How To Do a Squat Thrust


Chris Freytag demonstrating a Squat Thruster

Learn how to correctly perform the total body movement, a squat thruster.

Squats are one of the most effective ways to get better buns! They are also a great way to improve mobility in your hips and tone your legs and upper back. Combining them with dumbbells into a squat thrust makes this exercise a total body workout that will get your heart rate up and add an extra challenge to your exercise routine!

Learning how to do squat thrusts will provide you with functional strength and stability that is applicable to your everyday life. You need the muscles in your glutes, legs and hips to help you out of a chair or pick up something from the floor. They will also ultimately help you prevent injury! So why not give them a try?

Before you get started, here are some quick tips to help you improve the squat thrust: don’t be afraid to stick your butt out! Take a wide stance to really work your hamstrings and glutes—this will also keep you balanced. Make sure your knees don’t track over your toes. Keep your chest lifted, shoulders down and abs engaged! And—if you can—get low for a more advanced workout!

Looking for more ways to switch up your squats and maintain a challenging workout? Try some plyometric jump squats to get your heart rate up or an isometric hold wall-squat to really feel the burn! We also have a host of other squats to try to keep your routine interesting, such as: side squats, straddle squat jumps, surfer squats and many more! Always switch up your routines so you’re never bored during a workout!

Use the links below to quickly navigate this guide:

How To Do a Squat Thrust

1) Start standing with feet hip distance apart and lower into a squat position by bending the knees. Keep the spine straight, chest lifted, and knees behind toes. The elbows are bent and dumbbells are at shoulder height.

2) Using the lower body, thrust up to standing and press the dumbbells overhead extending the arms long. Then lower back to starting position.

Watch as Chris demonstrates how to properly perform a dumbbell squat thrust in the video below.

What Muscles Do Squat Thrusts Work?

Squat thrust is an awesome power move that strengthens and tones your glutes, legs, shoulders and arms, while providing amazing cardiovascular benefits as well!

Benefits of Squat Thrusts

There are many reasons you should incorporate squat thrust into your workouts. Here are just a few:

Tightens and Tones Your Butt

Yup! This move is the ultimate butt shaper. By getting deep into the squat and then powering up by use of your glutes, you are shaping and toning that lower body area while at the same time getting you to breath heavy and burn calories to remove any extra fat that might be trying to hang on.

High Intensity Interval Challenge

No matter how you look at it, squat thrusts are going to get you breathing heavy! You will undoubtedly reach your anaerobic state, meaning breathing only through your mouth and needing a break after about 20-30 seconds. This makes it perfect for high intensity interval training! It’s a crazy-good move that accomplishes in seconds what takes other exercises several minutes!

Strengthens and Tones Shoulders and Arms

The movement in squat thrust originates from your glutes and legs, but ultimately you are going to use your shoulders and arms not only to press the weights up but also to hold them in place during the movement.

How Many Calories Do Squat Thrusts Burn?

People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working hard. Bottom line – the harder you work, the more calories you burn. This move will burn lots of calories!

Other Exercises Similar to Squat Thrusts

If you like the idea of getting a great cardio move right in the comfort of your own home with no equipment needed, try these moves too!

How To Do Plank To Upright Row

How To Do Plie To V-Raise

How To Do Split Jumps 

Incorporating Squat Thrusts Into Your Workouts

Squat thrust is an amazing strength and cardio exercise all on its own! However, you could also incorporate squat thrust into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

Use Squat Thrust in Cardio Challenge

You don’t need to go running or ride a bike to get your cardio in. You don’t even need to be in a gym or outside. Using basic power moves like squat thrust you can get a complete cardio workout that is simple, easy to do anywhere, and super effective.

10-Minute Power Move Cardio Challenge: Grab a pair of medium dumbbells and set them near you to grab as needed. Start with a 1 min. jog in place to warm up. Do each of the following for 45 seconds, with 15 seconds rest in between:

Lateral Jumps

Squat Thrust

Split Jumps

Plank to Upright Row


High Knees

Side to Side Squat Swing

Power Skips

Rest and repeat.

Use Squat Thrust in a Circuit Workout

Circuits are a fun way to exercise and get your strength and cardio in all at the same time. The idea behind circuits is to go from one move, or one “station”, to the next with little or not rest in between. Check this out:

Fat Blasting Circuit Training Workout: Move directly from one exercise to the next with little to no break in between. Rest for 1 minute at the end, then repeat the sequence.

30 seconds cross behind lunge with lateral raise

30 seconds high knee run

30 seconds push ups

30 seconds squat thrust

30 seconds surrenders

30 seconds bear crawl

30 seconds renegade row

30 seconds crab walk

Rest 1 minute. Repeat. Stretch.

Use Squat Thrusts in HIIT Training

High Intensity Intervals are all the rage because they get the job done in record time. Go as hard as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and then go hard again. Here’s a super easy way to kick butt!

Hot HIIT Workout

Do each move for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds in between moves.

Squat Thrust

Plank Jacks

Plank to Upright Row

Squat Jumps

Go through this sequence 4 times

Here are 3 more workouts that incorporate squat thrust into your workout!

7 Total Body Exercises That Burn Fat Fast

The Busy Woman’s Strength Workout

7 Exercises To Go From Flat To Firm Butt

Targets: shoulders, glutes, hamstrings




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