5. The Thruster

The 5th place goes to the Thruster, the more I think about it, the harder it is to rank the exercises. Why Squat, Deadlift, Good Morning, the Jerk Press and finally thrusters.

I came up with a simple reason, the first two exercises Squat and Deadlift are the essence of "proper" lifting, you cannot do a serious free weight training involving your lower body If you cannot squat or deadlift. In other words all the other lifts depend on your ability to perform these two lifts.

In regard to the Good Morning, some will object that it is not necessary... Partly true. However, the GM can be used for two different purposes. On one hand to focus on your hamstrings and lower back. On the other hand by focusing on your "posterior chain", you improve your posture, strength and lifts in general. 

Finally, the argument used for the Squat and Deadlift is valid for the Jerk Press, as soon as we refer to the upper body. 

A long story short, in order to do a thruster, you need to know how to get the barbell off the floor (deadlift) to your shoulder (clean). Then, you must front squat and finally press overhead. 

In other words, The thruster which is a "Powerhouse" exercise ranks only 5th because its execution depends on you mastering other basic exercises.

The thruster is for the non "Olympic Weight lifting" lifters the ultimate lift. In fact, the best exercises and most difficult exercises are the Snatch, Clean and Jerk and Clean, which all include the deadlift, the squat, a high pull and eventually a kind of press.

The above exercises are highly technical and difficult exercises, that require serious training, instruction and supervision. 

My #TrainForLife12BestResistanceTrainingExercises is composed of the best exercises that the majority of the population can do. My goal is to reach the masses with the best possible exercises without the technical limitations and the dangers...

Why do I Thruster?

Being honest, I thruster because I am limited and it is the hardest lift for the limited people who want something different. 

I am limited: 

I can Front squat 120, Back squat 150kg, I could Jerk press 95kg, overhead squat 90kgbut clean and jerk only 80kg and snatch only 55kg... 

My limitations are technical and physical. From the technical point of view, the clean and the posterior jerk or the snatch are really difficult exercises. From the physical point of view, I have bad shoulders and worst wrists...to move weight down and up is not "too" hard, but to lift the same weight "off" the ground, "catch" it and then lift it up is really taxing and demanding on my shoulder and wrists joints.


This means that the thruster is the best "hard" exercise for people who can only perform lifts that do not require too much explosiveness and that are more joint friendly. As you squat, deadlift or jerk press, you have a fair control of your speed and the lift execution.

How to do a Thruster?

I will not explain how to do a thruster as it would be faster for me to send you to the the chapter 1,2 and 4 of #TheTrainForLife12BestResistanceTrainingExercises.

Putting all the exercises together you have a clear idea of what is the deadlift, the rack (starting position for the JP), the squat and the press.

My only concern here is the thruster starting point.

The starting position: that position is achieved when you a are standing with the barbell  "racked " on your shoulders.

If you have a squat rack, you just need to grab the bar and start. If you don't, the bar will be on the floor and you will have to clean it in order to start with the thrusters.

Follow the step below to clean or power clean or hang clean the bar.

How to clean the bar:

Position yourself as you would do for a deadlift, same grip slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your feet stance will be between hips to shoulder width apart. Your chest pointing forward and lower back straight, your shins can be in contact with the bar.

Step 1: Squat down and execute your deadlift or first pull as the bar pass the level of your knees and your torso is closed to vertical and erect.

Step 2: Perform the second pull by brushing the bar against your mid to upper thigh, move the bar upwards by explosively extending your hips, knees and ankles with a jumping motion.

As you are fully extended. Elevate your shoulders and pull the bar as high as you can and catch it as you rotate your elbows under the bar, into the"rack position.

Step 3: Full clean, power clean and hang clean. What is the difference.

The clean would be after following the steps 1 and 2 finish the lift with a front squat.

The power clean would be after following the steps 1 and 2 finish the lift with a slight dip of the legs.

Finally the hang clean would be to deadlift the bar, as explained in step 1. Then with the bar against your thighs, execute step 2 into a "full clean.

After following the 3 steps explained above, you are standing with the bar racked on your shoulders. You will then squat and as you come back up, press the bar overhead while extending your legs. You will then lower the bar to the initial rack position and repeat the motion as many times as planned in your workout.

The muscles targeted:

The list is endless as the thrusters hit all the muscle involved in a deadlift, squat and a press hamstrings, quads, gluteus, lower back. As well as all the upper body, involving the whole posterior chain, the core (everything from the cervical spine to the hamstrings, back and front). And the shoulders including the arm muscles.

The benefit of the thrusters:

Let call the thruster the "popular" clean and jerk. The clean and jerk well executed is an awesomely difficult movement. The thruster will give you almost the same benefits in a simpler, more controlled and secured version of the clean and jerk.

The thruster is also a very functional exercise, we do on a daily basis grab stuff or little people off the floor and lift them overhead.

The thrusters make you stronger and improve your stamina. It takes few thrusters to be out of breath...

Guys give at a try and share your sensations!


Final position of the lift, head neutral, arms locked, bar over and slightly behind the head, with shoulders stacked over the hips and the hips stacked over the ankles. 

Final position of the lift, head neutral, arms locked, bar over and slightly behind the head, with shoulders stacked over the hips and the hips stacked over the ankles.