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.

Want more Kettlebell?

Take a look at more of our kettlebell training articles below!

Featured Image: Train Aggressive on YouTube

Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.

Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.

Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.

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