At Bodybuilding.com, we don't expect anyone to do the same workout, follow the same program, or have the same goals. We respect and enjoy the full spectrum of strength training, learn from everyone we can, and love to watch all lifters do their thing.
Still, recent history has shown there's a time and a place when it's pretty damn fun and meaningful for everyone to do some version of the same thing on the same day. Judging by the way Memorial Day workouts like the Murph WOD have taken off in recent years, we're not alone in this feeling.
And yet, we were surprised recently to realize that there has yet to be a commonly accepted Fourth of July workout. Sure, there are a bunch of gym-specific workouts floating around the internet, but nothing easy to remember and easy to replicate like, say, Murph.
So we decided to create one. And it's simply this:
Thruster variation: 76 total reps, in as little time as possible
A thruster, in case you don't know, is a front squat that flows into an overhead press. It's about as full-body as exercise gets, and you can do it with just about any object: a barbell, a kettlebell, a cooler, a rock, a child—you get it.
Sound fun in a crappy sort of way? We've tested it, and you'd better believe it is. Here's everything you need to know to make it happen, and to make it your own, this July 4.
The Workout Details: Weights, Time, Rest
We're not big on set weights and implements, because we've seen how when it's just a few pounds too heavy, things can go south quickly. But if you're looking for an RX version of this workout, here it is:
Barbell thruster: 95 pounds for men, 65 pounds for women, for time.
That's a barbell with either 25s or 10s on either side. Is that weight too heavy for you? Dial it back to any weight you can get for 10 clean, no-doubt reps per set. Or use a dumbbell (35 lbs. men/25 lbs. women) or a kettlebell (35 lbs. men/26 lbs. women).
Why are those standards lighter? Because the weight is farther out in front of you, and you have to stabilize the weights independently, making the movement harder. And because we'd rather have the weights be just a little too light, so the only risk is that you go too hard and barf, rather than too heavy, so you tweak something. But if you want to be an All-American badass, hey, go as heavy as you want and earn those barbecue gains.
Do the workout for time, meaning take as much rest as you need and break up the 76 reps however you need, but hustle to get them done in as little time as you can. Think you've got a time no one can beat? Toss it on Instagram and tag Bodybuilding.com.
But here's the thing: America has never been satisfied with the RX version of anything. We take the rules, consider them, and then use that as the starting point for the next innovation. And we want you to do the same for this workout! It's such a simple protocol, it's betting for you to make it your own.
Here are a few ideas. If you…
Don't have a barbell, or don't want to use one: Do 76 thrusters with dumbbells, kettlebells, a sandbag, weight plate, or any other heavy object.
Have a shoulder that doesn't like barbell presses: Do single-arm or double-arm thrusters with a landmine.
Feel not-good pain in your wrists or elbows when you rack a barbell: Use a neutral grip barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells.
Have a laughable front squat where you bend over like a pool noodle: Mobilize your hips with the warm-up from Dr. John Rusin's lower-body workout in Unstoppable: The Ultimate Guide to Training Through Injury. Or use dumbbells or kettlebells.
Are miles from anything heavy and made of metal: Use a piece of America (aka a rock).
Are patriotic AF: Use a flagpole. (Just don't let the flag touch the ground.)
Are patriotic AF and want to destroy your obliques: Use a flagpole and hold it at the end, not the middle.
Don't have any equipment, logs, or even a rock to your name: Do 76 bodyweight thrusters! Touch the ground between your feet at the bottom of each rep, then raise them overhead at the top.
Are an adaptive athlete and two-arm, two-leg thrusters aren't an option: Do single-dumbbell or kettlebell thrusters, or seated wall-ball shots, or any of the other great thruster adaptations cooked up by adaptive CrossFit athletes. Or just take the 76-rep theme and run with it on your own!
Why the thruster?
Because the combination of a front squat into a press hits as many muscle groups as any other movement out there: shoulders, upper back, legs, glutes, and plenty of core. But it's far more scalable and user-friendly than, say, a clean and press, clean and jerk, or snatch-style movement.
Plus, the momentum from the squat portion of the movement helps power the weight through the most dicey portion of the press for the shoulder. It's also a movement that will make your heart and lungs stand up and salute in no time.
Why 76 reps?
Because in 1776, a bunch of people decided to stand up and thrust off their thralldom to a monarch living an ocean away.
Plus, it's enough reps that few people will be able to do it in a single shot. But pretty much anyone can break it up into pieces and make it through—even if it's one rep at a time! But seriously: If you can knock out 76 straight reps with one of the RX weights, film it and tag Bodybuilding.com, please. You are a true American animal.
How do I perform a barbell thruster?
Power clean or hang clean the bar up into the rack position if you're a tough cookie, or simply use a squat rack, or get it into the rack position another way if you have any doubt whatsoever about your clean capabilities.
Perform a front squat, going to parallel if you can, or deeper if possible. Then power out of the hole and use your lower body to help propel the weight overhead. Lower it under control into the rack position, and do it again. And again.
What if I want to do more?
Then do more. But do this first. And let us know how it goes!