T Nation

Trap Bar Deadlifts


Since switching gyms, did my first deadlift session with a trap bar the other night, and somethings been bugging me since then.

Why did it feel so much easier than the same weight with a conventional bar?

I was doing 5x5 @ 330lbs, which is a little under my straight bar reps PR (350ish, 160kg whatver that is in lbs), and every rep felt easy. Had to take half the rest I would usually.

The bar is a little weird in that the grips are about an inch or two higher than the rest of the bar, rather than at the same height, so is it due to the lever making it an easier lift? Or was I just having a strong day?! Felt the lift more in my glutes and hams than straight bar.

Apologies for a stupid question, but as I'm training by myself and trying to work out if this lift is any good, I thought I'd ask.


can you turn the bar upside down so as the handles are at the same level as the rest of the bar?

its normal to use more weight on a TB, they are known to be more of a cross between a squat/deadlift than just a straight deadlift.

i myself use a trap bar and consider it an excellent lift. less strenuous on the low back than a DL, so easier to do high reps. but very effective for back, forearm, grip, quads, glutes and hamstrings.

if you can do 5x5 with 160kg deadlift, next time try 185kg 5x5 on TB.

you probably felt it more in the glutes and hams as the bar allowed you to start lower to the ground than a straight bar would.


If I turned it upside down, then the handles would be lower than the spindle of the bar, at the moment they are about an inch or two above. The handle height is about that of the bottom set of pins in the power rack.

I'll have another go with the TB tonight, but bump the weight up to about 175, see how I go with that. I know what you mean about less strain on the LB, which is exactly what I need at the moment.

Just after general size at the moment, still toying with the idea of getting involved with powerlifting properly.


I assume the position of the handles(on the side and not in front of you) make it much easier to lift.


By the way,would you recommend doing trap bar instead of straight bar to someone who dont powerlifts?


you should be able to comfortably train both.

i suppose it comes down to personal preference, but i would do both if they were available. they work similar muscles in different ways.

i personally do straight bar followed by trap bar, as i feel you can exhaust the low back straight bar and then carry on working upper back, forearm, grip, glutes, hams, quads etc using the trap bar.

its up to you but they are both very beneficial lifts.


I think it best if you have access to both to incorporate both bar types into your DL'ing rotuines; it can only help with your lifts regardless of whether or not you powerlift.

I've been asking my local gym to invest in a trap bar for a long time now but I figure half the people there would probably not know what it is for and try to do SQCs with it somehow.


Trap bar curls...?
I really doubt the idea is that far-fetched in gyms these days


Our gym has a trap bar. One day, while talking to a co-worker of mine after a workout, he pointed it out as a bar for shoulder shrugs.

"Yeah, that's a trap bar, it's actually for deadlifting" I replied.
"Really?" he said, with a note of surprise.

I was just thinking yesterday that when my lower back heals up, I may ease back into deadlifting using the trap-bar.


i used a trap bar once. it felt kind of awkward. definitely more leg oriented than i was expecting.


Just got back from the gym, so I took a picture when I was there and to be honest went to town on the trap bar.

I did
220x5 (Warm Up)
315x5 (Warm Up)




My straight bar deadlift (1RM) is 180kg (396lb, with straps), my Trap Bar 1RM (at the end of my working sets) was 220kg (485lb). The normal DL 1RM is fresh after just some singles to warm up. Bodyweight for all lifts 200-205lbs.

So as you can see, my trap bar 1RM is about 90lbs heavier than my straight bar deadlift. How much of a carry over should I see back to my conventional deadlift? I'm hoping to break 400 asap, but havent pulled a single for about a month, maybe more.


I see.. see where your handles are sticking UP above the rest of the bar setup? The trap bar handles at my gym run parallel to the weights integral inside of the frame of the trap bar itself.

This may be a reach of a probable answer since I don't have a degree in biomechanics or physics but IMO higher positioned handles = less distance the weight has to be moved off the ground = more weight than your regular BB deadlift, where the weight is "between" the handles AND in front of you, if I am making any sense at all (rough day at work, sorry)

In any case there should be some decent carryover since you are hitting muscle groups in a different plane since you are moving the weights in a more favourable position relative to your stance vs. a conventional DL.

I need to get into trap bar DLs more...

Maybe you can ask Eric Cressey since he's pulled some awesome DL poundages at his weight


I dont have a trap bar,but I have farmers handles. For a while I did only farmers DLs(same idea as trap bar DL)

Then I went back to barbell DLs-there was virtually no carryover! At least for me...


yeah the bar i've used was like Jayb's the handles werent poking out top like that.

you're right about the difficulty too.

basically the higher the bar the more like a rackpull it is. and we all know that rackpulls are easier than conv lifts.

also when i did my trap bar lift i used 45's that were smaller than the others in terms of diameter.


i like trap bar "deadlifts" as a squat variation. i don't get any carryover to my deadlift though.


I think a straight barbell DL is more difficult due to the bar being in front of the body so you pull at an angle. While the trap bar handles allow you direct force more straight up and down. Of course having raised handles also has to help as well as jaybvee was talking about. There are two trap bars at my gym.

One has raised handles and one has the handles on the same plane as the weights. I can DL 465# with the one with raised handles and 415# with the handles being even. I usually do straight bar DLs until I hit 375# and then I finish with trap bar deadlifts. For some reason my grip gives out on the straight bar but is ok on the trap bar.


If you want to increase the range of motion when using the trap bar with raised handles you can stand on a couple of 45lb plates.



I'll try standing on the 45's next session, see how I do. I even tried turning the bar upside down, but I couldnt get the balance right, so it tipped fowards or backwards.


The trap bar is much easier because you can get the weight closer to your heels than you can with a barbell (because your legs are in the way). You get an insane increase in levergae with a trap bar. Also, the lockout is pretty much taken out of the lift because of where he bar starts on the floor... so maybe your trap bar dl is so much higher because your traps and upper back are weak. Do you have trouble finishing your regular deads? Just something to think about.


Shit. That's what I was trying to say :stuck_out_tongue:

STB has it covered.