Form Friday: Dumbbell Thruster, The Squat Press


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercise: Dumbbell Thruster (Squat and Press)

Muscle Groups: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Shoulders

Importance: The dumbbell thruster is one of the most dynamic, compound,  total body exercises that will not only help you get stronger but maximize your calorie burn.

Proper Form:

  1. Start with your feet approximately shoulder width apart in your squat position
  2. Hold your dumbbells in the front rack position in front of your shoulders
  3. Begin your descent into the squat position by driving your hips down and back and keeping your knees pressed out to ensure they are tracking over your feet
  4. Continue descending until your hip crease reaches just below your knees
  5. After reaching the bottom of your squat, begin to ascend by driving through the bottom of your feet to re-extend your knees and hips
  6. Just before reaching full extension of the knees and hips, begin to extend your arms overhead so that you are transferring some of the force from your lower body extension into your press
  7. Press straight overhead by extending your elbows and driving the dumbbells up toward the ceiling
  8. Once you reach full extension overhead, bend your arms and lower the dumbbells back to the starting position before repeating for the next repetition


  • Keep your chest up and core tight throughout the movement
  • Control your breathing; inhale as you squat, exhale as you press overhead
  • Do not rush the movement
  • Progressions/Regressions: Dumbbell Front Rack Squats, Dumbbell Overhead Press, Push Press

Sample Workout:
    -15 dumbbell thrusters
    -10 dumbbell bent over rows
    -5 dips
    5 rounds total