Let me get straight to the point: I want to share one of my favorite workout moves with you. I've been doing this since my basketball days in college and I LOVE it for its effectiveness to get my heart rate up quickly and get the whole body burning. If you do this correctly, you hit arms, legs, and core at once. Not bad for one movement!
Anybody can do this. I have patients of mine do this in the clinic, and they range from elderly patients who are seeing me for generalized deconditioning to high school athletes who are rehabbing to get back to varsity sports. The key is to scale the weight to be appropriate for you, and modify as needed. (I'll explain more about that in a second.)
What you need to know
The name: Thruster
Equipment: You will need some form of weight in your hands. This can be a pair of dumbbells, kettlebells, a barbell, or heck- even a couple of gallon milk jugs! Whatever you have, make sure you can lift it over your head safely. Start light until you get the hang of this movement.
Step 1: To begin, hold weights in each hand at shoulder height.
Step 2: Squat down, maintaining your hand weights in the starting position. Try to get your knees to 90 degrees, thighs parallel to the floor (or even slightly deeper) for a good leg challenge.
Step 3: As you stand up, simultaneously press the weight over head as you make your way to standing. This should be one fluid motion. Maintain a strong core during this movement, as weight over head is a more unstable position.
Step 4: Immediately squat down to begin another repetition as you lower the weight back to your shoulders. Repeat, repeat, repeat!
Breathing tip: Inhale as you squat down; exhale as you press and stand up.
Modification: If squatting low hurts your knees, please don't go that low! If your balance is unsteady or if it's a challenge right now for you to squat to that depth without support due to lack of strength, place a chair behind you so you can tap your rear on the surface. It's also there as your safety net for balance.
How many to do depends on what you are aiming to accomplish in your workout. To get my heart rate up, I tend to do 15-20 thrusters in a row if my weight is light, and I will perform 4-5 rounds overall depending on what else I'm throwing into my workout routine for that day. If you want to focus on strength more and you are comfortable with the motion, increase your weight to where you feel you are working at 75-80% effort, and perform 5 repetitions. Repeat for 3-5 rounds.
The next time you're looking for an idea to switch up your workout, throw some thrusters into the mix! Give it a try and let me know what you think. I'd love to hear!