T Nation

Deadlifts v. Trap Bar Deadlifts


I'll apologize in advance for noobish question but I guess I should ask instead of assuming. Do these two exercises work the same muscle groups to the same degree?

In other words, since I'm never going to compete in a powerlifting competition can I use trap bar deadlifts in place of regular deadlifts for some of the programs on this site? Or are there slight(or substantial) differences in the stimulus they provide? Again, sorry for what may be a dumb question but I'd appreciate any help offered.


To a degree yes, but I prefer the standard deadlift over the trap bar due to having more success with it in my program. Trap bar deadlifts work great too, but I don't find them as challenging as the standard deadlift.

One thing I dislike about trap bar deadlifts is the width between the handles. Some trap bar handles are extremely wide and are murder on the shoulders. Be sure if you use the trap bar that it isn't too far out from shoulder width apart.


i much prefer the trap bar deadlift compared to a regular straight bar. I feel like it takes a lot of pressure off my knees and lower back and puts more of an emphasis on my quads. I feel like my form is a lot more secure with the trap bar as well. There was a thread maybe 6 months ago about this same topic and a lot of taller lifters said they prefer the trap bar as well.


They will not work the exact same muscles but they can be used interchangibly. If trap bar DL are more comfortable, then do them.

Different people will each in different places. See how it goes for you and report back


some people feel trap bar hits the quads more but there is not a huge difference trapbar is also a little easier to maintain the arch in your back most important thing is that you can perform the lift pain free and you do it consistently so pick your perference load up and pull heavy


Thanks for all the help guys. I really appreciate it. Sometimes when using regular deadlifts I have a little lower back pain afterwards and trap bar deadlifts don't seem to give me the same problems(though I have never gone heavy with them). I'm gonna give them a try for a couple months and see how that goes. Thanks again.


I agree, over a year I worked up to a decentish weight on deadlift for my time training and body weight, and recently got a trap bar. I ramped up to 80% of my old max lift on my first day back in lifting after a decent hiatus and hit it for 12 reps no problem, but the next day I walked like a pirate.



The trap bar puts your grip a few inches higher than pulling conventional from the floor, almost like a low rack pull. Just be aware of applying the same technique, I've seen guys who sit back wrong and just squat the bar up.


Explain, because judging by my DOMS/pirate waddle from the last two days I think I was squatting a few days back instead of DLing.


Just has to do with how your leverages are set up, comparing having your hamstrings tighter and your torso having more forward lean vs a more upright torso and sitting back on your heels with a lower hip. Usually from holding onto the bar for balance to "sit back" more rather than maintaining a sturdy deadlifting position and setting up to a non moving bar.