Gluteus maximus – a.k.a. glutes or bum muscles – might be the largest muscle in your body, but it definitely doesn't get the love it deserves in the gym. Skipping leg day is a running joke in gym circles, but not only it looks super ridiculous to have huge pecs and no quads and bum, but there are also leg exercises which not only tone your glutes but also work your upper body in the same time.
Enter the thruster. This leg exercise will strengthen and tone your bum and work your quads, triceps and shoulders, too, as well as your core, as it plays a crucial role in stabilising your body when you perform the exercise. Ready for some leg day action? Let's get right into it.
- Best leg workouts: this leg exercise will build bigger, more toned legs. Do NOT neglect leg day!
- Best running watch: the best fitness watches for running, gym, workouts, cycling and hiking
- Best running headphones: workout buds for gym, exercise, running and sport
On nutrition and safety
As with all resistance exercises, performing the exercises with the correct form is way more important than lifting heavy. Whilst doing thrusters, you will lift weights way over your head and if your core isn't engaged properly, you risk swaying your body too much in one direction and potentially falling, which can result in injuries.
You won't impress strangers in the gym trying to lift heavier weights than you actually can, injuring yourself in the process. Be safe and sensible and always do a couple of warm up sets with smaller weights, so your muscles are properly primed for the heavier weights.
Also, to aid muscle repair and building, take some protein within half an hour after you finished your workout.
If you want to push more, you can also consider taking creatine monohydrate, a supplement proven to increase performance. You won't need more than 3-5 grams per day and it can be mixed into anything you drink, including water, juice, or a beverage of your choice.
There are loads of training plans available online – we have quite a few here at T3, too – and apart from following a plan, the next best thing you can do to stay motivated is to get a training buddy. They can spot you and make sure you hit the gym regularly, which is the best way to build muscle, after all.
- Get a full body workout with just 5 simple exercises: the essentials everyone needs to know
- Get bigger arms with THIS classic exercise for biceps, pecs and shoulders
- This is the best exercise to work the BIGGEST muscle in your body – squat secrets
Thrusters – how to perform and muscles worked
Thrusters muscles worked: shoulders, quads, glutes, triceps, core
How to do thrusters: Start off with the dumbbells in your hands, raised to shoulder height, legs shoulder width apart, core engaged.
First, perform a squat with without moving the dumbbells away from your shoulders, so how you would perform a weighted squat. Go deep with the squat and push your bum out to keep the centre of mass above your feet.
Then, stand back up and after you fully extended your legs, push the weight up so your arms are extended fully upwards. If you are using dumbbells, feel free to rotate the dumbbells slightly, sort of like a half Arnold press.
After this, return to the starting position by lowering the dumbbells back to shoulder height. Make sure you pay attention to the weights as they come down so you don;t hit them against your head.
As with most resistance exercises, try focusing on doing the negative movement slowly for maximum muscle activation.
- Best workout shoes: safely and effectively squat, leap and lift your way to fitness with the best gym shoes
- Best running shoes: rule the road with road running trainers for men and women of all abilities
Dumbbell thruster variations and alternatives
- Barbell thrusters: this works pretty much like a combination of a front squat and a military press. Mind your head as you push the barbell up in front of it.
- Kettlebell thrusters: this version is very similar to dumbbell thrusters, but instead of those, you hold a kettlebells in each hand.
- Squat hold trusters: as you perform the squat part of the thruster, pause for 3-5 seconds halfway down, scorching those quads like you mean it.