The thruster is an important movement in CrossFit. Learn how to do it properly.

The thruster makes its appearance in one of CrossFit's most devastating WODs, “Fran.” It's a simple enough concept: Combine a front squat with a push press. But the thruster can crush you.

1. Begin with the bar at shoulder height (or clean from the ground; see below). Keep your elbows up so that the bar is touching the shoulders and collarbone. This allows your body — rather than just your hands — to bear some of the weight.


2. Execute a front squat, still keeping your elbows in front of the bar and upward. Be sure the crease in your hips travels lower than your knees.


During the squat, your heels should remain on the ground.

Elbow position varies but is important. Because the thruster requires a good grip on the bar for the push press, don’t let the bar roll back as far onto your fingertips as you would for a regular squat. However, do keep your elbows in front of the bar rather than directly beneath it. This allows the bar to rest on your body, relieving pressure on your wrists and forearms and allowing your body to assist with driving the bar up, rather than relying on arm strength alone.

3. As you rise up from the bottom of the squat, execute a push press, driving the bar over your head to full extension. At this point, you might drive up and out of your heels. To ensure full arm extension, think of “showing your ears” in front of your straightened arms.

As you move up from the bottom of the squat, don’t try to reach maximum acceleration immediately. Wait until you’ve raised the crease in your hips passed your knees, then explode up into the push press.