Kb Thrusters Exercise Guide — How to, Benefits, & Alternatives

kb thrusters

Kb thrusters are a full body workout that burns ample calories.

Isolation exercises are fantastic for targeting and shaping specific muscles, which is crucial for weightlifters. However, it’s equally important to include full-body exercises in your routine. The reason is simple: engaging multiple muscles substantially increases testosterone levels and burns more calories. And higher testosterone translates to more significant muscle growth (1). This exercise guide will explore the kb thrusters – a phenomenal full-body routine. We’ll also look into other bodyweight moves like burpees and pushups. 

Kettlebell thrusters engage multiple muscle groups, including legs, core, back, shoulders, arms, and chest. While barbells or dumbbells can also be used, performing this exercise with kettlebells demands greater stability. 

Starting with dumbbell thrusters before progressing to this routine is recommended for beginners. This will help you develop the correct form and fully exploit the benefits of kb thrusters. This exercise guide provides comprehensive information on the advantages of kb thrusters, proper technique, and additional full-body routines to supplement your workouts.

Techniques & Muscles Worked

Kb thrusters work on many upper and lower body muscles, such as the hamstrings, quads, calves, glutes, abs, obliques, triceps, delts, and pecs. Ultimately, this exercise is an effective full-body move and doesn’t leave many muscles out. 

To do a kb thruster, picture doing a squat and an overhead press in one fluid motion. Squat deeply until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and then press the kettlebell up once you fully extend your knees. Check out the step-by-step guide below for more instructions. 

  1. Select a kettlebell of appropriate weight and hold it with both arms at chest level. Keep your elbows close to your body. 
  2. Assume an upright stance with your feet shoulder-width apart, but keep a slight bend in your knees. Your neck and knees should be neutral. This is your starting position.
  3. Pre-tension your hips and shoulders and slowly squat while keeping a neutral spine.
  4. Pause when your thighs are parallel or slightly lower than parallel to the floor. 
  5. Next, stand up by pushing your legs onto the floor and then straightening your legs. 
  6. Once your knees are straight, use the momentum of your legs to explode the kettlebell into an overhead press. This position should have your shoulders directly over your hips.
  7. Pause again and slowly lower the kettlebell to the starting position to complete the rep.
  8. Repeat for as many reps as you desire. 


The kb thruster is a functional exercise that develops your athleticism. It strengthens your posterior chain and can help expose weakness in your stability, strength, or imbalances. Below are more benefits of this exercise. 

Develop Multiple Muscle Groups

The kb thruster works on the upper, lower, and core muscles. This is a time-efficient way to train if you only have a few weekly hours to dedicate to the gym. Working out multiple body muscles like this also floods your system with testosterone, which leads to more muscle growth. 

Total Body Stabilization

Kb thrusters require stability in your shoulders, core, and legs. You’ll also be training your scapular rotation, which increases your range of motion better than the barbell. Research shows that range of motion plays a vital role in muscle growth (2)

Burn Calories

Kb thrusters use strength and speed to explode the kettlebell during the overhead press part of the movement. It’s a form of HIIT training that’s great for your cardiovascular system and heart. HIIT movements also help to burn calories quickly. 

Increased Core Strength

When exercise uses loading in the front, it often requires great core and back strength. As a result, the kb thruster demands great stability from your abs and obliques to keep you upright. Doing this exercise over time will strengthen those muscles, leading to greater core strength

Carryover to Squats & Overhead Press

The kb thruster will build leg strength and improve your squat pattern. It also works on your scapular stabilization, core strength, and explosive power, which are requirements for the overhead press. Doing this exercise over time will improve your form for squats and overhead presses. 

Kb Thrusters Alternatives

Fitness enthusiasts can incorporate full-body exercises to save time in the gym and burn more calories. They can also help you condition the muscles of your whole body. Below are some other great full-body routines you can try out. 


Burpees are tasking and challenging, but the results are worth it. To do this routine, you go from a plank to a squat before exploding upward in a jump. This bodyweight exercise helps with weight loss and builds explosive power and strength. 



Pushups are another full-body move that you can try. Pushups build functional strength and are especially effective for your upper body and core muscles. Pushups can also help you increase muscle mass and burn calories.


After pushups, you can try lunges to hit the lower body. You can use dumbbells or kettlebells as your resistance during lunges.


What muscles do kettlebell thrusters work?

Kettlebell thrusters work on muscles all over your body. This includes your upper body, lower body, and core. Check the exercise guide above for a more detailed muscle breakdown. 

What are the benefits of thrusters?

Thrusters are great for stability and balance. They also work on multiple muscles simultaneously, helping you save time in the gym. Plus, doing thrusters can improve your form for squats and overhead presses. 

How do you do a kettlebell thruster?

To do a kettlebell thruster, you start with a squat. You explode into an overhead press while standing up from the squat position. For step-by-step instructions, check the exercise guide above.

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  1. Griggs, R. C., Kingston, W., Jozefowicz, R. F., Herr, B. E., Forbes, G., & Halliday, D. (1989). Effect of testosterone on muscle mass and muscle protein synthesis. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 66(1), 498–503. https://doi.org/10.1152/jappl.1989.66.1.498 
  2. Kassiano, W., Costa, B., Nunes, J. P., Ribeiro, A. S., Schoenfeld, B. J., & Cyrino, E. S. (2023). Which ROMs Lead to Rome? A Systematic Review of the Effects of Range of Motion on Muscle Hypertrophy. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 37(5), 1135–1144. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000004415
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.