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!