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Trap Bar DL vs. Conventional

I’m considering not doing conventional deadlifts anymore and investing in a trap bar to do trap bar deads.

Every time I do a regular deadlift I scrape the crap out of my legs. When going up to my max I feel I lean forward so much I’m going to hurt myself at some point.

It seems I have very long upper legs or something. My questions are, would it be a good idea to do this or am I just being a coward? Does everyone scrape their legs a lot when deadlifting?

Thanks for any advise you can give me. Lately I feel stuck at a plateau with my DL and think it’s because using a regular bar doesn’t work that well with my bone structure.

I scrape my shins a fair amount with conventional DL, and not so much with sumo. It comes with the territory.

Trap bar DLs are a great exercise IMO. But, they are more similar to a squat wrt leg development. It really depends on what you want to do.

You’ll get various opinions as to the amout of carryover to regular DL. The Westside guys don’t think there is much, if any carryover, and don’t do them any more. If competing in powerlifting is a goal, then you should be doing at least some conventional/sumo DL.

LA

I know a guy who uses a kind of “shin test” to gauge if you are serious or not. It comes with the territory. How often are you doing conventional deadlift, what is the volume when you do them. This will help us understand why they are so torn up.

Wear long socks when deadlifting, that will keep any blood off the bar. I even think Titan and Metal make deadlifting socks. I have even seen people wear shin guards.

As far as which one to do that is for you to decide. What are your goals? If you are bodybuilding then Trap Bar DL might be right for you (depends on your weaknesses).

If you are powerlifting I am going to have to say go with a conventional deadlift with either a conventional narrow stance or a summo stance. Deadlifting with a trap bar puts you in a completely different position.

I bought one recently and it’s money well spent. Although it doesn’t eliminate the role of the lower back entirely, it doesn’t ravage it the way a conventional pull does. But it does hit the legs differently than a barbell, for sure. If you’re lifting for non-powerlifting purposes, I would highly advise it.

[quote]KombatAthlete wrote:
I bought one recently and it’s money well spent. Although it doesn’t eliminate the role of the lower back entirely, it doesn’t ravage it the way a conventional pull does. But it does hit the legs differently than a barbell, for sure. If you’re lifting for non-powerlifting purposes, I would highly advise it.[/quote]

Second all of the above. BTW, the guy who invented the trap bar (Al Gerard) was a powerlifter with back problems that prevented him from deadlifting regularly with a standard bar.

PS if you have long legs, make sure you get a hexagonal shape one, rather than the older diamond shape. The hexagonal shape gives a bit more room for your legs.

I personally see the trap bar as much the same as a leg press is. Its a great accessory lift but not a replacment for the DL. you wont get near the low back, ham glute and over all full body involvement

My DL goes up, my trap DL flies up but not other way round
Phill

[quote]Phill wrote:
I personally see the trap bar as much the same as a leg press is. Its a great accessory lift but not a replacment for the DL. you wont get near the low back, ham glute and over all full body involvement

My DL goes up, my trap DL flies up but not other way round
Phill[/quote]

What Phill has said is right, however you can address the issue to a great extent by doing RDLs and rack pulls with regular bar as well as trap bar dls. This will still save your shins and keep the load on your lower back down.

[quote]Zagman wrote:
I know a guy who uses a kind of “shin test” to gauge if you are serious or not. It comes with the territory. How often are you doing conventional deadlift, what is the volume when you do them. This will help us understand why they are so torn up.[/quote]

Ha ha, yeah I hear that. I’m proud of my scabbing. he only problem is it gets quite painful trying to break a PR with the pain. Right now I’m trying to break through a pathetic plateau of 325lbs and I’m DLing once a week on average. Aside from the warm-ups I do a set scheme of 4-3-2 4-3-2 and attempt a new 1RM. It hasn’t happened in a couple months though.

[quote]Il Don wrote:
Zagman wrote:
I know a guy who uses a kind of “shin test” to gauge if you are serious or not. It comes with the territory. How often are you doing conventional deadlift, what is the volume when you do them. This will help us understand why they are so torn up.

Ha ha, yeah I hear that. I’m proud of my scabbing. he only problem is it gets quite painful trying to break a PR with the pain. Right now I’m trying to break through a pathetic plateau of 325lbs and I’m DLing once a week on average. Aside from the warm-ups I do a set scheme of 4-3-2 4-3-2 and attempt a new 1RM. It hasn’t happened in a couple months though.[/quote]

well if it aint workin fix it do something different diff rep scheme, work up to 3 RM’s for a while try 10 x 3 for a few weeks, pull from deficite, rack pulls something where are ya failing.

At 325 id still say sure pull once a week but that rep scheme imo sucks if the 4,3,2,4,3,2 is anywhere near max effort then you try a max no wonder you dont hit one work straight up get that new max as fast as you can you can always do lesser work after

Phill

There can be other explanations to this problem. First off, are you sure your form is correct even lifting moderate weight? It should be the case that you should be able to keep pretty solid form until you get to maybe 85% of max and probably even higher for some people.

If you cant maintain solid form on lower weight than when your form really craps out maximally, which it will with anyone, you will really be in some deep shit. Also, what is your programming like?

Poliquin has an older article talking about leg days and he has a terrific approach. Every 5 days working on a leg exercise and trying to drive your strength up in a given exercise. For instance you could squat one day, then 5 days later work on your split squats, then 5 days later work on your deadlift.

It is amazing how long you can stay away from a certain lift and maintain or even increase strength. I have been trying this and it has been working superbly. My deadlift felt great yesterday and I hadnt deadlifted in two weeks. The longer break in between will give your shins a chance to recover so you dont just keep ripping open the same cuts.

Another trick I used to use that helped with the bar is obviously wear athletic pants. That is the only way to go. Another trick I used to use is spraying my pants with WD-40. Cuts down on the friction to the point where the lift goes like butter, it almost slides down your leg too easily at first.

Not sure if WD-40 is a great thing to get into your cuts, but it never bothered me… That might be another idea for you… But whatever you do dont ditch the standard deads…

[quote]Zagman wrote:
I know a guy who uses a kind of “shin test” to gauge if you are serious or not. It comes with the territory. How often are you doing conventional deadlift, what is the volume when you do them. This will help us understand why they are so torn up.[/quote]

You don’t have to scrape your shins to do a deadlift, I deadlift 3x a week and never do that. I have an okay deadlift (5 months ago I did 450 lbs at 175 lbs bodyweight)

When I first started deadlifting I used to scrape my shins every single time; now I only scrape them if I’m attempting a PR.

Actually now, I scrape my upper thighs more often than I scrape my shins.

If you are just repping out on the deads, you should only be scraping your shins on the first rep, if that. The bar on the subsequent lifts can be slightly further off and that way you are putting more emphasis on your hamstrings.