Benefits of Trap Bar Deadlifts For Bodybuilders

The trap bar is one specialty bar you need to add to your workouts.

The trap bar, also called the hex bar given its shape, it an amazing piece of equipment in the gym that some people may not know about. Considered one of the smartest inventions for gym equipment in the past few decades, this bar offers a great alternative to the traditional barbell. As a safer option for fitness junkies and gym-goers of all skill levels, the trap bar can be found in most gyms and the benefits are incredible.

The trap bar deadlift is an exercise that anyone of any skill level can do to get the most out of their deadlifts without the added stress and strain of a conventional one. As an extremely beneficial exercise, the trap bar deadlifts will work to build strength and explosive power while also limited the risk of injury.

As a complex movement, the deadlift requires the use of so many different muscles and joints with the proper coordination, balance, and technique for maximum benefit. But the trap bar allows for a more stable lift without sacrificing any of the gains a deadlift can provide (1). After hearing what the trap bar has to offer, the choice between a traditional deadlift and a trap bar deadlift may become that much easier for you.

trap bar deadlift

Trap Bar Deadlifts Vs. Traditional Deadlift

A traditional deadlift is one of the big three powerlifting exercises and can greatly improve your muscle growth with a host of other benefits. The traditional deadlift uses a barbell while the trap bar deadlift, of course, uses the trap bar and while there are similarities, the differences are enough to potentially change your mind. Both exercises require lifting heavy weights off the floor in a hinge pattern with similar movements to achieve muscle growth.

The barbell deadlift, however, has a slightly greater peak in the spine and hips, while the trap bar deadlift has a larger peak knee movement. The trap bar deadlift has more squat-like elements than the barbell deadlift, but similar to the barbell deadlift, it has twice as high of the demand on the glutes, hamstrings, and quads with a similar range of motion to the barbell deadlift. The barbell deadlift may exhibit higher activation of the hamstrings, spine, and biceps (2), while the trap bar deadlift can be higher for your quads. It is a preference, for those closely linked to powerlifting would most likely choose the barbell deadlift, but the overall benefits of the trap bar deadlift are now something to consider.

Benefits Of A Trap Bar Deadlift

Safer Alternative

With the trap bar deadlift, the weight is centered within the body as opposed to in front of it which creates a great balanced position to keep strain off of your lower back. It also requires slightly less range of motion since it is higher off the ground also reducing the risk of injury. The trap bar deadlift is great for beginners to build strength quickly and execute solid form as well as for more established athletes looking for a safer way to get the benefits of a deadlift without the added risk of a more conventional one.

body squat

Lower Body Builder

Hitting your hamstrings, glutes, and quads, the trap bar deadlift is a great way to build lower body strength. With more of a squat-like movement than a traditional deadlift, your quads will be fired up increasing muscular growth and muscular endurance. It also increases the amount of mechanical tension provided which is the amount of weight lifted and its impact on muscle growth (3). As a safer alternative, you can lift more weight and increase your capacity for lower body muscle growth.

Promotes Explosive Power

With more weight and a shorter distance to lift, you can increase your power output resulting in a higher level of power and explosiveness (4). This is great for athletes whose sports require a certain level of power to generate high performance, or for gym-goers looking to gain benefits for other exercises requiring a certain level of power to perform them.

Solid Transfer To Other Sports

For powerlifters and strongmen, the trap bar deadlift is a great exercise to diversify pulling strength without risking the lower back. Athletes in more formal sports can increase their jumping abilities and improve their athletic stances for more balance and support. As a safe alternative to the traditional deadlift, the trap bar deadlift is a great exercise to maximize their performance and stay physically healthy in the process.

exercise prep

How To Do A Trap Bar Deadlift

The starting position begins with you standing in the middle of the trap bar. With a flat back and tight core, bend your knees and grab the handles with your arms extended. There will be a slight pull on your hamstrings before you begin to drive. Pull the bar upwards and extend your hips and knees while squeezing your glutes. Keep your back in the same neutral position and reverse back down to the starting position.

Wrap Up

For those who love to deadlift, it is a great exercise and a staple in the world of powerlifting. But the constant strain on your lower back and the increased risk of injury can be something everyone wants to avoid. The trap bar deadlift is one of those exercises that is great to minimize the risk while also getting every benefit that a traditional deadlift provides. As a safe alternative to increase lower body strength and promote explosive power, the trap bar deadlift is something to heavily consider incorporating into your daily workouts. Check out other exercises to do with a trap bar and elevate your overall performance to the next level.

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*Images courtesy of Envato

References

  1. Gentry, Mike; Pratt, David; Caterisano, Tony (1987). “Introducing the Trap Bar”. (source)
  2. Andersen, Vidar; Fimland, Marius S.; Mo, Dag-Andre; Iversen, Vegard M.; Vederhus, Torbjorn; Rockland Hellebo, Lars R.; Nordaune, Kristina I.; Saeterbakken, Atle H. (2018). “Electromyographic Comparison of Barbell Deadlift, Hex Bar Deadlift, and Hip Thrust Exercises: A Cross-Over Study”. (source)
  3. Schoenfeld, Brad J. (2010). “The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training”. (source)
  4. Camara, Kevin D.; Coburn, Jared W.; Dunnick, Dustin D.; Brown, Lee E.; Costa, Pablo B.; Galpin, Andrew J. (2016). “An Examination Of Muscle Activation And Power Characteristics While Performing The Deadlift Exercise With Straight And Hexagonal Barbells”. (source)
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Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.