground with our legs to gain the highest possible speed in this phase of the movement, which will facilitate the press that will come next.
Once we finish the front squat movement, we must continue to extend our hips a little more by contracting our buttocks to maximize the strength of our legs and not start the press too soon.
In this way, as we continue to extend the hips, we begin to raise the bar above us with our shoulders and triceps. The trajectory of the bar should be vertical and pass as close as possible to our face since otherwise it would increase the moment arm on our shoulder and the movement would be noticeably complicated.
Finally, the movement culminates by blocking the elbows above our head and maintaining a full hip and knee extension.
What exercises can help me master thrusters?
The thruster itself is a very versatile exercise that can be done not only with a bar but also with kettlebells, discs or dumbbells. In addition, it can be done with a single-arm, with a previous clean ( cluster ) or combined with other Olympic movements such as the overhead squat. We have selected three exercises that can help you master the technical details of the original bar movement.
Double kettlebell thrusters
Starting to practice the movement with two kettlebells is simpler since it does not require so much mobility in the shoulder and in the thoracic spine to hold a bar in the clavicles.
In addition, using kettlebells increases the range of movement, the demand on the nervous system and the stability of the shoulder, something that when you do the bar thruster you will need.
It is true that this exercise as such does not have a great capacity to develop muscle mass and strength as the original thruster can do, but the movement pattern is similar and simpler since the press that is performed with the ball is not strictly vertical, which facilitates things by not requiring much mobility in the shoulder.
This exercise is definitely ideal to learn to coordinate the momentum of our legs with that of our arms at the right time.
Just as the wall balls helped us coordinate the thrust of the legs and arms from a deep squat, the push presses help us with the final impulse of the bar but with hardly any momentum of the legs, which facilitates our concentration and focus on the last portion movement. This does not mean that the coordination factor of legs and arms is completely eliminated, but it simplifies the first to focus on the second.