The trap bar deadlift is a very valuable exercise. The clean and jerk share similarities with both the squat and the deadlift and may be more effective at generating power than either of those exercises. Although it has some negative aspects, it appears that the advantages are much greater. This article covers all aspects of the trap bar deadlift and how it can benefit your training program.
Similarities and Differences Between Regular and Trap Bar Deadlift
Well, they are both deadlift variations. There are some similarities and a lot of differences.
Take, for example, a barbell deadlift, be it sumo or conventional:
To perform this exercise, you will need a straight piece of metal that you can load weight plates onto both sides. Once you have the metal set up, stand behind it and grip it before lifting it up. To keep the barbell over your center of gravity, you need to put your mid-foot under it and lift the bar in a straight line.
The trap bar is much different:
The bar is shaped like a hexagon and has two weight plates on each side. The bar has two handles that you can use to grab it with a neutral grip (hands on your sides and palms facing your thighs).
A hex bar is a barbell with a hexagonal-shaped middle that you stand in while lifting. To lift the hex bar, you grab the handles and lift it up.
The center of gravity is the point where the weight of an object is evenly distributed. You can’t screw up with the center of gravity here since you’re standing inside it.
The two movements – the barbell deadlift and trap bar deadlift – are very alike, however, the barbell deadlift uses the hamstrings and spinal erectors more, and the trap bar deadlift uses the quadriceps more.
The evidence from research and my experience with clients leads me to believe that people can generally lift more weight with a trap bar than with a regular barbell.
Both the kettlebell swing and the deadlift are effective exercises for training the hinge pattern and developing the posterior chain. Both movements can be performed with heavy weights, and both have similar ranges of motion.
The Benefits of Trap Bar Deadlift
Most people who want to get strong and muscular have more options than just training the barbell version of the deadlift. This is why it is important to consider the benefits of exercise before making a decision.
It’s a great beginner movement
Although it is difficult to Deadlift correctly, it is possible to learn how to do it. The movement, which involves leaning your upper body forward while extending your hips back, doesn’t seem very dangerous at first glance. Picking something up off the ground is as easy as bending over and grabbing it.
It’s not easy to refine and understand a movement pattern. If you want to learn to deadlift but are put off by the barbell, consider using the trap bar instead.
The design of the trap bar enables you to lift with a more upright torso and natural hand position and to utilize the power of your legs. All of these factors working together make trap bar deadlifts an effective teaching tool for new gymgoers who are starting their fitness journey.
Provides leg and back stimulation
You will get the most out of your workout if you focus on exercises that work for multiple muscle groups at the same time. These compound lifts are very important.
While all deadlifts place stress on your posterior chain, many of them leave your legs (specifically, your quadriceps) out to dry.
The trap bar deadlift evenly balances the lifting demand between your legs and back. The benefits of this technique are twofold: not only can you lift more weight, but you’re also working a larger amount of your lower body at the same time. This ensures that you are including all the necessary elements in a short but vigorous workout.
Good for sports performance
No matter what your preferred method of exercise is, you should include resistance training in your workout routine. Like the trap bar deadlift, a lower body pulling movement also requires you to use your traps.
The trap bar is a type of deadlift that has some advantages for sports and physical performance, making it a good choice for your workout.
The trap bar deadlift is performed in a similar stance and posture to the “athletic position” with feet spread and toes mostly forward, knees and hips slightly bent, and upper back engaged.
This position is important for both football players and people who want to see how high they can jump. Trap bar pulls are better to learn than barbell-based pulls, so you won’t have to spend as much time practicing and can spend more time on your sport.
Offers a new stimulus
If you are a strength athlete, like a powerlifter, it can be easy to feel like you are stuck using the barbell. This is because following a dedicated, pre-written program is a good way to stay on track. You should almost always enjoy your workouts, and adding some novelty is a great way to achieve that goal.
The trap bar deadlift and barbell deadlift are more similar than they are different, despite their technical differences. You can usually add new exercises to your routine to make it more interesting, without having to start from scratch.
Although this may not be the best time, if you are in the middle of training for a powerlifting competition or weightlifting meet, it may not be appropriate. If you’re going to use the trap bar pull in your workout routine, make sure it won’t have a negative effect on your short-term goals.
It’s highly functional
The term “functional fitness” is commonly used in the fitness industry. Although it should not be the sole guiding principle, there is value in ensuring that the exercises you do in the weight room have benefits outside of the weight room.
Lifting something off the ground is something that almost all humans do, but barbell-based deadlifts don’t exactly match how someone would pick up a crate or some bags of groceries.
The trap bar deadlift is a more functional exercise than other types of deadlifts because the handles are at your sides, similar to how you would position yourself to lift something in the real world. If you’ve ever been told to “lift with your legs” instead of just your back, you’re not alone. The trap bar deadlift is an effective way to force your body to use multiple muscles at once.
Some Drawbacks of the Trap Bar Deadlift
While this is a pretty great exercise, there are a few drawbacks:
You can’t use a sumo stance
The trap bar deadlift may not be your first choice if you prefer sumo barbell deadlifts, but you will eventually come to like it. The Trap Bar is not able to be used in the wide, sumo stance.
