by Sam Franklin
How To Master The Kettlebell Thruster: The Big Body Strengthener
If you're looking for an intense burst of cardio coupled with a dynamic full-body booster, the kettlebell thruster will deliver.
An advanced and intense kettlebell exercise, the thruster isn't something to take lightly—but, once you've mastered it, you will reap great strength and fitness rewards.
Here's what you need to know about the kettlebell thruster.
How to do a kettlebell thruster: video tutorial
Before we dive into the benefits of kettlebell thruster, watch our quick tutorial video by Luke Baden, Kettlebell Master Trainer.
Luke will take you step by step through the entire movement, ensuring your form is correct and you get the absolute maximum out of the exercise.
The body-boosting benefits of the kettlebell thruster
As a real big body hitter, the kettlebell thruster boasts a long list of body-boosting benefits. Here are the most essential ones:
- Cardio & fat burning: As a complex and dynamic movement, the kettlebell thruster is one of the best kettlebell exercises for getting the heart pumping and burning fat—without even moving your feet.
- Full-body power: If you’re looking for an explosive movement that conditions and strengthens your major upper and lower body muscle groups in one swift exercise, the kettlebell thruster is one of the biggest and best around.
- Stability: As thrusters also work the hips and core while activating countless joints throughout the body, doing them regularly will make you far more stable, resilient, and flexible. This will also improve your performance in other sports and activities.
What muscle groups does the kettlebell thruster work?
Working the body from top to toe, thrusters engage and condition over 600 different muscle groups in one single movement. Basically, thrusters work almost every single major muscle in the body—but for your reference (and your inspiration), here are the areas they target the most:
- Latissimus Dorsi
Kettlebell thruster form tips
What to do
To reap the full rewards of kettlebell thruster and optimise your workout, getting your form spot on is essential. As an advanced and dynamic movement, there’s no room for error, so here are some top tips to ensure your kettlebell thrust right from start to finish.
- The pick-up: Start with your kettlebell on the floor just in front of your feet. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward. With your back straight, bend down into a squatting position and when your thighs are parallel with the floor, clasp your kettlebell with both hands before pushing upwards from your legs (ensure your weight is on your heels) and bringing the kettlebell up to your chest as if you’re clasping a small bag or purse.
- The squat: Remaining in position with you eyes looking ahead of you, your back straight, and your toes facing forward, keep a good grip of your kettlebell, holding it in place at chest height and perform a deep, controlled goblet squat.
- The push: Once you’re at the lowest point of your squat, maintain your existing form, thrusting back into the upright position with your lower body until you’re standing.
- The overhead thrust: Once you’ve reached a solid standing position, push the kettlebell above your head until your arms are fully extended and hold for a second. Reverse the movement until you’re back into a squatting position, and repeat. Once you’re confident with the two-handed thruster, you can graduate onto the single-handed version, following the same form tips detailed here.
What to avoid
To help you steer clear injury and enjoy the maximum benefits of the mighty kettlebell thruster, here’s what to avoid.
- Don’t go too shallow with your squats. Doing so will miss out a mix of major lower body muscle groups while giving you less power or momentum for the push and thrust section of the exercise.
- Don’t hunch your back or you risk pulling a muscle. Hunching will also make the exercise far less effective while causing unnecessary wear and tear over time.
- Don’t perform the movement too fast or you will lose control and harm your muscles or joints.
- Don’t jump straight into the kettlebell thruster. Master simpler kettlebell exercises first and start with a lighter weight, increasing intensity as your confidence grows.
Related kettlebell snatch exercises
Last but certainly least, if you want to level up your kettlebell thruster sessions, here are three related kettle exercises to try:
- Kettlebell deadlift
- Kettlebell clean & jerk
- Kettlebell halo