How To Perform A Kettlebell Thruster
There are certain exercises out there that are just a goldmine for gains. These are generally big, powerful exercises that can be used across multiple different training styles. The kettlebell thruster is certainly one of those exercises. It truly destroys the barrier or upper or lower body by combining one of, if not the very best lower body movements with an equally great upper body builder: the squat and the overhead press.
Combining those two into a single movement makes it clear to see why the kettlebell thruster can be such an effective exercise.
By the end of this article, you will have learned all of the benefits of kettlebell thrusters as well as exactly how to perform them. So, let’s get right into it.
Kettlebell thruster benefits
When you are planning your workouts, you should always look to pick exercises and approaches that make your training as efficient as possible. If you can select an exercise that works multiple muscles and can be adapted to suit various goals, you are on to a winner.
The kettlebell thruster most definitely fits that description. By combining two of the most effective exercises into a single full-body movement, the exercise works a very large number of muscles.
The main muscle groups worked by a kettlebell thruster are your legs, glutes, core, shoulders, triceps and even your back muscles. As you can see, the thruster is a very time efficient way to work man different muscles.
Aside from the number of muscles they work, kettlebell thrusters can also be adapted for your different training goals. You can simply adjust the weight and number of reps to align with your desired training outcome.
If your goal is to build strength, a higher weight done for fewer reps. For cardio fitness or fat loss, you can use the thruster as part of a circuit or interval style workout. You can even use it for bodybuilding purposes by performing multiple sets in the hypertrophy rep range of around 8-12 reps.
The kettlebell thruster is a truly flexible and efficient exercise to include in your program.
What You Need For A Kettlebell Thruster
All it takes is a couple of kettlebells and enough space to press them overhead. You can even perform a single arm version if you don’t have two kettlebells of the same weight. This all makes it an ideal exercise to add to a home training program or to use when you are away from the gym.
To begin with, try and select a weight that you are comfortable pressing over your head with one arm for at least 8 reps. You will increase the weight over time, but it is best to learn proper technique with a weight that you can easily handle.
How To Perform The Kettlebell Thruster
Please note that this step-by-step tutorial will be based around a double-handed thruster. However, the exact same steps apply if you wish to perform the single-arm variation.
1. Bring Both Kettlebells From The Ground To “Rack” Position.
Rack position refers to the kettlebells being held just in front of your shoulders and supported by your upper arms and forearms. Rack position is where you will begin each rep from.To bring the kettlebells into position, stand directly above them with your feet spread around shoulder-width apart.
Pick up both kettlebells and use your hips to swing them through your legs and bring them to rack position by performing a two-handed clean.
Once in rack position, be sure to keep your elbows tucked in to maintain a strong, stable shoulder posture.
2. Descend Into A Deep Squat
The first part of the thruster involves dropping down into a deep squat movement. With the kettlebells held in the rack position, bend at your knees and push your hips back very slightly to descend into a squat.
Be sure to keep your torso upright and your knees out as you descend.
The aim is to squat as low as you can while maintaining good technique. If you get to a point where your form begins to falter, you may want to stop the squat a little higher.
You should be able to squat down to a point that brings your hip crease in line with the top of your knee as you look at it from the side, this is called a “parallel squat”. If you can’t reach parallel, some mobility work may be in order.
3. Drive up and press overhead
Once you have reached the bottom of the squat, you are ready to start thinking about the press portion of the lift.
As soon as you hit the lowest point of your squat, quickly reverse the movement and begin to drive yourself back to a standing position.
Start to press the kettlebells over your head as you are rising from the squat. Doing this means you are taking advantage of the momentum gained from a powerful leg drive out of your squat.
Aim to press the kettlebells with force and power by punching them hard over your head.
As you press, your shoulders should internally rotate your arms. Meaning, your palms will go from facing each other in the rack position to facing forwards as you press overhead.
4. Return To Rack Position And Repeat
After you have fully locked out your arms in the overhead press, you can return the kettlebells to the rack position and begin the next rep.
There should be minimal pauses between reps. As soon as the kettlebells approach the rack position again, you can begin your descent into the next squat.
The kettlebell thruster is all about fluid movement and using powerful momentum. Once you get in a good rhythm, maintain it until you have completed your target number of reps.
The kettlebell thruster is an extremely versatile, efficient and above all, effective exercise that can be plugged into almost any training routine.
I hope you have found this guide useful and it has convinced you to give the exercise a go in your own training. I am sure you will fall in love with it, just as I have.
So, give it a try and let me know how you like it in the comments section below. If you did find the guide useful, be sure to let your friends know how awesome the kettlebell thruster is by sharing it with them as well.