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Benefits of Training with a Trap Bar

Original article written for Muscle & Fitness

Benefits of the Trap Bar Deadlift

If the exercises you train with are like tools for your health, then the deadlift is a move that should be in every man’s symbolic toolbox. It strengthens almost every major muscle from your legs to your upper back—which helps you with everyday tasks like giving your kid an impromptu piggyback ride to picking up groceries—in addition to the muscles that stabilize your spine, bolstering your posture. It’s a must-do. And like a tool, the deadlift offers a handful of variations for different jobs. For example, guys who have tight hips or are taller than average may have trouble with the standard barbell deadlift—it’s low to the ground, making it hard to set up correctly.

For this, renowned strength coach and owner of Diesel Strength and Conditioning, Jim Smith recommends a variation called the hex-bar or trap bar deadlift. It’s a hexagonal apparatus with raised handles that has a lifter stand in the middle of it. And, according to Smith, “because of the hand position and how the weight is centered, it allows tall and novice lifters to get into a more advantageous starting position – with a straight torso.” And Ignore purists who claim that it’s not a real deadlift—it’s the same motion and recruits the same muscles. The only difference is that you’re able to lift slightly more than you could with a straight bar. However, Smith warns, “The trap bar recruits more of your quads, so, to ensure balanced leg development, add in a few extra sets of hamstring work.” Interested in giving it a go? Here’s how to do it:

How to Perform the Trap Bar Deadlift

1. Load a hex bar with the appropriate weight and then stand in the middle of it. Bend at the hips and firmly grasp the handles. Smith adds, “The handles of the trap bar should be aligned with your ankles and shins for a proper pull.”

2. Lower your hips until you’re in a semi-squat, brace your core and pull up, driving the weight up as if you’re leg pressing the ground away. “Lift the weight with a proud chest,” says Smith. As you pull, push your hips completely through at the top of the movement and squeeze your glutes to finish the lockout, pause for a second and then slowly lower the weight back down.

By on December 16th, 2020


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