How to do a Kettlebell Thruster

What is a Kettlebell Thruster?

The Kettlebell Thruster is a powerful and dynamic full body movement. The Thruster requires core stability, hip and shoulder flexibility, but is a great movement for developing strength and power in your body. 

The Kettlebell Thruster is a full-body exercise with an emphasis on the following muscle groups:

  • Core
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Biceps
  • Legs

How to Do a Kettlebell Thruster (Instructions):

The Thruster combines the following three movements into one. It’s a clean to rack, squat, then press
The Clean
Start with the kettlebell about 6-12 inches in front of you. Stand with your feet forward, placed a little more than shoulder width apart. “Deadlift down” by bending at your hips, with your knees are slightly bent, until you are in a deadlift position with both hands on the kettlebell.
As you inhale, hike the bell back between your legs as if you were starting a one-hand swing. As you stand up, exhale, and raise the bell up towards your chest, keeping the bell close to your chest. As you reach your chest level, “punch through” the kettlebell handle with your right hand, which will prevent you from slamming your wrist with the kettlebell. “Rack” the kettlebell by resting it on your bent forearm, bicep, and chest. 
The Squat
Once racked, position your feet and legs for a squat. Inhale, and sink down into a squat, so that your bottom sinks to the ground, with a tight core and straight back. Flag your arm that’s not holding the kettlebell out as a way to balance on the way down. Exhale, and start to stand up.
The Press
As you return to the standing position, continue to exhale, and press the kettlebell up and towards the ceiling with your right hand. Tighten your core while you press the bell up, and mentally, think about pushing the kettlebell away from your feet instead of thinking about pressing the kettlebell to the sky.
Make a fist with your left hand and flag it out away from your body for balance. As you press the kettlebell towards the ceiling, keep a straight wrist with your right hand, and end with your right bicep up by your ear. Inhale, and return the kettlebell to the racked position, and set the bell down in the same way you would set the clean down.
Repeat, and repeat the same process on the other arm.

Trainer Tips for the Kettlebell Thruster: 

  • Progression (make harder)
    • Use a heavier weight. Scale up in 8kg increments (16kg, 24kg, 32kg, etc…)
    • Use two kettlebells, one in each hand. 
    • Increase your repetition count. 
  • Regression (make easier)
    • Start by practicing Front Squats and Presses separately. 
    • Use a lighter weight.
    • Lower your repetition count. 
  • Application:
    • Turn into a Kettlebell Complex. This can be brutal with a Thruster. Do a Clean, Front Squat, then a Thruster, and do as many reps as possible in 5 – 20 minutes. 

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