Thrusters = Your Best Friend NOT Your Enemy

Thrusters = Your Best Friend NOT Your Enemy

Written By: Mario Ashley, MBA

Some of you may cringe at the title of this post.  In my opinion, thrusters are one of the best movements in CrossFit. It is a full body movement that forces you to generate a lot of power, requires good mobility – the heavier, the better! The thruster is a staple in CrossFit, so if you plan on improving your CrossFit performance, you better get comfortable with lots of thrusters!

Unfortunately, I see many people struggle with performing thruster. I am here to help you fix that! Instead of seeing grimaces on peoples faces when I utter the word ‘thruster’, I would love to see smiles and excitement because you are equipped with the knowledge to make those thrusters smooth and efficient!

Here are the two most common mistakes I see:

  1. Stay Back. I see people perform thrusters and lose their balance because they learn too forward. Focus on staying back on the heels while keeping the bar in close. The weight of the bar should be over your midfoot, not your toes. As you go into your thruster, think about sitting back and driving your chest up; this will help you keep the bar in a good position. How you initial the thruster is identical to how you perform the air squat.

Thruster: The athlete is able to full sit into a squat with the bar resting comfortably across the shoulders.

Air Squat: In the same manner the bottom of the air squat is how the bottom of the thruster should look like. Having the hands up helps train a rack position as it helps force a more upright torso.


  1. Have A Good Rack. The thruster rack position is a hybrid of a front squat and standing press. If you lack mobility in the upper back, lats or shoulders, then the rack position for a thruster is going to be a challenge. Ideally, you want what I call a “pseudo rack” position when completing a thruster. With that pseudo rack position, the bar should be sitting high on your shoulders and, if mobility allows, you should hold onto the bar throughout the entire thruster. The minute that bar slides down your shoulders is the minute it owns you! If you want to work on your rack position, check out this video by Kelly Starrett:

The most ideal position in the rack is with full to semi-grip on the bar with the bar resting back and fully on the anterior deltoid.

Frontal View: You can fully see a full grip on the bar with bar sitting behind the deltoids.