Move Better: The Thruster

Move Better: The Thruster

Our 12 Part Move Better series is all about educating you. We want to provide a deeper understanding of movement to our readers. In this series, we will pick apart one movement per week that will help you not only move better but; move with a purpose in the gym!

Week 1: The Thruster – The Thruster is a full body movement that combines the elements of a Clean, a Front Squat and a Press into a single fluid motion. In the video below, you’ll see the movement done in a few different ways and we have provided an explanation behind each way to attack this movement.


Breaking down the movement:

  • WHY- This typical CrossFit movement is done for a few reasons. However, the two big reasons are that it combines several multi-joint movements and that (when done at a low rate for higher reps) it does a glorious job of raising the heart rate to achieve the desired effect of (pain) entering that aerobic state.
  • SAFETY- There are a few very key elements to doing this movement safely. First, when we pick the bar up (The Clean) we want to make sure our midline and spine are in the right position. Second, at the lowest part of the movement (The Front Squat) we want to keep our elbows from colliding with our knees by keeping our elbows up and our knees tracked out over our toes. Lastly, when we finish in the fully locked out overhead position (Press) that we are tight from our toes to our nose to ensure the weight of the bar is fully supported by our skeletal structure and the floor below us.
  • SCALING – The two big ways we scale this movement are to reduce the load on the bar and also to break the movement down into a Power Clean, and a Front Squat into a Press overhead.
  • EFFICIENCY KEYS – Once we know the movement well enough, we can start working towards doing it better. Keys to doing this movement better are to pull directly into a full squat clean and (no rest) come out and press overhead. The overhead position is the best place to take that 1/2 second rest. Next, we can speed up our cycle time by pulling the bar down into the rack position and squatting immediately. Lastly, really use the momentum when standing up to propel the barbell overhead instead of asking your arms (smaller and weaker than your lower half) to do the work.
  • MOBILITY – The key areas of your body to work on in order to have perfect mobility for this movement are your triceps and lats (to improve the front rack position) and your thoracic spine (to improve your torso positioning. Work on improving these areas and the movement will feel better, look better and you will perform better.

Stay tuned next week when we break down another brutal; yet simple, CrossFit movement!