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3 Tactics to Increase your Thruster Efficiency & Improve Recovery


Whether it’s the CrossFit Games or a local throwdown, the thruster is almost certainly going to come up. Or, maybe you just like doing thrusters for the fun of it. Either way, improving your thruster efficiency can give you a competitive edge or help you PR on your workout.

Over the years, CrossFit Games athlete Noah Ohlsen has become very familiar with thrusters – it’s actually become one of his favorite movements. Essentially, a thruster includes getting the barbell into the front rack position, going all the way down into a front squat, and then standing up and using your momentum to press the barbell overhead. You can do it to build strength or you can do multiple reps at a time, but it’s a very versatile movement that works the whole body at once. Thrusters are also going to spike your heart rate and ventilation rate.

Noah shares a few thruster tips that have been helpful for him over the years while training and competing in CrossFit.

Thruster Tips

thruster tip

Tip #1 – Widen your Stance

The first tip Noah has for making thrusters a little more efficient is to widen your stance. Bring your feet out to where when you squat down your hips go just below your knees. By doing that you’ll still get credit for the rep, but the range of motion is shortened (vs. when your feet are underneath your hips causing you to squat lower). If that extra inch of depth adds one second to the rep, across the course of a workout of 100 thrusters that’s almost a minute and a half you can save by just slightly changing your stance. For Noah, this position also allows him to get more elastic rebound so he can bounce out of the bottom position, which lessens fatigue on the quads.

Tip #2 – Pull Barbell Down

If you’re cycling through light-weight thrusters as quickly as possible, try pulling the barbell back down onto your shoulder to speed the rep up a little bit (instead of letting it fall on its own).

Tip #3 – Squeeze Legs & Glutes

If you’re going heavy on a thruster, focus on generating as much power as you can through your legs and hips to help drive the barbell up off your shoulders. As you stand up from the squat position, before you reach full leg extension, think about squeezing your legs and glutes as hard and fast as you can to create more speed of that bar coming off your shoulder. Then, you’ll only have to press overhead at the very end to finish the rep.

Thruster Recovery with Marc Pro

thruster recovery
Pad #1: Bottom of VMO

Post-thruster recovery is another important piece of the puzzle. Implementing recovery strategies will help decrease soreness/tightness, allow your body to repair and grow stronger, and enable you to get back to training sooner. Noah Ohlsen uses Marc Pro to recover his body and put an end to soreness and fatigue.

Thrusters are going to get you all over, but the main area that Noah feels them is in his quads. When recovering from thrusters, Noah always makes sure to flush out his quads with Marc Pro. Proper pad placement on the quads can be variable for everyone. Noah likes to place one pad right in the middle at the bottom of the teardrop (VMO) muscle.  The other pad goes somewhere in the middle of the quad or opposite the other pad on top of the TFL. Turn up the intensity as high as you can comfortably handle. If you’re feeling tight and sore somewhere else, check out other pad placement guidelines on our How to Use page.

“The best part is I just get to sit back and relax and let the Marc Pro do all the work.” – Noah Ohlsen

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