The trap bar, also known as the hex bar, is a barbell with the middle shaped like a hexagon. Instead of the bar being in front, you stand in the middle.
Who Invented the Trap Bar?
The trap bar was invented, patented and trademarked by a competitive powerlifter named Al Gerard. The first appearance of his hex bar was in September of 1986. His ad was in an edition of Powerlifting USA Magazine.
Why Should I Do Trap Bar Deadlifts?
There are many reasons to do this over the traditional straight-bar deadlift. Here are a few reasons why you should consider this method:
1. It’s Easier to Learn
It’s easier to learn because it’s less technical than the traditional deadlift. With the trap bar, it’s easier to keep your torso upright and your back flat. It also doesn’t scrape your shins as the straight-bar does.
2. Easier on the Back
This method reduces the amount of stress on your lower back and promotes muscular strength growth in the lower body (1).
For individuals with lower-back injuries or pain, the hex bar deadlift may be better since it distributes the load among all joints and reduces the stress at the lower back (Source: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research)
3. Lift Heavier
It also incorporates more of the quadriceps and activates more muscles which results in the ability to lift heavier. Studies have shown that people can lift more weight with the hex bar. It may also be more effective for reaching peak force, power, and velocity (Source: David D. Peterson, EdD, CSCS*D)
What Muscles Do Trap Bar Deadlifts Work?
Hex bar deadlifts work the glutes, lower back, hamstrings, quadriceps, trapezius, abs, and forearms. This exercise is great for building lower body and core strength.
The cool thing about it is that it’s a hybrid of a squat and deadlift.
How Much Does it Weigh?
Just like an Olympic barbell, the trap bar weights 45 pounds or 20 kg.
What Exercises Can You Do With a Hex Bar?
- Overhead press
- Floor press
- Farmer’s walk
- Bent-over row
The trap bar is a great choice for individuals who want to develop more strength and velocity, especially in explosive movements. Using it for deadlifts is great because it’ll reduce the amount of stress put on your lower back.
Additional Fitness Resources
Want to learn more about fitness and exercise gear? Here are a few more resources:
(1) Blanchard, J., Berning, J.M., Adams, K.J., & DeBeliso, M. (June 2016). Effects of the trap bar deadlift and leg press on adolescent male strength, power, and speed. Journal of Physical Education Research, Volume 3, Issue II, 11-22.