Thrusters are the Devil!

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


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.


Those of you that have done Spartan with the Loudhouse team know how AWESOME this salsa is. Sandi was kind enough to share the recipe. Enjoy!

1 batch of salsa:

1/2 of a purple onion

3-4 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of cilantro

1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes (I use the organic)

1 can rotel tomatoes – either mild or reg

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

Juice from 1 or 2 limes

Put garlic, onions and cilantro in food processor and chop till desired consistency. Add both cans of tomatoes and chop again. (You don’t want it puréed) Add vinegar, salt and lime juice and process again till mixed. You can certainly eat it immediately but it’s best if stored overnight in fridge. Serve with chips and is also good on scrambled eggs.


Crush PRs

Last week at the box we saw a HUGE number of PRs in squat, deadlift, and push press. With that came numerous questions about how is that possible if we really haven’t lifted heavy in the past couple months on those lifts. So, I thought I would take just a moment and explain how that happens.

There are a couple reasons why. First, we are still programming for strength via normal CF programming. Second, for several months we followed the Wendler 5-3-1 method focusing on squats, deadlift, and push press. Then for the last couple of months, 8 weeks to be exact, we removed Wendler from our weekly programming and focused more on just a basic, old school, CrossFit program methodology. The whole reason for the break is the fact that I began to see people NOT hitting there lifts, especially on the last week before the deload week. For instance, on the last month before the break, I missed my 1 rep attempt and on the week prior I barely got my set of 3. It just felt super heavy to me even though my body felt fine. I noticed that happening to others as well the month prior.

So, what does this mean? Well, there is this little thing called central nervous system fatigue, CNS fatigue for short, that can have a giant impact on our performance. “Any time you move, the brain lights up with nerve impulses generated by chemical activity. A stream of these impulses flows from the brain to the working muscles, causing them to contract. We call this flow of nerve impulses ‘central drive’, which we can measure through various methods of arcane science. After some kinds of intense training, we see that central drive is reduced, causing a kind of fatigue even if the muscles are fine.” Matt Perryman Basically, what is being said above is you can feel fine yet still see a degradation in performance. Thus, seeing this degradation in performance, I decided it was time for us to take a break from the Wendler strength cycle so that our bodies and more importantly our central nervous system could have time to truly recover. The result, an overwhelming number of PRs because our bodies were recovered. Just goes to show the importance of REST.