How to do Trap Bar Deadlifts Correctly and Safely

 
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INTRODUCTION: TRAP BAR DEADLIFT VS BARBELL DEADLIFT

One of the most common variations of the traditional barbell deadlift is the trap bar deadlift (aka hex bar). By standing inside the bar, the weight is closer to your center of gravity, putting you in a more advantageous position to lift the weight.  As a result, you can generally lift more weight on the trap bar compared to the tradtiional deadlift.  The bar also allows you to maintain a more upright posture, which places less strain on the back.

TRAP BAR DEADLIFT FORM VIDEO

 

BENEFITS OF THE TRAP BAR DEADLIFT

  • Shorter distance between the weight and your axis of rotation (your hips) thus, you are in a more advantageous position to lift the weight
  • Less stress on the lower back compared to traditional deadlifts
  • Increased power generation when compared to other deadlift variations
  • Significantly easier to learn the straight bar deadlifts
  • Decreases the risk of hyper-extending your back at the top of the movement

 

MUSCLES WORKED DURING THE TRAP BAR DEADLIFT

  • Glutes

  • Hamstrings

  • Quadriceps

  • Abdominals

  • Forearms

  • Low Back

  • Upper Back

 

PERFORMING THE TRAP BAR DEADLIFT WITH PROPER TECHNIQUE

  • Obtain a trap bar and load it with the desired weight

  • Step into the trap bar and assume a shoulder width stance with your toes pointing forward

  • Ensure that you are standing in the center of trap bar

 
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  • From this position squeeze your glutes and begin to lower yourself by bending at the hips first and then the knees

  • Grab the handles of the trap bar and ensure that your spine is as neutral/flat as possible

  • Keep your arms completely straight and look forward, approximately 6 feet in front of you

 
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  • If you are in the correct position, you should feel a gentle stretch along your hamstrings

  • Take a big breath, and hold it in. Begin the pull by driving your feet into the ground until your hips and knees are fully extended

  • Squeeze your glutes to stand completely upright

  • Do not let the angle of your back change throughout the movement

  • Reverse the movement the exact same way you came up, by breaking at the hips first and then at the knees

 
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SUMMARY OF THE TRAP BAR DEADLIFT TECHNIQUE

 

Click on each blue circle to view the key technical aspects of this exercise

 

 

COMMON MISTAKES

ALLOWING YOUR SPINE TO ROUND

Never let your spinal alignment change throughout the movement. This is how back injuries occur. The deadlift works your back muscles by forcing them to remain in isometric contraction. This means you are resisting motion, and thus strengthening these muscles. Lower the weight and work on technique.

 
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LETTING YOUR KNEES CAVE INWARDS

This places too much strain on both the hips and the knees.  Your knees should remain aligned with your toes, or even slightly outside of your toes.

 
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Alex & Brittany Robles are the founders of The White Coat Trainer, a site dedicated to improving the health and wellness of busy individuals. Learn more about them here and connect with them on instagram and Twitter. Feel free to send them a message here