Single Kettlebell Thruster – Exercise Guide, Benefits, and Muscles Worked

In earlier pieces we discussed both the dumbbell thruster and double kettlebell thruster, each offering athletes and coaches unique yet similar training outcomes for increased movement, strength, and endurance performance.

Much like the aforementioned movements, the single kettlebell thruster is a challenging variation what requires great amounts of core stabilization, movement integrity, and unilateral strength.

In this article we will discuss the single kettlebell thruster, the benefits coaches and athletes can expect from adding them into training programs, how to properly perform them.

How to Do a Single Kettlebell Thruster

In the below video we get a clear demo of the single arm kettlebell thruster movement, which can be done from the front rack position or kettlebell clean movement.

Single vs Double Kettlebell Thruster

Below are just a few reasons why coaches and athlete should program single kettlebell thrusters into training regimens as compared to double kettlebell thrusters. Additional benefits of performing double kettlebell thrusters can be read more about here.

1. Increased Unilateral Strength

Double kettlebell thrusters offer unilateral training benefits, however the single kettlebell variation can increase unilateral strength and movement coordination due to mechanism such as bilateral deficit. Simply put, by challenging the system with single-sided loading, muscle fibers from the opposite side of the body will still be called into play to assist in the movement, offering an overloading principle that can, in the long run, positively increase both single and double-sided strength abilities.

2. Addressing Movement Asymmetries

Like any single-sided movement, asymmetrical adaptations will take place due to the benefits to unilateral training. Compound that with the already challenging kettlebell thruster movement, and you are left with an exercise that can strengthen the core, back, and shoulders independently; highly beneficial for those athletes with discrepancies between the left and right side of their bodies and/or recovering from an injury affecting those muscle groups and patterns.

3. Enhanced Core Stability and Strength

Anti-rotational training is a term used to describe any movement or exercise that entails an athlete/lifter to resist shearing, flexing, and spiraling and forced upon the spine. The single kettlebell thruster demands the utmost control of the pelvis, lumbar spine, abdominals, and more, creating a functional movement that can maximize core stability and control.

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