T Nation

Trap Bar Deadlifts


#1

I'm currently doing them with the low handles, but should I be doing them while standing on a box/plates as well? If so, what is a good box height?

Also, what is a good standard to shoot for? When it comes to something like squats and deadlifts there is generally an accepted strength standard to aim for (2x, 2.5x BW), but what about TBDL? The movement is more similar to a squat yet people usually lift more weight than on their deadlift, so it's a bit tricky to gauge.

I really wish there was more info on this. Whenever someone asks about it the most common response seems to be "just squat instead" (at least on BB.com).


#2

[quote]Iron Condor wrote:
I’m currently doing them with the low handles, but should I be doing them while standing on a box/plates as well? If so, what is a good box height?

Also, what is a good standard to shoot for? When it comes to something like squats and deadlifts there is generally an accepted strength standard to aim for (2x, 2.5x BW), but what about TBDL? The movement is more similar to a squat yet people usually lift more weight than on their deadlift, so it’s a bit tricky to gauge.

I really wish there was more info on this. Whenever someone asks about it the most common response seems to be “just squat instead” (at least on BB.com).[/quote]

High handles, low handles, rack, deficit - it depends on your goal. Since the trap bar deadlift is not a part of any competition, there is no ‘right’ answer. However, you’ll already reach a bit lower than you’d do with a standard deadlift since the handles are further apart, so anything more than a single plate to stand on really seems excessive to me.

In terms of strength: again, there are no real guidelines since it’s not a competition lift. No one really gives a damn how much you can trap bar deadlift. If you need a number to shoot for: 2x bodyweight is never a world record, but always impressive. On any lift.


#3

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

[quote]Iron Condor wrote:
I’m currently doing them with the low handles, but should I be doing them while standing on a box/plates as well? If so, what is a good box height?

Also, what is a good standard to shoot for? When it comes to something like squats and deadlifts there is generally an accepted strength standard to aim for (2x, 2.5x BW), but what about TBDL? The movement is more similar to a squat yet people usually lift more weight than on their deadlift, so it’s a bit tricky to gauge.

I really wish there was more info on this. Whenever someone asks about it the most common response seems to be “just squat instead” (at least on BB.com).[/quote]

High handles, low handles, rack, deficit - it depends on your goal. Since the trap bar deadlift is not a part of any competition, there is no ‘right’ answer. However, you’ll already reach a bit lower than you’d do with a standard deadlift since the handles are further apart, so anything more than a single plate to stand on really seems excessive to me.

In terms of strength: again, there are no real guidelines since it’s not a competition lift. No one really gives a damn how much you can trap bar deadlift. If you need a number to shoot for: 2x bodyweight is never a world record, but always impressive. On any lift.
[/quote]

It’s used in strongman. Traditionally in a deadlift medley or push pull medley, but I think I remember a last man standing trap bar deadlift.

TC, use whatever helps you reach your goals. As for strength standards, those are silly things. For the trap bar, I feel like adding 100lbs to whatever you think is a good barbell deadlift is accurate.


#4

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
It’s used in strongman. Traditionally in a deadlift medley or push pull medley, but I think I remember a last man standing trap bar deadlift.
[/quote]

I stand corrected.


#5

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
High handles, low handles, rack, deficit - it depends on your goal. Since the trap bar deadlift is not a part of any competition, there is no ‘right’ answer. However, you’ll already reach a bit lower than you’d do with a standard deadlift since the handles are further apart, so anything more than a single plate to stand on really seems excessive to me.[/quote]

At the moment I am substituting the trap bar for both squats and deads, so I want the maximum possible ROM to get the most out of it. With high handles it just feels like I’m cheating.

[quote]In terms of strength: again, there are no real guidelines since it’s not a competition lift. No one really gives a damn how much you can trap bar deadlift. If you need a number to shoot for: 2x bodyweight is never a world record, but always impressive. On any lift.
[/quote]

No one cares about it, but I think it’s good to have some sort of benchmark all the same. Something like breaking a BW OHP or 2x BW squat is a milestone and let’s you know where you’re at.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
TC, use whatever helps you reach your goals. As for strength standards, those are silly things. For the trap bar, I feel like adding 100lbs to whatever you think is a good barbell deadlift is accurate.[/quote]

I think that’s about right. I first picked it up about a week ago and maxed out at about 240 lbs (at 140 lbs BW) with no previous weight lifting experience or athletic background (except for about 6 months of martial arts). For a deadlift that would put me somewhere in Intermediate which can’t be right.

