Efficiency Tips: Thrusters

Thrusters are generally seen in workouts with lighter weights and many reps; but that’s not to say you can’t get tremendous benefit out of doing heavy thrusters.

But the light and fast thrusters are so potent in their neuroendocrine response due to the power generated at the hip. Squatting and pressing a barbell overhead quickly has few peers in cardiovascular conditioning.

Today I’d like to help you make this movement easier. When performing a thruster, be sure to neutralize the wrist and breathe at the top

Neutralize the Wrist

Thrusters can be painful because of the dorsiflexion of the wrist when under a load. Many athletes will resort to wrist wraps, or totally ignore the movement all together, due to the severity of the pain.

I most often see wrist pain come from the bar crashing down from the overhead position and not landing on the shoulders. Lat mobility certainly has something to say with this, but I want to highlight the neutrality of the wrist.

When at rest, the wrist is neutral when there is no flexion in any direction. As you raise your elbows up, go as far as you are able without the wrist flexing. This is different than the traditional front squat because you must keep all fingers on the bar. Because of this, you will not be able to raise your elbows up as high as you normally can.

In summary, the weight of the bar must be on the shoulders. Raising the elbows up creates a shelf for the bar to rest on, but the elbows should only go as high as the wrists will allow (before flexing).

Breathe at the Top

Thrusters take your breath away, there’s no question. This is because it is difficult to breathe when bracing.

Therefore, if you don’t deliberately exhale and inhale at the top of each rep (when the bar is being pressed overhead), your stamina will be reduced.

For a great diagram, click here. You want to be “breathing only when underwater.”

Your muscles needs oxygen. Make sure you’re getting a fresh breath of it every rep.


Keep the wrists neutral + Breathe at the top = Happy thrusters.

Let me know how it goes.


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