In most every gym there is an interesting yet very often overlooked bar that is sitting in the corner. Rarely, if ever does this bar see the light of day. No one really uses it and most don’t know what they would even use it for. To most peoples surprise though, this bar is one of the best pieces of equipment in the entire gym.
The bar we are talking about is the trap bar (hex bar). The bar can be used for a couple different exercises but it is most famous for the trap bar deadlift, a form of the deadlift that I personally like better than other forms of the deadlift and a form of the deadlift I feel most trainees should be performing on a weekly basis.
The trap bar deadlift is better for most people, especially beginners. Beginner trainees have an awful time trying to get into the correct position when trying to perform a traditional straight bar deadlift. However, with the trap bar we can fix most of those issues with a couple simple coaching cues. Because the lifter can step into the trap bar we are able to keep a better upright (flat back) position with the shoulders back than we can with the traditional deadlift – all that time sitting at a computer all day has made the flat back, shoulders back position near impossible for most people with the traditional straight bar deadlift.
Another great benefit to the trap bar deadlift is the stress that is on the spine or the lack of stress compared to the straight bar deadlift. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have seen a terrible rounded back position while someone tries to deadlift with a straight bar. If your goal is to not only get stronger but also stay healthy, the trap bar is without a doubt a better option for most people.
Performing the trap bar deadlift is also great because it is relatively straight forward. The first step is to simply step inside the bar (make sure you’re in the center of the bar) with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. From there you will butt down and hips back while grabbing the handles of the trap bar.
Your shoulders should be in-line with your knees while your hips should be back and midway between the shoulders and knees. Make sure your shoulders are back and your back is flat. Finally, drive through your heels and extend your hips so that you stand straight up, squeezing your glutes at the top. A full trap bar deadlift should look something like this:
The trap bar deadlift is one of the most overlooked exercises in most gyms but is one of the best hip dominant exercises you’ll find. The movement targets a great deal of muscles, primarily the muscles of the posterior chain including the hamstrings, glutes, and entire back.
Do yourself a favor and give the trap bar deadlift a try – you won’t be disappointed with the results!