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. I’m just going to keep loading it up until no more plates can fit on. I also want to run an experiment of sorts, using just a trap bar for 6 months or so and seeing what, if any, carryover it has to a squat or a deadlift (neither of which I’ve trained before).


#6

Train in a way that allows you to reach your goals, what specifically are your goals?

I think strength standards are a nice thing to be aware of sometimes, but like 1RM’s, I wouldn’t worry about them too much unless they are explicitly stated in your goal.


#7

The Trap Bar is a great piece of equipment in my opinion.

You can use it to do a form of hack squats or you can use it to do deadlifts.
High handles can turn it into more like a rack pull.

I would recommend doing all 3.

Just be aware that when you do use it for hack squats that the weight will be much less then when you use a deadlift style.
So don’t just try and keep adding weight . Think about what muscles you are working as that is the whole point of the Trap Bar.

As for what is a good strength standard I would suggest just trying to improve your own log book on the different lifts.
That could be a 2 or 3 rep max on the deadlifts or perhaps trying to hit 3 sets of 8 on the hack squats.
These are obviously done for different goals so treat it as such.

As for information on the topic I remember not so long ago Ben Bruno writing about it on this site.


#8

Unfortunately videos don’t seem to work on the old articles and all article discussions have been deleted so we now miss out on lots of great information but here a few Trap Bar articles to give you an idea on how to use this great tool.




#9

My overall goal is to get as strong as possible while remaining more or less the same size. I’d like to gain another 5-6 lbs or so (~145 lbs) and stay there, at least for a few years. My primary focus is on martial arts so lifting is only part of the picture, so I try to keep it as simple as possible. A few very basic, natural compound lifts (the fewer the better): picking up something heavy off the ground (TBDL) then carrying it (TB farmer’s carry), pressing overhead (OHP), and pulling myself up (weighted chin-ups/rope climbs). Nothing really technical that requires training specific form for a long time.

Angus1: I have read those articles previously, but it’s difficult to understand some of the things mentioned because the videos don’t work as you mentioned (I was wondering if it was a problem on my end). Do you have any pictures that show the set up differences between the hack squat and the deadlift? I pretty much just squat down and pick it up with the low handles, I’m not sure how optimal that is.


#10

[quote]Iron Condor wrote:
I also want to run an experiment of sorts, using just a trap bar for 6 months or so and seeing what, if any, carryover it has to a squat or a deadlift (neither of which I’ve trained before).[/quote]

How will you know if it’s impacted on your squat or deadlift if you haven’t done these movements before?


#11

[quote]Iron Condor wrote:

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
High handles, low handles, rack, deficit - it depends on your goal. Since the trap bar deadlift is not a part of any competition, there is no ‘right’ answer. However, you’ll already reach a bit lower than you’d do with a standard deadlift since the handles are further apart, so anything more than a single plate to stand on really seems excessive to me.[/quote]

At the moment I am substituting the trap bar for both squats and deads, so I want the maximum possible ROM to get the most out of it. With high handles it just feels like I’m cheating.

[quote]In terms of strength: again, there are no real guidelines since it’s not a competition lift. No one really gives a damn how much you can trap bar deadlift. If you need a number to shoot for: 2x bodyweight is never a world record, but always impressive. On any lift.
[/quote]

No one cares about it, but I think it’s good to have some sort of benchmark all the same. Something like breaking a BW OHP or 2x BW squat is a milestone and let’s you know where you’re at.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
TC, use whatever helps you reach your goals. As for strength standards, those are silly things. For the trap bar, I feel like adding 100lbs to whatever you think is a good barbell deadlift is accurate.[/quote]

I think that’s about right. I first picked it up about a week ago and maxed out at about 240 lbs (at 140 lbs BW) with no previous weight lifting experience or athletic background (except for about 6 months of martial arts). For a deadlift that would put me somewhere in Intermediate which can’t be right.

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. I’m just going to keep loading it up until no more plates can fit on. I also want to run an experiment of sorts, using just a trap bar for 6 months or so and seeing what, if any, carryover it has to a squat or a deadlift (neither of which I’ve trained before).[/quote]

You’re talking about things letting you know where you are at and certain lifts being intermediate. I am curious whose standards you are using.


