Squat Thrust: How to Perform, Benefits & Expert Tips  

The squat thrust is an underused exercise that has a ton of potential, and once you know how to perform it correctly, you may be able to get a slight advantage over other lifters.  

In this article, we will take a look at how to perform the squat thrust, the benefits that come from performing the squat thrust, and some expert tips to help you along the way.  


Squat thrusts are a dynamic and challenging exercise that targets multiple muscle groups and provides a great cardiovascular workout.

They are often included in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routines and are known for their effectiveness in burning calories and building strength.  

In this article, we will explore how squat thrusts work, how to perform them correctly, variations you can try, the difference between squat thrusts and burpees, the benefits they offer, and important safety tips to consider. 

How They Work 

Squat thrusts are a full-body exercise that combines elements of both a squat and a plank.  

They primarily target your lower body, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.  

Additionally, they engage your core muscles, shoulders, chest, and arms, making it a highly effective compound movement. 

How To Do A Squat Thrust 

Follow these steps to perform a squat thrust correctly: 

  1. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms by your sides. 
  1. Lower your body into a squat by bending at the knees and hips, keeping your back straight and chest lifted. Place your hands on the floor in front of you, just inside your feet. 
  1. Shift your weight onto your hands and jump or step your feet back, extending your legs into a plank position. Keep your core engaged and your body in a straight line from head to heels. 
  1. Quickly reverse the movement by jumping or stepping your feet forward, returning to the squat position. 
  1. From the squat position, stand up explosively and return to the starting position. 

3 Ways To Do A Squat Thrust 

For The Basic Burpee: 

  • Follow the steps mentioned above to perform a squat thrust. 
  • Once you’re in the plank position, lower your body into a pushup and then push back up before bringing your feet forward and standing up. 

Add A Pushup Or Jump 

  • Perform a squat thrust as described, but when you’re in the plank position, add a pushup by lowering your chest towards the floor and then pushing back up. 
  • To make it more challenging, you can incorporate a jump after standing up from the squat position. 

Add Dumbbells 

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands while performing the squat thrust. The added weight increases the intensity and engages your upper body muscles further. 

Squat Thrust vs. Burpee: What’s the Difference? 

Squat thrusts and burpees are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference between the two.  

While both exercises involve a squat and a plank position, the key distinction lies in the additional movements. 

 In a basic squat thrust, you return to the squat position after being in the plank, whereas in a burpee, you add a pushup and a jump or a squat jump before returning to the squat position.  

Burpees are generally more intense and involve an additional explosive movement. 

3 Benefits of Doing Squat Thrusts 

Full-Body Workout: Squat thrusts engage multiple muscle groups, making them an efficient exercise for a full-body workout. They target your lower body, upper body, and core simultaneously, improving overall strength and endurance. 

Cardiovascular Fitness: Squat thrusts are a high-intensity exercise that elevates your heart rate, making them an effective cardiovascular workout. Incorporating them into your routine can improve your aerobic capacity and burn calories. 

 Functional Movement: Squat thrusts mimic movements you perform in daily life, such as getting up from the floor or pushing yourself off the ground. By regularly practicing squat thrusts, you enhance your functional fitness, making everyday activities easier. 

How to Work out Safely and Avoid Injury 

To ensure safety and prevent injuries while performing squat thrusts, consider the following tips: 

  • Warm Up: Prior to starting any exercise, warm up your muscles and joints with dynamic movements such as jumping jacks, arm swings, or light jogging. This prepares your body for the intensity of the workout. 
  • Start Slowly: If you’re new to squat thrusts, begin with modified versions or fewer repetitions to allow your body to adapt gradually. Focus on proper form and gradually increase the intensity as you become more comfortable. 
  • Maintain Proper Form: Keep your back straight, chest lifted, and core engaged throughout the exercise. Avoid rounding your back or letting your hips sag during the plank position. This ensures that you’re targeting the intended muscles and reduces the risk of injury. 
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body feels during the exercise. If you experience pain or discomfort, modify the movement or take a break. It’s essential to listen to your body and avoid pushing beyond your limits. 
  •  Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout to stay hydrated and maintain optimal performance. 
  • Wear Appropriate Footwear: Choose supportive and comfortable athletic shoes that provide stability and cushioning for your feet and ankles. 

Squat Thrust – FAQs 

What Does Squat Thrusts Do? 

Squat thrusts are good for building full-body muscle and strength as well as for improving cardio when done consecutively.  

Is A Squat Thrust the Same As A Burpee? 

No, a squat thrust us not the same as a burpee. 

A burpee involves jumping in the air at the top of the movement, while a squat thrust does not include any jumping. 

What Is Another Name For Squat Thrust? 

Another name for the squat thrust is the cardio squat.  

Many people think another name for the squat thrust is a burpee, but this is not true.  

Squat thrusts and burpees are two completely different exercises.  

How Many Squat Thrusts in a Minute? 

Most people should aim to complete at least 30 squat thrusts in a minute when first starting out. 

If you are advanced, you should aim to do around 40+. 

We hope this article will be of use to you.  

If you follow all of the advice we have given you in this article, you will master the squat thrust in no time at all.  

For more exercise information, head over to MovingForwards

Scroll to Top