View Full Version : Trap Bar

iron addict
08-07-2004, 09:19 PM
For all you home gym junkies here is a MUST have piece of equipment. I could write pages praising the advantages of the Trap Bar and it's value in assisting the trainee to reach their physical potential. This piece of equipment, when used correctly has the ability to transform physiques. Muscles worked when using this movement are quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, upper back (lats, mid back, traps), forearms, and abs/obliques. In other words, the same muscles used a when performing the bent legged deadlift.

So what makes the Trap Bar so special, and makes it a superior movement to the strait bar deadlift for bodybuilders? Simple, it works the same muscles as the conventional deadlift while making it a safer movement by avoiding undue stress to the lower back and providing more stress to the legs. It turns the deadlift into an almost technique free event. Without having to “go around” your knees like when using a strait bar, all you need to really do is “pull”! Because it reduces the need for extreme technical proficiency as required during the strait bar deadlift, most trainees are able to push harder and move more weight. The sum total is a super productive movement that works approximately 75% of your lean body mass relatively safely in one lift. To top it off, this piece of equipment is relatively inexpensive. From a couple of sources including:


Performance of the movement is relatively simple, stand inside the bar and hold onto the two parallel handles. Keeping your lower back slightly arched and your head up push down into the floor with your feet trying to keep the weight on your heels. Do not round the lower back, and do not take the movement to absolute failure (stop one rep short), and you can rest assured you will have sent a strong signal to your body to grow

If finances allow, this is a must purchase item for the home gym trainees. Unfortunately most gyms do not have a Trap Bar. If possible talk your gym owner into purchasing one, or allowing you to purchase one and deduct the price from your membership. After using my Trap Bar only one time, my brother purchased his own and carried it in the trunk of his car to the gym on leg/back day. This option should not be overlooked.

I have NEVER had a trainee use a trap bar without feeling like it was a revelation. I have had MANY people buy one on my recommendation and have NEVER had anyone regret the purchase. The trap bar deadlift has aptly been called the squat-lift as it effectively somewhat combines the two movements into one. It allows much more use of the quads and more evenly distributes the load over the legs and back than a conventional or sumo deadlift.

It works extremely well for guys that just can't “find the groove” when squatting, or who have terrible body mechanics for squatting. And it does wonders for those guys that just can't get over their damn knees being in the way when they do deadlifts-lol. It doesn't replace the squat and deadlift for most people (it can for some), but is a great alternative to use in their place at least some of the time.

The one caveat that must be addressed is that like regular deadlifts, trap bar deads are extremely hard on the CNS, and metabolic systems as a whole. A little goes a long way. This is definitely not a move for doing high volume work with.

If you are primarily a powerlifter you will still need to keep regular deads in your program in most cases. While some people get a big carryover, others don't get as much and unless you are training Westside style you will still need to do whatever style you pull at the meet prior to the meet.

If I was for some reason forced to pick only one core movement for overall growth and lower body work, the choice would be made without a seconds thought, the trap bar would win hands down. Its that good!

Iron Addict

11-17-2004, 04:26 PM
I absolutely love mine, have had it for almost two years now. I bought it when I saw your write up at gotfina..............you know that was some time ago. best money I ever spent for my home gym. 8)

12-28-2004, 12:01 PM
Hello all,

I work as a personal trainer part time, and I bought a trap bar for the studio in which I work. I trained a woman on Christmas Eve and had her doing trap bar deadlifts. She did 100lbs for 3 sets of 15, and reported no lower back strain, but really felt it in the quads, and to a lesser extent, the hamstrings. I used 25lb plates so the range of movement was a bit longer than with 45's.

This is precisely the kind of training effect we like to see, due to the fact that there is little strain on the lower back, and lots of quality work to the major muscles of the body.

The "trap bar" rocks!!!

12-28-2004, 10:52 PM
I just got my trap bar a couple of weeks ago. Finally attempting deadlfits again after suffering from herniated discs in 2003. Back is more stable now and I can say that doing trap bar deadlifts did not bother my back. If anything I feel it will strengthen my back along with most of my body. I'm starting very light and learning the movement all over again. It's becoming one of my favorite pieces of equipment for my home gym. Very cool exercise.

