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Help with Thrusters

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  • Help with Thrusters

    This isn't an "OMG help me to do this" but rather, I know how to do it and am having a few problems, and I'm curious if anyone can help me out. To start out with, in case it matters, i'm 22, 6' and around 290 pounds.

    My issue is dealing with form mostly. This is the first time I had ever done thrusters and so I knew that my wrists weren't going to be quite ready for them, but I dislocated a couple bones in my palm and broke both left arm bones. I didn't get proper physical therapy and so the range of motion isn't as good on my left wrist as it is on my right wrist. So this is the first issue - what sort of physical therapy can I do with my wrist to strengthen it and increase its range of motion? The injury occurred around 10 years ago.

    My second issue is a matter of elbow height. My friend who was teaching me form told me that my upper arm should be parallel to the ground in the rest position. This movement is very difficult for me and I suspect it is because I have bad shoulder flexibility (from sitting at the computer). I can usually get my elbows up but it's not nearly as full or strong of a position as I would like. What can I do to improve this?

    Also a last question, I worked only on form today because it was my first day, and I was having some troubles getting down the actual thrust without using my arms to lift the weight. Obviously there was some momentum from coming up from the squat and that contributed to moving the bar above my head but I still largely felt like I was lifting with my arms. I was only pressing the bar, so it was 45 lb. How do I know the fine line between lifting with my arms as opposed to using squat momentum? I felt sluggish after a few thrusts. At this point, a day after my workout, my quads are in unbearable sore pain (the good kind) so I'm assuming that since there isn't much soreness in my upper body (a little though) that I had at least the proper momentum and lifting technique.
    Thanks for your time.

  • #2
    1. The 'elbow height' problem is what is known as the front squat rack position, and googling front squat + wrist for example should give you some ideas.

    One way to improve this is to load a bar in a rack at chest height, with more weight than you can lift, then step up to the bar and get in the front squat position, ie. bar sitting in the fingers and on top of the delts, then simply try and lift your elbows and stretch it out. You can also do this with a partner gently pushing up on your elbows, but I'd work on it by yourself first. There are other ways too.

    2. You are meant to be lifting the bar with your arms (shoulders) - the momentum from the squat should only get the bar above your shoulders and then you press it out. You might be better to learn the front squat and the push press separately to begin with, then merge them into one smooth movement (ie thrusters)

    3. The best place to learn thrusters is probably the videos on the Crossfit website.


    • #3
      This is common with any barbell work and it can take a long time to develop the flexibility and strength in your wrists to be moderately comfortable in this position - it will come in time though. The alternative, as you have a past injury, is to sub for dumbbells if possible.

      And you don't really need to keep the arms parallel as in an olympic grip front squat.
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      • #4
        I did a little bit of that stretch work on the bar while I was practicing form. If the momentum only moves the bar from shoulder to above head, then I've got that down pretty well. Soreness indicators have pointed to the fact that most of the work done was in my quads, which is the intent I suppose.

        Thanks for the tips coach, I'll keep the fact in mind that they don't have to be perfectly parallel.

        Now after the crossfit wod from two days ago (that I did yesterday) what I think are my triceps (though tricep stretches can't seem to help much. Muscle from the elbow up the side and back of the arm to the deltoid) have been knotted or charlie horsed or something. Very painful to move them to 45 degrees and beyond towards my body, both sides. How do I fix this?