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  • Writer's pictureChris Cooper

The Trap Bar. Not Just For Deadlifting

The Trap Bar or Hex Bar doesn't get a lot of love, as it's seen as a regression from deadlifting with a straight bar. (Hint, it's not). It's just another variation that makes more sense for some people. Not everyone possesses the ability to walk up to a bar and lift it from the ground. There are other factors that become involved like one's anatomy, mobility, and stability.

While deadlifts are awesome, they aren't the only thing you can do with this tool. Using this, we can add variety to our deadlift, we can use it for upper body exercises, and we can carry it all over the gym.

“It’s a Trap”

One of the biggest benefits of using the trap bar for your upper body exercises is the neutral grip it provides. Just like we're all not suited to deadlift from the floor or with a straight bar, not all of us can press or row with a straight bar. The availability of a neutral grip keeps our shoulders in a better position.

Split Stance Deadlift

As mentioned before, the trap bar is a great alternative from the straight bar deadlift or RDL. We can keep the weight distributed at our sides, making for less pressure on our lower back, and we can load these fairly heavy to maximize the exercise.

Bent Over Rows

With Bent-Over Rows with a straight bar, the weight is loaded in front of the body, which can place stress on the lower back and lead to hazardous and awkward looking rows. When you use the trap bar, the weight is loaded on each side of your body, which is more optimal for someone that may have issues with their lower back

Bench Press

Pressing from a neutral grip tends to be a bit more shoulder-friendly, so it makes sense that the trap bar would work well here. We could also use dumbbells in this case, however, progressively overloading the muscles to build strength and size can become an issue with them. Using the trap bar allows you to load and lift more weight, thereby increasing results for your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Overhead Press

One of the drawbacks to pressing overhead with a traditional barbell is that you might encounter physical obstacles—namely, avoiding hitting yourself in the face with the bar. This trap bar variation places you squarely in the center of the bar, avoiding any potential mishap. As previously mentioned, keeping your hands in a neutral position places your shoulders in a more joint-friendly position.


Trap Bar Carries are similar to Farmers Carries in that you're holding weight in both hands. However, one of the limiting factors is having to lug around heavy dumbbells, and grip strength. Using the trap bar evenly distributes the weights between both hands, and we can load these up without having to find 100lb to dumbbells to move around.

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