T Nation

Trap Bar Deadlift


How do you guys think that the weight you deadlift with a trap-bar compares to the weight you can do with an olympic bar? I tried to work up to a 1rm a few days ago with a trap bar (which I had never really used before) and ended up doing about 40 pounds more than I had ever done with a straight bar (385 vs. 345). Do you guys find that you can do more with a trap bar when you DL?


Yeah, I would say it's a 40-60 pound difference for me.


I got 405 in competition 2 months ago, but couldve got 20 lbs more though (injured for a month before). Recently pulled 500 w/ trap bar, no chalk.


585x1 with Olympic bar. 640x1 with trap bar.


The trap bar basically takes your posterior chain out of the lift. That's typically where the wink link of the deadlift is, whether it's hamstrings or glutes, or whatever. By using the trap bar, or doing barbell hack squats, you put most of the load on your quads and should expect to lift more, but you're not doing a deadlift anymore. I stopped using the trap bar when I realized that's what was happening.

I can deadlift 515 most of the time, with a best lift of 535, but I can do barbell hack squats with 585 when I really want to blast my quads. (It helps if there's a hottie nearby!)


To say that it takes your posterior chain out of the lift is a mistake. It is still a deadlift, and it is a superior one due to the less amount of stress on the lower back. Unless you are a powerlifter, the trap bar is the way to go.


I would say a trap bar deadlift could still be a valuable tool for a powerlifter.


yeah i agree


Depending on what you mean by superior. Less stress on lower back = less growth of lower back. It's like saying normal deadlifts are better than stiff legged deadlifts, and for this reason no one should be doing stiff legged deadlifts.

To say that it involves the posterior chain to the same amount is a mistake.


I like the trap-bar deadlift, but I wouldn't use it exclusively.

Reasons why I like it:
-More overall load so I feel like it gets me prepared to feel what that heavy weight is like.
-Less stress on the back. Sometimes this is good, sometimes this is bad.
-I know the posterior chain is super important, but quads are still important as well for squatting and athletics.

Reasons why I don't like it:
-Kind of feels weird to pull with hands to the side.
-Less stress on the back. Sometimes...
-I also don't feel it in the hams as much. Definitly in the glutes, but not in the hams.

I cycle through box squats, oly squats, front squats, straight bar deads and trap-bar deads as "ME-ish" exercises as they all work different things and I think neglecting any of them would be foolish. I find that when I switch the exercises up every 2-3 weeks, I always hit a PR when I come back to it a couple of months later.


I agree, with the caveat of making sure you stand on a 100lbs plate or something to ensure a greater ROM than most tarp bars.

The reason you lift more in the tarp deadlift is higher handles (less ROM) and less anterior displacement. Same muscle actions are involved. If someone DOESN'T lift more, there's something seriously wrong.



Trap bars don't necessarily have higher handles and less ROM than a regular deadlift.

Also not everyone can deadlift more with a trap bar than with a straight bar. It's really a matter of where your weaknesses lie. I believe it to be the case that people who have a weak lockout tend to pull more with a trapbar.

Also keep in mind that with the way most people lift, there is more anterior pelvic tilt in a straight bar deadlift and it is going to hit your hamstrings more for that reason.


I can lift more with a straight bar than a trap bar, go figure... Wherein lies my weakness?


It also depends on the trapbar. The trap bar at my school has rotating handles, thus my grip isn't strong enough to max out on it.


Sometimes I flip my trap bar over and still use the handles. It is like 3" lower than a straight bar would be and it makes you reach out wider at the same time.


Either in your quads or glutes I would think. Probably not your hamstrings or lowerback.


I will have to hit those two areas harder then.


I actually find trap bar deadlifts to be a little more difficult for me than regular deadlifts. It's probably because I have a build that is geared for deadlifting (longer than normal arm length) and the trap bar forces me into a slightly different groove that I am not used to.

I definitely like doing them and have been incorporating them into my routine. I think that it is a very valuable piece of equipment.


definitely get DOMS in my hams after trap bar deadlifts,


Dude definitely, i thought i was the only one that thought trap bar was more difficult than regular deadlift. I think with a trap bar you have a harder time getting you hip higher with some more leverage....