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May 16, 2023 | Joel Runyon

The Barbell Thruster is a complex and challenging compound movement. It works not only your legs, core, and upper body, but will get your heart pounding for a good HIIT style workout as well.

This is an advanced move, so make sure you are already experienced with performing all three of these exercises first: The Deadlift, Front Squat, and Military/Overhead Press before attempting a Thruster. Warming up with an empty barbell and proper form must be utilized at all times to prevent injury.

How to do a Thruster

Start with a barbell on the floor loaded with plates of equal weight. Make sure this weight is light enough for you to press overhead with your arms. Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, grab the bar and Deadlift it to your waist.

As the bar nears your waistline, use its momentum to continue rowing it upwards towards your chest, and in a quick movement, bend your elbows and flip your hands backwards so the bar is now resting gently on your shoulders and upper chest with your palms facing up towards the ceiling.

Making sure that you are balanced at this point, now perform a Front Squat by lowering your thighs down to just below parallel while keeping your feet flat on the floor and your chest upright. Rise up from your squat, but as you return to an upright standing position use this upward momentum to now extend your arms above your head and overhead press the barbell.

Pause for a moment, and then lower the barbell back down to your collar in preparation for your next squat downwards. This completes one Thruster.

When finished with your set, lower the bar back down to your waist and finish the second half of the Deadlift movement to place it on the floor.

Again, the Thruster is not a beginner movement. Practice with dumbbells or a barbell in front of the mirror first until your technique is perfect before adding more weight.

Thruster Video Demonstration

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Joel Runyon

Joel is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE® and MoveWell. In addition to free fitness resources on Impossible Fitness - you can buy performance apparel and supplements on