01-24-2005, 02:01 PM
Hmm, seems like it might be a good implement to include in a rotation of ME SQ exercises. You'd probably want it to take the place of one of the squat moves rather than one of the good morning days though because of the focus on the legs vs the low back. Maybe something like this:

Week 1: Suspended GM's w/SSB
Week 2: Trap Bar Deadlifts
Week 3: Cambered Bar GM's
Week 4: Low Box Squat

I also love the bar for shrugs.

iron addict
01-24-2005, 02:05 PM
Agreed, I get hardly any carryover for deads, but they help my squats a fair amount.


01-25-2012, 07:48 PM
Discovered thread via spill shout-out in new T-nation article: http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/the_trap_bar_deadlift

In terms of getting the paralell/hammer grip, I have a light makeshift one of these at home by holding onto the handles of some 35lb plates I have on a short 2.5ft barbell (1 inch diameter). But it's not the same because it's still a bar that hits your legs instead of something you can step into.

'm beginning to think this might be more shearing on the spine compared to a straight bar mostly because when the center of mass is below the hands instead of in then, you can't use lats to pull the weight closer to your hips as easily. It's like the difference between trying to do a hammer curl with a kettlebell instead of a dumbbell.

This is a tricky piece of equipment for casual shoppers to find in Ontario. Not something I've seen in Wal-mart or Canadian Tire. Did manage to find them sold in one distributor though:
http://www.treadmillfactory.ca/product_images/1277823118-1_56-olympic-hex-bar.jpg (http://www.treadmillfactory.ca/p-1164-c-110-56-olympic-hex-bar.html)
54lbs means with a couple of 45s (for height) that would come to 144lbs starting wait. I'm hopeful I could handle that. Otherwise I could get a couple cinder blocks to set some lighter plates on if it weren't possible to squat down far enough (though that would be ideal to have that kind of flexibility).

For anyone who does want that depth with higher weights, do you tend to stand on platforms, or load up a bunch of smaller plates for ease at first? Eventually that wouldn't be plausible since most trap bars are kinda short and you can only fit so many 25 or 10lb plates before it'd be filled up. It makes me wonder if anyone builds extension sleeves for this purpose. This one says 9 inches but I'd have to take into account whatever the size of the collar was.

I guess with a trap bar you don't necessarily need a collar though. It doesn't seem as important as with a squat since the bar is lower so if a plate fell, it wouldn't fall as far.

Another thing I wondered is after getting really strong with this, to save room for loading weight and also to elevate it higher off the ground (for those heavy partials, easier set up for shrugs and stuff) about finding ones heavier than 45lbs. Biggest I could find in the area was 100lbs.
http://www.treadmillfactory.ca/product_images/1314221697-1_2-black-commercial-grip-plate-100lbs.jpg (http://www.treadmillfactory.ca/p-1598-c-18-2-black-commercial-grip-plate-100lbs.html)

Is that pretty much as big as individual plates come, or has anyone encountered anything heavier? The only downside is I really like the idea of rubber weights that could be dropped on the floor to lessen noise/damage from drops or uncontrolled set-downs.

One thing I am wondering about though, is how suitable trap bars are for use in conjunction with either a squat/power rack or those horizantal parallel bars that people load deadlifts on. It seems like this is something you would load on the floor, so ideally you would have 1 pair of large diameter plates on the inside, and then you would have clearance to load the lighter places further out.

To tell the truth that'd be part of the appeal of a 100lb plate, because as troublesome as loading 2 45lb plates side by side would be, (unless you could find 1 45 that was slightly bigger in radius, like maybe a rubber-coated one, or one with handle holes vs. no handles solid plate) loading 3 pairs of 45s would be silly. So as soon as I could handle weight ~100 per side for decent reps, would love to switch to something like that since it would make loading anything else on so much easier and that added height. Though the 254lb minimum lift strength is a big hurdle, so that won't be necessary for a while.

Has anyone found something suitable for setting these bars on? They seem so much shorter than olympic barbells, and most power racks seem designed for those. Not just width-wise either, the depth (length?) from forward>back might also be a factor if you don't have a long enough distance between the front/back columns/pillars.

The one I'm looking at says (56.5" x 23" W x 21" L) compared to 7ft (84 inches) for the olympic barbells, so it's worrisome if a cage would be narrow enough to support the trap bar for changing plates to save on that time needed to lift 1 end at a time to do it.

That's mostly just for ease of loading though, like if someone wanted to easily change the plates for doing drop sets or switching between heavy-weight trap lifts for low reps as opposed to lighter-weights for higher reps.