A trap bar, also called a hex bar, or a shrug bar is one of the most versatile pieces of gym equipment used in weight training. What is it? To look at, it’s an assemblage of bars welded into a shape which lies flat in a plane, consisting of: A barstock welded into a hexagonal shape, sized to allow you to stand in the middle.
A great alternative to straight bar deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts change the movement to keep the bar in a line with your shoulders and hips rather than in front. Arguably, the hex-bar (or trap bar) deadlift puts you at a better mechanical advantage than the standard deadlift, taking stress of your lower back while allowing you to engage all the same muscle groups.
Here is how to do a deadlift with a Trap Bar:
To do the deadlift using a hex bar, stand in the middle of a loaded hex bar and squat down to grab the handles. In the start position, your thighs should be just above parallel to the floor with your torso bent forward at about a 45-degree angle. Drive your heels through the floor as you extend at the knees and hips to reach a fully upright position, then slowly lower the bar back to the start.
As a beginner, the trap bar is your best friend as you can squat down a bit more in order to grab the bar and gain confidence with the movement. Here are step by step ways to use the Trap Bar:
- Step inside the bar with your feet shoulder apart or slightly closer.
- Bend your knees slightly. Do not let them slide forward.
- Puff your chest up and pull your shoulder blades back and down with your arms straight down by your side.
- Keep all the weight on your heels and push your butt & hips backwards.
- Use your hips to hinge down (squat) and grab the bar.
- Your thighs should be just above parallel to the floor with your torso bent forward at about a 45-degree angle.
- Breathe in through your stomach and hold.
- Stand straight up, driving your heels through the floor and finish the movement by squeezing your butt at the top and pushing your hips forward.
- Once your butt stops squeezing, you stop moving.
If you’re feeling adventurous, the hex bar can also be used for shrugs, push-ups, ab-rolls, overhead press and overhead squat.