What is Squat Thrust: How To Do It & 8 Benefits

squat thrust


The squat thrust is an incredible exercise that helps in full-body strengthening. Don’t confuse squat thrust with a burpee, both are two different exercises, squat thrust can be called as beginner level burpees. People who find burpees to be very difficult are consulted to perform squat thrusts.

What are the benefits of squat thrust? Squat thrust is a highly versatile compound movement that helps in improving the cardiovascular health, muscle mass and fat burning. Squat thrust involves lot more muscle groups that any other traditional cardio which makes it a very effective exercise for fat burning. Additionally, it requires no equipment and can help you burn tone of calories in just 20 minutes.

Let’s get dig deep into the technicalities of squat thrust, how it works, its variations, and benefits.

What is a squat thrust?

Squat thrust is a beautiful exercise because it is a fully multi-joint, functional exercise where you work on your entire body which ultimately leads to a higher metabolism rate, superior muscle development, and faster fat loss.

Trainers love this wonderful exercise due to its wide range of benefits. We will be covering the benefits of squat thrust in the latter part of this article.

Man naming Dr. Royal H. Burpee created this exercise to check and challenge the cardiovascular performance of soldier’s recruitment. But now this awesome exercise became a favorite part of every fitness trainer checklist due to its fat burning and muscle building capabilities.

How to do it

There is a slight difference in performing squat thrust and burpees. While burpees add a jump at the end of the movement, squat thrust lacks this movement. Everything else is pretty similar:

Step 1- Stand on your feet with shoulders wide apart

Step 2- Lower into a squat position with placing your hands on the floor

Step 3- Kick your steps back in a planking position

Step 4- Jump to get back in position specified in step-2

Step 5- Get back to your standing position

For video, illustration refer to the video attached below:-

Squat thrust Variations

If you are too bored of doing squat thrust every day, you can try a few other variations for extended benefits.

Variation doesn’t mean you will be required to perform whole new kind of exercise; all you need to do is a single change in movement to experience more resistance.

Squat thrust with pushups

Just incorporate the single pushup after getting into the planking position, and then get back to the position specified in ‘Step-2’.

This variation will not just work on your hamstring, glutes, and core, but will have a great effect on your chest and shoulders muscle group.

Squat thrust with high-jump

For high-jump, you can choose to jump on a box, chair, bench, etc.

After completing the full movement of squat thrust and getting back in standing position, perform single high-jump for greater resistance. This variation might sound like an easy one, but it will feel like hell after 10 repetitions.

Squat thrust with pull-ups

Just like a squat thrust with high-jump, perform a single wide-grip pull-up. This movement will help in putting extra load on your back.

Squat thrust with a dumbbell

For the beginners, it’s recommended to use lightweight dumbbell initially.

Hold a dumbbell in both hands and perform squat thrust, after you get back in standing position, raise the dumbbells for the overhead press to work on your shoulder and arms.

Benefits of the squat thrust

1- No Equipment Required

You don’t need to find the gym in order to stay in shape, benefits of squat thrust can be enjoyed almost anywhere.

If you are someone who finds commercial gyms boring or if you travel on a frequent basis then squat thrust is an exercise for you. The squat thrust is a total body workout that will boost up metabolism, your cardiovascular health, fat burning mechanism, all these benefits in a time-efficient way.

2- Metabolic Effects

Squat thrust promotes your body’s aerobic gains as well as anaerobic gains. While many people perform this movement as cardio, but they are unaware of the fact that ‘Squat thrust’ is a HIIT cardio.

HIIT cardio doesn’t just help in gaining aerobic benefits by improving the body’s endurance, but it also works as great muscle gaining mechanism.

HIIT workout triggers the body’s afterburn effect mechanism, EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) is a scientific term of the afterburn effect. After performing squat thrust or burpee or any other HIIT workout, the human body goes through acute deficiency of oxygen (that’s the reason we run out of breath after squat thrust).

