For a lot of people thrusters are the equivalent of torture. People will “cherry pick” thruster WODs just like they do a running WOD. Physically and mentally they are tough.
The flip side… Some folks love them. Coach Mando for instance. She absolutely loves WODs that have thrusters in them. Regardless of prescribed weight and reps, she is like a machine and I can name several others athletes at the box that are similar.
OK… So why?
Why do some people love thrusters and some absolutely hate them? Well, there are a multiple reasons.
First let’s discuss the points of performance for the thruster:
· Shoulder-width stance
· Bar rests on the front rack
· Hands just outside shoulders
· Full grip on the bar
· Elbows in the front of the bar
· Hips descend lower than the knees
· Lumbar curve maintained
· Knees in line with toes
· Elbows stay off knees
· Hips extend rapidly, then press (Core to extremity)
· Heels down until hips and legs extend
· Bar moves over the middle of the foot
· Complete at full hip, knee and arm extension
* From CrossFit.com HTTPS://WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=AEA5BGJ9A8Y
Reasons you struggle with the thrusters:
1. You need a mature squat. If you cannot maintain your lumbar extension, (straight upright back), while squatting below parallel, you will not be able to perform a thruster correctly.
2. You have to have the mobility to properly hold the bar in the front rack, maintain lumbar, squat, and maintain proper bar path while “thrusting” that bar overhead.
3. Being able to use “core to extremity” to create momentum on the bar thus, making you more efficient. The idea of core-to-extremity means that the movements you see in CrossFit recruit in a wave of contraction from core to extremity. Basically, we want our biggest muscles to do initiate the movement and do most of the work, with the smaller muscles finishing the job. So, in the thruster recruiting the legs to initiate the movement and accelerate the bar into the finish. It is vital that before initiating the press overhead, we accelerate out of the front squat and extend the hips with as much force as possible.
4. Finally, and I think this is obvious, the requisite strength to perform a proper lift while maintaining proper form.
Tips for improving the Thruster
1. Improve your mobility and your squat. Just spending more time hanging out in the bottom position of your squat will help but, also work on freeing up those hips and ankles. Next, you need to work on the mobility in the shoulders and the thoracic spine. Hit up your coach to help you out with mobility or check out WWW.MOBILITYWOD.COM
2. Practice. The more you perform a movement properly the better that movement becomes. My tip…. Unload the weight, make sure your form is good, and practice the movement. (Perfect practice makes perfect) Practice will help you get the timing of the super important core to extremity.
3. Don’t forget to breath. This is a big one when performing higher rep thrusters. Don’t hold your breath. Try to take a big breath at the top, descend and exhale either on the way up or at the top of the finished rep.