How to do Barbell Thrusters Properly

Athletes love barbell thrusters for many reasons, but mainly because of their uncanny ability to make your feet burn just seconds into your fitness training.

They are a compound exercise, meaning they work different muscle groups at a time, many people agree that they are draining.

But let this not make you shy away from this exercise, once you realize how great their benefits are, you will be willing to sacrifice a few minutes for massive gains.

This exercise is mainly recommended for fitness enthusiasts at the intermediate and pro levels. If you are a beginner however, this is not to tell that you cannot do this exercise. After all, you have to start somewhere, right?

You are free to start light, with no weight, until you have fully mastered the technique before leveling up to the weight levels.

This article will give you a step-by-step guide to doing barbell thrusters, tell you more about its benefits and how to avoid making grave mistakes while doing this exercise.


The barbell thruster has a bad rep for being the most taxing thruster variation out there, especially among people who have not tried the thruster before. That is not entirely true.

You might it just a tad challenging if you are new to lifting and are only learning how to hold and use a barbell. Actually, if you have a barbell, this is the best place to start.

  • Begin by pacing your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Have the bar resting against your shins
  • With an overhand grip, take a firm hold of the barbell
  • Tighten your core and pull the barbell up along legs until it is past the thighs.
  • At this point,  open hips explosively while allowing your feet to leave the ground), then pull your elbows as high as they can go.
  • When the barbell passes chest height, rotate elbows underneath to catch the barbell in the front-rack position (hands just outside shoulders, elbows directly in front of bar, triceps parallel to floor), legs hip-width apart in a quarter squat. Stand. This is your start position.
  • Tighten your core once more and plan your feet firmly into the ground. While maintaining the elbows at that height, sit back, and drop into a squat.
  • Once the hips go past the knees, immediately drive through feet to explode out of the bottom of the squat. As you stand, press the barbell overhead, locking arms out completely.
  •  Simultaneously return the bar to the front-rack position while sitting hips back into a squat to start the next rep.



Barbell thrusters are a take-one-take-all exercise, in that they work pretty much every muscle group from the upper body, arms, core and lower body.


If you have been on the hunt for a good leg exercise, welcome home! This exercise will give your quads and glutes the working of a lifetime. Its impact may even stretch to the hamstrings.

We spend our days doing all sorts of things on our twos, it is only logical that we have enough leg strength to enable us to carry out the activities of the day efficiently.

If you hike or swim whether for fun or professionally, the need for strong legs can be overemphasized.


What happens to you when your core is weak? It becomes hard to accomplish tasks as simple as carrying your baby, or moving furniture.

You are more likely to develop back pains, and everybody who has ever experienced serious back pains can attest to the act that those things can make you question the meaning of life.

A weak core could also affect your balance. Having a strong core is not a luxury left to the lovers of fitness, it is essential to your life.


Apart from being one of the best leg exercises there ever could be, barbell thrusters engage multiple muscles in  the upper body including the chest, forearm, back and shoulders. This is what makes it a great full-body workout.


Do you lose your balance often? Does the slightest push have you swayin? This exercise demands absolute focus and coordination to flow from one move to another. Thus, it improves your general body coordination.


This is a rather complex exercise, which makes it an avenue for plenty of mistakes.


Do not round your shoulders, especially when executing the front rack position, this is when this mistake often happens.


It has been emphasized over and over again the need to master the technique before embarking on the weights, and there is a good reason for that.

A barbell that is too heavy fro you will interfere with your form and force your spine to hyperextend. This may lead to pain after workout or worse, serious injury.


This mistake is prevalent during the squat segment of this exercise.



If you are not comfortable with a barbell yet, you can always do this exercise using dumbbells. Dumbells are also recommended for people who are injured or have mobility limitations.


If barbell thrusters are too much for you, begin with front squats and barbell presses.  Thesetwo make up the two parts of a complete barbell thruster anyway, so you can master them individually first.

They will pave the way and help you advance to the real thing soon enough.


Barbell thrusters are a great fullbody workout but this does not mean it does not come with risks. Like every exercise that involves some level of lifting, and given the complexity of the technique, this exercise is quite risky.

It can easily result in injury. Make sure you have mastered the form, even if it means practicing without weight first. If you have issues with your back, have your physician give you the green light before starting this exercise.