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Own the Thruster

We all assume the thruster is coming. Whether it shows up in 17.4 or 17.5, there is little doubt we’ll see this movement in the 2017 Open.

The thruster, and its movement cousin the wall ball, are taxing movements largely because of their high demands on mobility. Requiring a full depth squat and fully locked-out overhead press, perhaps only the snatch and clean & jerk use as large a range of motion as the thruster. With that in mind, there are three key mobility areas to master for the thruster: bottom of the squat, top of the press, and everywhere in between.

Squat, don’t deadlift, your thruster

If you can’t squat to full depth without your chest falling forward, your thruster will suffer. This may sound simple, but I see people deadlifting their squats, and subsequently their thrusters, everyday. FIX YOUR SQUAT before you practice your thrusters!

Practice banded goblet squat holds. Hold 30-60s while maintaining an upright torso, outward knee drive and engaged abdominals, as seen in the following video:

Don’t substitute spine extension for lacking shoulder mobility

Hyperextension of the spine is a common compensation for restricted shoulder mobility. Unfortunately this robs you of stability and power, and may aggravate your back. See last week’s post “Lift More with a Neutral Spine” to learn more about how this impacts your lifts.

Use the abdominal roll-out to practice coordinating core stability and shoulder mobility. Try 2-3 rounds of 8-10 repetitions in your warm up. Focus on keeping a neutral spine, your core/abs engaged and increasing your range of motion in each subsequent round.

Keep an active upper back/shoulder girdle

Stability through your thoracic spine and scapula (shoulder blades) is crucial to transferring power from your legs to the bar and for achieving the lockout overhead in movements such as the thruster. While your shoulder blades will move during your overhead pressing movements, your shoulders should not end up around your ears.

Practice scapular pull-ups. Hang from a bar with your arms fully extended overhead. Pulling from your shoulder blades, without bending your arms, raise yourself as high as possible. Add 2-3 rounds of 8-10 repetitions to your warm up.

Thruster/Wall Ball Warm Up

2-3 rounds

  • 30-60s banded goblet squat hold

  • 8-10 abdominal roll-outs

  • 8-10 scapular pull-ups

Contact Dr. Dwayne to learn more drills to help you master the thruster

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