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What are Barbell Thrusters? Tips, Technique, and More

Barbell thrusters is an effective exercise for your upper and lower body. It can help your fitness goals in several ways and can be done at an intermediate or advanced level. However, you can also do this exercise with a dumbbell if the barbell is too advanced for your fitness levels at the beginning.

Now, before you incorporate the exercise into your workout routine, you need to know how the exercise is done.

The correct form of doing the barbell thrusters

You’ll need a barbell for this exercise, preferably some weights. However, you can start with barbell thrusters with only the barbell rod.

  • Place the barbell on the squat rack slightly below shoulder level. This way, when you put your shoulders under the rack, your knees should bend slightly.
  • Place the barbell on your deltoids, taking the front squat position. Hold the barbell with your fingers for support.
  • Pick up the barbell by pushing through with your knees and go down in a front squat. Ensure that your triceps are parallel to the floor and your hips are pushed out when going down.
  • Push through your heels when you move up and wrap the barbell with your fingers for a proper grip.
  • Push the barbell towards the ceiling as you come to the end of your squat and slightly push your neck outwards to make room for the barbell.
  • Hold the position, ensuring your entire body is engaged to maintain stability.
  • Slowly bring the barbell down to your shoulders and do the next rep.

Tips to do barbell thrusters better

When you’re doing the barbell thruster, it’s important to keep a few additional details in mind.


Engage your core: When you’re doing this exercise, you must engage your core. This provides you with stability and balance, which is of utmost importance throughout the movement.

Control your breathing: You need to control your breathing while doing barbell thrusters. Reason being, every time you inhale and exhale, you provide your body with proper oxygen circulation.

Pick a weight you can handle: There’s no point in doing this exercise with a heavy weight and not going through with the full range of motion. It’s better to start off slow and use lighter weights to get the posture and movement correct.

Benefits of barbell thrusters

Core and leg strength

As mentioned, barbell thrusters work the entire body. Your legs get worked during the squats while your core muscles get worked when pushing the barbell overhead. Additionally, the shoulders also get worked on considering that pushing the barbell overhead is similar to barbell overhead press.


This movement requires significant energy. Therefore, as you continue to use barbell thrusters, your body will be able to improve its endurance to withstand the additional effort.

Stability and balance

Considering the overall movement, your body needs to coordinate its upper and lower portions to maintain stability and balance. It is important that you are aware of your body’s motion at every moment and the timing for each move is calculated.

Common mistakes

You’ll take time to master this movement given the complexities. Nevertheless, being aware of some of the common mistakes will help you perfect barbell thrusters faster.

Front squat position

Since this is your first position, you need to be extremely careful that you’ve placed the barbell correctly. If you lose control of the barbell midway through the exercise, it could end with you being injured. Therefore, it’s important to keep your front squat position on-point.


Control your heels

Your heels play an important role during the exercise. Ideally, you should be able to push from your heels. Therefore, they should always be firmly pressed against the ground. Raising your heels could cause you to lose balance and injure yourself.

Keeping elbows bent

When you’re done with the rep, your hands should be extended towards the ceiling with locked elbows. This is how you know the rep has been completed, and you can slowly bring down the barbell.

Not focusing on your timing

Barbell thrusters are a game of time. You need to make every movement at its given time and not a second earlier. Therefore, your front squat comes after you’ve picked the barbell off the rack and positioned yourself. The overhead press comes once you’re almost at the end of the squat. You need to be aware of the timing at all times.