If you have always wanted to pull conventional, but have never been able to due to mobility issues, trap bar deadlifts can be the perfect substitute.
So despite the fact that this is a setback, there is still an upside to it. Moving on.
Some gyms don’t have trap bars. Crazy, I know.
I was training hard with the trap bar deadlift at one point during my training program. I changed gyms because I wanted to try out a new one. I tried going to the gym once, but there were no trap bars so I never went back.
Trap bars are seen as ‘taboo’ by many gym-goers, and are not considered ‘manly’ enough to be used by most people.
It doesn’t matter where you find a gym, as long as it has what you need. And on that note:
to sleep on your stomach If you are a smaller person, you may find it uncomfortable to sleep on your stomach.
Trap bars generally come in two configurations:
- For average-sized men.
- For the Mountain from Game of Thrones.
Most trap bars aren’t designed with smaller men, women, and teenagers in mind.
If you’re smaller, you might find that most trap bars have handles that are too wide.
If you want to get bigger muscles, you should either start working out more or use a barbell.
You can’t use it in a powerlifting competition
If you want to compete in a powerlifting meet, you should use a straight bar.
The experts on social media will have their say on the matter.
Here’s the thing:
No matter how much you can lift, there will always be people who think you’re cheating.
How is the Trap Bar Deadlift Similar to the Squat?
Many people criticize the trap bar deadlift, saying that it is not a true deadlift because it has a similar biomechanical structure to a squat. The trap bar deadlift doesn’t train the hip hinge or squat patterns as well as the barbell deadlift and squat.
But is this true?
The trap bar deadlift may resemble the squat to untrained eyes, as the back is quite upright at the starting position. However, the two exercises are quite different. The thinking is that they grab the weight with their legs and the entire work is done by the legs.
We’ll take a deeper look at this, but let me give you some food for thought first:
To start the sumo deadlift, you don’t have to lean your scapula as far forward to get it above the barbell, compared to the conventional deadlift. Since the sumo deadlift involves a much more vertical back angle, it puts significantly less strain on the spine than the conventional deadlift.
At first glance, this movement may look like a backward squat, rather than a deadlift, to someone who is not familiar with it. Although some may disagree, research shows that sumo deadlifts are just as effective at training the hip hinge pattern as conventional deadlifts. This has been proven by the success of thousands of athletes with massive backs.
Let’s look at some research on the trap bar deadlift.
In a 2011 study, the researchers found that the peak joint moments in the conventional and trap bar deadlift increased as the loads went up to 80% of 1RM. The study was conducted on 19 powerlifters. The average lift for the conventional group was 244 kg (539 lbs) and the average lift for the trap bar group was 265 kg (584 lbs).
It is safe to assume that these guys were strong and could lift things well.
Now, the peak hip flexion moment for the conventional deadlift was reported to be around 350 Nm, and the peak knee flexion moment was around 100 Nm. The peak hip moment was roughly 3.5 times greater than the peak knee moment.
For trap bar deadlifts, the peak hip flexion moment is about 325 Nm, and the peak knee flexion moment is about 180 Nm. The ratio here was roughly 1.8:1.
The following text looks at a study of how experienced lifters squat.
The highest hip and knee flexion moments reported in one study were ~630 Nm and ~760 Nm respectively. The ratio was 0.82:1.
The trap bar deadlift has a significantly higher ratio than the conventional deadlift, at 1.8:1.
This text concludes that during a squat, the peak knee and hip flexion moments are comparable and have identical ranges of motion.
The quads are only about a third as active during a conventional deadlift as the hips, and the hips move through a shorter range of motion.
The trap bar deadlift puts more demand on the hips than the quads and has the same range of motion as the conventional deadlift.
So, if I were to place the three movements in order of knee-to-hip demand ratio, it would look like this:
The squat is the most knee-dominant movement. The squat results in an identical knee and hip flexion moment, with a ratio of 0.82:1. This makes the squat the most knee-dominant movement. Higher M/L (medial/lateral) joint moments at the knee The trap bar deadlift results in a higher hip-to-knee demand, which leads to increased medial/lateral joint moments at the knee.
The conventional deadlift: highest hip-to-knee demand (ratio of 3.5:1).
The trap bar deadlift is a mix between the squat and the conventional deadlift.
This supports the earlier mentioned research that showed that the traditional deadlift is better at activating the muscles that straighten the spine, while the trap bar deadlift activates the thigh muscles more.
The Bottom Line on the Trap Bar Deadlift
Honestly? There are three excellent options for deadlifts: the sumo, the conventional, and the trap bar. Each of them can get you strong and big. You can choose which one to follow.
If you enjoy doing the conventional deadlift and don’t have any mobility issues, then by all means continue doing that.
If you are having trouble using the proper form for the conventional deadlift due to mobility issues, try using the trap bar instead. Both movements train your spinal erectors well, with the trap bar deadlift having the added benefit of activating your quads more.
If you can’t decide which bar to use for your exercise, keep in mind that the trap bar will probably work your back muscles a bit more and the sumo bar will probably work your leg muscles a bit more.
One thing worth noting:
I would recommend using the trap bar deadlift for higher-volume workouts because it is the safest and easiest of the three movements. When fatigue starts to set in, most people’s form on barbell deadlifts breaks down easily.