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What Is A Kettlebell Thruster

author
Earl Hamilton
• Saturday, 02 January, 2021
• 11 min read

When it comes to getting the heart rate racing and hitting almost every muscle in the body then you can’t get much better than the KettlebellThruster or squat thruster exercise. The kettle bell squat is already a huge multi-jointed exercise that requires muscle activation from the legs, hips, core and back.

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Contents

Once you add the overhead press to the movement then you gain additional muscle activation from the shoulders, arms, upper back and even the chest. Due to the large amount of muscle activation the thruster becomes very cardiovascular too.

Driving a kettle bell overhead also requires additional work from the heart in order to pump the blood up and into the top hand. So the KB thruster is not only a full body muscle conditioning exercise but also great for your cardio as well as being a big calorie burner.

Conditions over 600 muscles in one movement Great cardio exercise without moving your feet Burn lots of calories in a short amount of time Perfect for developing explosive movements for sports and combat As mentioned the squat thruster hits almost every muscle in the body from head to toe.

It is important that you squat nice and deep with every repetition in order to fully activate your glute / buttock muscles. Failure to squat so your thighs are parallel with the floor will result in more quad muscle activation than buttocks.

Once you can squat correctly you then just need to drive hard from the bottom position upwards and use your momentum to push the kettle bell overhead. Try to avoid arching your lower back at the top position and brace your abs nice and tight.

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Care must be taken that kettle bell stays in the racked position throughout the movement and that the elbow does not wing out during the squat. Using the other hand with take pressure off the shoulder and keep the kettle bell in position, especially at the bottom of the squat movement.

The demands from this kettle bell exercise are high so be prepared for a challenging level of both strength and cardio. I thought it would be helpful to list a few KB thruster workouts that you can use to practice this full body exercise.

Two Arm Kettle bell Thrusters x 10 reps Rest 60 seconds and repeat 2-4 times Focus on great form at this stage and make sure you get down nice and deep with every squat.

A great combination workout that will hit every muscle in your body as well as challenging your cardio. Using an interval timer that beeps every 30 seconds is really helpful to stay motivated and on time for the changes.

Not only does it activate over 600 muscles per movement but it works your cardio very hard as well as developing explosive legs and hips. The thruster conditions 100’s of muscles in one movement, especially the quads, glutes, core, and shoulders.

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Instructional Videos Don't risk doing a workout improperly! Avoid injury and keep your form in check with in-depth instructional videos.

How-to Images View our enormous library of workout photos and see exactly how each exercise should be done before you give it a shot. Combining those two into a single movement makes it clear to see why the kettlebellthruster can be such an effective exercise.

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.

Aside from the number of muscles they work, kettle bell 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. This all makes it an ideal exercise to add to a home training program or to use when you are away from the gym.

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Rack position refers to the kettle bells being held just in front of your shoulders and supported by your upper arms and forearms. Pick up both kettle bells 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. With the kettle bells held in the rack position, bend at your knees and push your hips back very slightly to descend into a squat.

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.

Doing this means you are taking advantage of the momentum gained from a powerful leg drive out of your squat. After you have fully locked out your arms in the overhead press, you can return the kettle bells to the rack position and begin the next rep.

There should be minimal pauses between reps. As soon as the kettle bells approach the rack position again, you can begin your descent into the next squat. Conclusion The kettlebellthruster is an extremely versatile, efficient and above all, effective exercise that can be plugged into almost any training routine.

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Muscles Worked: Shoulders, legs Difficulty: Medium Equipment needed: Kettle bells Hold two kettle bells by their handles but so the weight is resting on the back of your shoulder.

Slightly bend your knees and squat down, keeping your legs in line with your shoulders. Drive through your legs and straighten them, extending your arms as you do so to raise the kettle bells above your head.

Read on further for detailed workout instructions, notes, video and pro-tips for learning proper form and train better for it. Primary muscle: Shoulders are primarily benefited by KettlebellThruster exercise.

While your have reached the bottom when you squat, start to reverse the above steps. When you have stood up again and reached the starting position, extend your arms in the upward direction with kettle bells in your hands.

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You don't have to be a Crossfire to master this fantastic head-to-toe exercise, says USA Weightlifter, kettle bell coach, and personal trainer Rebecca Rouse. Those are just some adjectives physical therapist Grayson Wickham, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., founder of Movement Vault, uses to describe the thruster.

Moving and working those muscles (as the thruster does) helps counteract the damaging effects of sitting all day by improving strength and mobility, says Wickham. “Long term, this ultimately helps you ward off injury and age more gracefully,” he says.