To maintain this optimum level of body oxygen level, body works for the next 16-24 hours to maintain optimum oxygen storage, this ultimately leads to greater calorie consumption.

3- Cardiovascular benefits

Every cardio is meant to improve the cardiovascular performance of the body, so does squat thrust. Squat thrust helps people to train at a higher heart rate to obtain maximum endurance and muscular strength.

Frequent practice of squat thrust or burpees will not just challenge your heart, but will also improve your heart’s capability to pump more blood with every stroke.

4- Time-efficient

I challenge you to perform a squat thrust for 10 minutes straight!

If you are a newbie then don’t even think about it. There are not many exercises which require so little time but give back so much.

I personally use squat thrust with the combination of pull-ups or push-ups as a perfect finisher. It doesn’t just challenge you physically but will challenge you mentally. You need to acquire a lot of willpower to perform squat thrust or burpees.

5- Weight loss

Of course, it aids in faster weight loss. As we have already discussed about the afterburn effects or EPOC.

Studies have proven that 20 minute of HIIT workout burns more calories in comparison to hour-long slow cardio.

For those who prefer to jog in open instead of going to the gym, this squat thrust can be proven to be a great finisher. While you jog, you burn calories until you keep jogging. But after adding squat thrust or burpee as a workout finisher, your body will be able to experience higher metabolic rate, and better muscle buildup.

6- Core Strengthening

As the name suggests ‘Squat thrust’ the exercise is divided into two parts:

  • Squat
  • Thrust

While performing this exercise when you bend your knee and get into squat position while touching the ground with your hands, and then you kick your legs back to get into plank position and then jump forward to get back into squat position.

This is the phase when you work on your core while kicking your body back and then getting back into squat position. Your core gets into work for this movement.

If you are willing to target your abs, oblique and your love handle in just one movement then squat thrust and burpees are the perfect solution for you.

7- Lower body

The primary muscle group involved in the squat thrust in your lower body.

Squat thrust concentrates primarily on your hamstrings, quadriceps and gluteus maximus muscle group. A Strong lower body has multiple benefits too.

Stronger legs and core muscle will increase the lifting capability of the upper body; it helps in increasing testosterone level of body, better metabolism due to largest muscle group.

Muscles worked while squat thrust

Squat thrust is a multi-joint compound movement that requires almost the whole body but we are marking only primary muscle groups involved.

Squat thrust muscle worked
Primary muscle groups involved in squat thrust

Squat thrust FAQ

1- How many squat thrusts should I do?

It depends on your cardiovascular health, weight, and goals. If you are starting your fitness journey for the first time then I suggest you do three sets of 10 reps.
If you are an active person with good cardio endurance then you can push a little harder.
Don’t try to achieve maximum reps on the first day, steady progression in intensity is a key to success.

2- What is the difference between a Burpee and a squat thrust?

Burpee is just an advanced version of squat thrust with a plyometric portion. squat thrust can be called as beginner level burpees, people who find burpees to be very difficult are consulted to perform squat thrusts.

3- How often you should perform squat thrust?

The squat thrust is a low-intensity workout that can be done almost every day, but we recommend doing it on an alternate day basis.
Squat thrust involves major muscle groups and your body might require some healing time after an exhaustive session.

4- How many squat thrusts to lose weight?

Losing weight require totally different outlook.
To lose weight you need to eat lesser calories than you burn on a daily basis.
Calculating your daily caloric requirement and maintaining a caloric deficit state is the most reliable way to lose weight.

5- Is it okay to squat thrust with a weighted vest?

Absolutely, you can do squat thrust with weights or a weighted vest to increase the intensity of the workout. most of the pro athletes use weighted vests to elevate their performance.

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Thanks for reading. Questions are welcomed in the comments as always. This site contains affiliate links as well as general health and fitness information. Please read my Medical Disclaimer and Writing Disclaimer for more information.    

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