T Nation

Traditional Deadlift vs Trap bar

Ok can someone please tell me why strength coaches are moving towards trap bar for their deadlift training?
Please correct me if I am wrong and I have been wrong many times but learned from them each time. It seems to me that the trap bar deadlift is a cop-out for people who are to lazy to learn how to deadlift properly.

Or the coaches are just fed-up with trying to teach it.
It is and can be a very difficult lift to teach to beginners but the rewards seem to me out weight the hard hours of coaching.

In the traditional deadlift the posterior chain is under greater tension than that of the trap bar and the posterior chain is the week point in most young athletes. Also in my view the posterior chain in sports is the athletes foundation of movement, so why neglect?
Please if I am wrong or out of line put me in my place.
Thank you

Trap bar deadlift allows people with a history of low back pain to deadlift. It also allows trainees to pull more frequently.

Personally, I don’t want athletes to have to constantly focus on technique every lift. I want them to be aggressive and bust their asses. The trap bar enables them to pull heavy weights from the floor safely without a huge emphasis on technique. If someone can squat, they can trap bar deadlift.

Or as Mike Boyle puts it in Functional Training for Sports, trap bar deadlifts more evenly distribute the stress between knee extension and hip extension (squats being consider knee dominant and deadlifts being considered hip dominant). The reduced load on the lower back is also a plus.

Challer and Steel nation you both seem to be taking the same veiw and that is its tough so avoid?
Ryan how is it more functional when most sports have the weight load forward (could be pulling a player on the line or they are being pulled down)
I just dont see in sports where the load is ever directly to our sides.

Challer if someone has a history of back issue I would assume that you are addressing that in other ways so as you put it they can pull more frequently.
But wouldnt you say that the dead is a lift best down for power and mass not endurance.

[quote]coach foley wrote:
Ryan how is it more functional when most sports have the weight load forward (could be pulling a player on the line or they are being pulled down)
I just dont see in sports where the load is ever directly to our sides.[/quote]

Its more functional, in many minds, because it allows you to lift more weight safely compared to straight bar deadlifts. I was stating what other strength coaches have said and since their main job is injury prevention, I can see this thought process, but I don’t necessarily agree.
A trap bar does pull you down and, depending on how you do it, can pull you forward (RDLs with it are nice). Its also good for athletes with long legs to avoid lumbar flexion (or you could sumo DL).

Don’t know if you read BFS, but from that site:
http://www.biggerfasterstronger.com/uploads2/91_Winter_DeadLiftPlateau.pdf
http://www.biggerfasterstronger.com/uploads2/EvolutionHexBar.pdf
http://www.biggerfasterstronger.com/uploads2/08_JulAug_HexBar.pdf
http://www.biggerfasterstronger.com/uploads2/08_JulAug_HexBar.pdf
Granted they sell the bars, but a way of looking at it.

Ryan,
I’m not arguing with you, but I always want to scream when people associate heavier weights with functionality. Changing the leverage points of an exercise enables on to lift more weight, but doesn’t necessarily work the “weak point” of the unaltered movement.

In general I don’t see anything wrong with the trap bar, and in season shortened strength training programs they are a great tool.

[quote]Rick Jakubowski wrote:
Ryan,
I’m not arguing with you, but I always want to scream when people associate heavier weights with functionality. Changing the leverage points of an exercise enables on to lift more weight, but doesn’t necessarily work the “weak point” of the unaltered movement.

In general I don’t see anything wrong with the trap bar, and in season shortened strength training programs they are a great tool.[/quote]

That’s fine and also why I stated “in many minds” and “I don’t necessarily agree” in my post. I’m trying to offer why people like it, not necessarily my opinion.
I feel regular deadlifts are usually fine as long as proper technique is used and loads are adjusted accordingly. For example, if the athlete is tall or has flexibility issues, raise the bar on blocks or do rack pulls.

[quote]Ryan71 wrote:
Its more functional, in many minds, because it allows you to lift more weight safely compared to straight bar deadlifts.[/quote]

In my case, I can neither lift more weight with a trap bar nor do it more safely. Using a trap bar hurts my knees. It’s like doing a half squat starting from the bottom position. I have no problem squatting 600+ below parallel, but even 400 pounds from a half-squat position causes me knee pain.

[quote]coach foley wrote:
Challer if someone has a history of back issue I would assume that you are addressing that in other ways so as you put it they can pull more frequently.
But wouldnt you say that the dead is a lift best down for power and mass not endurance.[/quote]

Even with perfect form, some backs can’t handle a ton of compressive force. Yes, there are things that can be done to improve low back capacity, but for some people, consistent deadlifting will continually exceed the capacity of their back to recover. It’s not to say that I don’t deadlift it all, I just prefer to use the trap bar deadlift for most populations. Traditional deadlifts still make their way into programming, just not for everyone. Nearly everyone will trap bar deadlift at some point though.

I am stronger on the trap bar. The most I’ve deadlifted was 415 pounds but I did 450 on the trap bar. The problem I have with the trap bar is if you do not have access to 100 pound plates you run out of room. When I did the 450 I had 25’s on each end and one of them fell off. Luckily it did not screw me up. I do like how they feel kind of like a quarter squat.

I don’t get it. Personally, I can’t pull as much with the trap bar. Trap bars feel wobbly and you can never get a solid grip. As far as back pain- I don’t know. Usually deadlifting or good mornings- where the weight is hanging out in front of my center of gravity- have helped me with back pain whereas things like trap-bar deads or squatting- where the weight is centered- tend to aggravate back pain. Maybe that’s just me hough.

As far as ease of teaching- come on- it’s a deadlift. Hunker down and pick it up! It ain’t rocket science.

[quote]Pinto wrote:
I don’t get it. Personally, I can’t pull as much with the trap bar. Trap bars feel wobbly and you can never get a solid grip. As far as back pain- I don’t know. Usually deadlifting or good mornings- where the weight is hanging out in front of my center of gravity- have helped me with back pain whereas things like trap-bar deads or squatting- where the weight is centered- tend to aggravate back pain. Maybe that’s just me hough.

As far as ease of teaching- come on- it’s a deadlift. Hunker down and pick it up! It ain’t rocket science. [/quote]