Let your core go loosey-goosey for even one second and you risk losing control of the weight or throwing off your momentum. No matter the equipment you use, the thruster exercise *always* combines a front squat with an overhead press into one fluid motion.

But, “different equipment changes the demand on the body from a strength, mobility, and stability standpoint ever so slightly,” says Wickham. “Long term, the increased variability will leave you stronger and more mobile,” he says.

D. When hips drop lower than knees, immediately drive through feet to explode out of the bottom of the squat. While rising to stand, press the barbell overhead, locking arms out completely.

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E. Simultaneously return the bar to the front-rack position while sitting hips back into a squat to start the next rep. But be warned: The double dumbbell thruster is actually a harder variation of the movement, according to Rouse.

“Because of this, double dumbbell and kettle bell thrusters require extensive body control and awareness.” C. Keeping core tight, elbows high, and chest forward, sit glutes back toward the ground.

The rep is complete when legs are straight and dumbbells are directly over shoulders, biceps pressed against ears. E. Lower dumbbells back to shoulders while descending into a squat to start the next rep.

Note: “It is critical to maintain a tight front-rack position as you sit into the bottom of the squat,” Rouse emphasizes. If at any point the kettle bells begin to move away from the body while you're in that squat, it puts your lower back in a compromised position.

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettle bell in each hand in front of hips, palms facing in. B. Double-check front-rack position: Handle of the bell should be along the center of the palm, the ball of the kettle bell rests on the back of the forearm, and the arm should be close to the body.

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C. Maintaining a tight core and neutral wrist (aka no break between hand and arm) sit back into a squat. On the contrary, Rouse says when performed correctly, unilateral movements strengthen your core more than bilateral exercises do.

Further, “most people are not equally strong, mobile, and flexible on both sides of their body,” says Rouse. Doing any kind of unilateral work is beneficial in identifying and correcting those asymmetries, which can also help with injury prevention and rehabilitation, she says.

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in one hand, hanging in front of the thigh. C. Inhale and tighten core, then sit down until butt breaks parallel before thrusting upward, exhaling while punching the weight overhead.

Finish rep by straightening legs and arm, squeezing bicep in toward ear. Generally speaking, the oh-so-versatile medicine ball is one of the most under-utilized pieces of equipment in the gym, according to Wickham.

“Medicine ball thrusters are a great option for folks who don't feel comfortable using a barbell,” says Wickham. He adds that because medicine balls are generally lighter, it's a great option for light-weight, higher-rep workouts that are geared towards increased cardiovascular capacity (aka getting you breathless vs. just building strength).

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Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding either side of a medicine ball, fingertips facing down. Brace core and hinge at hips to lower ball to upper thighs.

C. Inhale, brace midsection, then keeping elbows high, sit hips back and bend knees to lower into a squat. Hate to break it to you, but even for the most advanced athletes, thrusters are no walk in the park.

By design, compound exercises are hard because they work so many muscle groups and joints at once, Wickham points out. If the above thruster variations aren't possible for you right now, Wickham recommends breaking down the movement into its individual parts (the squat and the press) and working on your weak point.

Work on your shoulder strength with some overhead presses and holds and these shoulder-boosting mobility movements. Lower the weight, and slow down the movement to a front squat to press, instead, suggests Wickham.

Meaning, you'll pause at the top of the front squat before pressing the weight overhead. “Master the movement at a weight you can crank out 15 to 20 reps unbroken with good form,” says Wickham.

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Then adjust the weight and rep scheme based on your individual fitness goals. “Thrusters can be used to improve power, strength, or endurance, depending on how you load the movement,” says Rouse.

If strength is your goal, spend some time warming up and building. If endurance or cardiovascular capacity is your goal, do a thrusters' workout with high repetitions.

Or try CrossFit Won Also which entails completing 100 total thrusters as fast as possible, while doing five burpees on the top of every minute. Really, no matter how you incorporate the thrusters into your workout routine, you'll be fitter and stronger for it.

Sure, the movement won't make you (or your pops) better at dancing, but it'll certainly give you the legs and lungs you need to boogie all.

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Sources
1 www.nbcnews.com - https://www.nbcnews.com/shopping/fitness/best-kettlebells-n1246049
2 www.gearhungry.com - https://www.gearhungry.com/best-kettlebells/
3 www.womenshealthmag.com - https://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/g29443735/best-kettlebells/
4 www.t3.com - https://www.t3.com/features/best-kettlebell