#12

[quote]dagill2 wrote:
How will you know if it’s impacted on your squat or deadlift if you haven’t done these movements before?[/quote]

If I can convince my friend to go over my form in those lifts I might test my maxes within the next few weeks and just run TBDL until the end of the year then retest to see if it has made any difference. If not then I will run TBDL as usual and then test my squat/DL max at some point in future and just go off of strength standards on ExRx. Not very scientific, but to my mind if a guy with no other lifting experience doing no other heavy leg exercises for 6+ months has a decent squat/DL (i.e something above ‘untrained’) then there must be some carryover (though the exact amount will be uncertain).


#13

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
You’re talking about things letting you know where you are at and certain lifts being intermediate. I am curious whose standards you are using.
[/quote]

I haven’t seen standards that would place a 240lb trap bar deadlift as intermediate. 240kg, maybe.

More importantly though, I feel the label “intermediate” holds very little value. If someone has a 500lb deadlift, I can get a pretty good idea of how strong they are. If they have an “intermediate” deadlift, I have no clue what that means.


#14

Ok so you are a fighter who wants to stay in a very light weight class who just wants to gain some strength without putting on much weight.
This would have been helpful to know in the beginning.

Well strength is relative to size( the bigger you are the more you can lift) but in your case having some preconceived number is pointless. Surely just getting stronger then you previously were is the goal.
As for not gaining weight this can be controlled by diet. Pretty much to gain weight you have to be in a caloric surplus.

As for how to use the Trap Bar the articles I posted explains this. Basically a squatting movement is one where the hips start low and you keep your torso in an upright position.
A deadlift starts with hips higher,lean more forward and you use more or a hip hinge to lift.
The obvious difference is one is quad dominant whilst one is a posterior chain movement.

As I said experiment with both to use different muscle groups.
As you only want strength and no size then you can stick with rep ranges 5 and under.

Whether or not this helps your squat or deadlift should be irrelevant. You’re a light fighter not a powerlifter.


#15

[quote]Angus1 wrote:
Whether or not this helps your squat or deadlift should be irrelevant. You’re a light fighter not a powerlifter. [/quote]

This.

The success of your strength program should be judged entirely on how you perform in the ring. No-one cares if you can squat 800lbs if you still lose the fight, no-one cares if you can’t squat 100 as long as you win.


#16

Squat/Dead numbers don’t mean much to me, it’ll just be interesting to see what the carryover is. I had another reply to a post in this thread but for some reason it hasn’t shown up.


#17

Quick update to this thread.

I’ve been carrying on and doing a super minimalist program with OHP/weighted chin ups/TBDL + trap bar farmer carries for the past year or so (albeit with VERY patchy consistency). Going to switch to a more balanced program next week so I retested my 1RM low handle trap bar deadlift and it was 363 lb. Decided to pull conventional for the first time today to compare it, so I watched a few Rip vids and Alpha’s deadlift series then went to the gym and pulled 330 lb at 150 lb bodyweight.

Obviously not great, but I think it shows that there is at least some carryover between the trap bar and conventional. If you read a bunch of forum posts on the trap bar (I think I must’ve read every one on most major strength forums by this point) most people say it’s like a leg press that takes the back out of the movement and you will snap your back when you try to pull a “real” deadlift, which is obviously BS. Doing both is obviously ideal, but just using the trap bar alone is a fairly decent alternative. Check out the note on the trap bar in the Strengtheory “How to Deadlift” article as well (I don’t know if I can link it here without getting in trouble).

TL;DR: Trap bar is alright. If any man disagrees I’ll hook him right in the gabber.


#18

Something wrong with your back that you need to do deadlifts with the trap bar. Grow a pair and learn how to deadlift. You’ll find that compromise movements that make things easier usually don’t work as well.

Tough things suck, but work.


#19

Gotta disagree.Trap bar deadlifts are an excellent movement .They complement a deadlift well . PLus he trains for martial arts . A trap bar deadlift allows quicker recovery. Personally I would throw in back extensions with it. That would give you a decent conventional deadlift without training it . 2 x bw for the lower weight classes IMO.

I am aware that deadlift require a lot of technique but that might get you closer to 2,5-3 bw for the lower weight classes under 200lb. He can’t devote enough time to that probably.


#20

I love the trap bar, probably my favorite exercise. I feel much stronger when I do trap bar pulls as oppose to reg deadlifts (i know people say different).
I used the same milestones for trap bar that others use for deadlift. However, with the trap bar I do a 2 rep max… For example a common deadlift milestone is 405x1(4-45 plates on each side). With a trap bar I would shoot for 405x2… with your weight I would say 365x2 would be respectable, especilly with your other training.

As far as carry over, it will help, cause you will be stronger. But, to be a better deadlifter, you need to deadlift.