15 Brutal Thruster WOD Challenges to Destroy your Weaknesses

Any thruster WOD will most likely land you in a world of pain. However, they are a hugely effective way to build endurance and mental grit. Choose one from below and add it into your training.

Use the technique tips and common problems then browse through the workouts to find the right one for you.


According to CrossFit, “The thruster requires a long line of action against the normal force of gravity with a load plus body weight, creating one of the most profound accelerations possible. The movement works from full flexion to full extension at the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, and arm, and involves most of the major muscle groups. These factors earn the thruster its reputation as ‘the most draining of all exercises”‘.

Thruster WOD Solutions – Your front squat needs more work

Foundations for thrusters are built with front squats: a squat variation where the barbell is positioned on your (front) shoulders. Which means your torso needs to be upright, so the weight together with your body gets balanced properly.

To keep the torso upright, you need a sufficient mobility in your ankles and hips, and a good core strength that will allow you having a better control over the weight and movement itself. In general, the demand for overall mobility is much higher than with back squats.

In the bottom position make sure you keep the weight on the heels. Engage core and drive up with your hips. Learn how to activate and use both within the movement. Your thrusters will benefit from strength built with front squats.

Thruster WODSource: RX'd Photography
Front rack mobility in competition

Thruster WOD Solutions – Your front rack mobility needs more work

Insufficient front rack mobility is a common reason why so many athletes struggle with either front squat or thruster. The bar needs to rest on your shoulders, you should look for a “comfortable” position which feels strong and where your arms only control, not carry the bar/weight.

So if your torso is upright, your shoulders, wrist and arms in general need to be mobile enough to only control the position of the barbell. Until the top position of the squat, your torso carries the weight. Avoid touching the bar only with finger tips; grab it with a hook grip. If this is impossible, make it manageable with mobility drills.

Read More: Learn how to improve your front rack mobility


Practice your thruster technique and then try these 15 workouts with thrusters to improve strength in your legs, core and arms.


10 Rounds For Time

  • 10 Thrusters (95/65 lb)
  • 10 Ring Push-Ups

Good Times for “Coe”
– Beginner: 24-27 minutes
– Intermediate: 19-23 minutes
– Advanced: 15-18 minutes
– Elite: <14 minutes


For Time

  • 21 Thrusters (115/75 lb)
  • 12 Rope Climbs (15 ft)
  • 15 Thrusters (115/75 lb)
  • 9 Rope Climbs (15 ft)
  • 9 Thrusters (115/75 lb)
  • 6 Rope Climbs (15 ft)

Good Times for “Tommy V”
– Beginner: 20-21 minutes
– Intermediate: 15-17 minutes
– Advanced: 13-14 minutes
– Elite: 8-11 minutes


For Time

  • 100 Thrusters (135/95 lb)
  • 5 Burpees to start and at the top of every minute

Start with 5 burpees. Then complete as many thrusters as possible until the minute is up. At the top of the minute (1:00) complete another 5 burpees. Repeat each minute until 100 total thrusters are completed.

Score is the total time it takes to complete all 100 thrusters.

Good Score for “Kalsu”
– Beginner: 22-30 minutes
– Intermediate: 19-22 minutes
– Advanced: 15-19 minutes
– Elite: <14 minutes

Tips and Strategy

Prior to the start of the workout, decide how many thrusters you can realistically complete every minute (remember you always start with 5 burpees). Stick with that number, no matter how much it hurts. For example, if you get 5 thrusters every minute, you’ll be done in 20 minutes.

Intended Stimulus

This WOD should feel REALLY hard. This is a mental test as much as it is a physical one–the ticking clock (the one that tells you it’s time to do burpees AGAIN) feels like an enemy within minutes of starting the workout. Embrace the burning lungs and legs. Scale the load/volume so you can finish in 30 minutes or less; but don’t scale “the suck” out of “Kalsu.”

Scaling Options

Just like the other CrossFit hero workouts, “Kalsu” is grueling and unforgiving. Scale the load and/or reps so you finish in 30 minutes or less.

100 Thrusters (95/65 lb)
5 Burpees to start and at the top of every minute

Beginner A
100 Thrusters (75/55 lb)
3 Burpees to start and at the top of every minute

Beginner B
50 Thrusters (45/35 lb)
3 Burpees to start and at the top of every minute

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