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Trap Bar Handles - Which Do You Use, High or Low?

Hi guys, I was just wondering which trap bar handles you guys use the most. My trap bar has two sets of handles that can be used. When loaded with 45s, you can either use a set of handles that’s the same height as a regular BB deadlift, or you can flip the bar over and use a set of handles that’s about 3.5" higher.

I’ve read that the lower handles (same height as a reg BB) allow for more recruitment of the glutes and hams, as in a traditional deadlift. The upper handles are supposed to allow for more recruitment of the upper back muscles. M

I guess it’s all in what you want to target, right?

Thanks for the input and comments.


Yes. I always use the low handles, so I’m forced to put my butt down and load my hamstrings. With the high handles, I can pretty much “cheat it up” as a quad move.

I’m really petite, so this might feel different depending on your height. For me, the high handles almost feel like I’m pulling from pins. It’s much harder to hit my posterior chain.

Even when I’m using the Trap Bar for constant tension RDLs, doing each rep from just at the knees or below, I’ll still put it on the low handle setting.

It might depend on what your purpose is. For example, my sticking point on DLs is always off the floor, so training a high DL where I’m starting the pull high, just the top of the motion, doesn’t make sense for me. Stop and Go Trap DLs are great sometimes for BBing purposes, but if I want to work on coming off the floor I need to stop and reset.

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I use the low handles. I can’t see where the high handles would do anything different other than decrease the range of motion.

It really depends on your own mobility and goals. If you’re able to get into a good starting position on the low handles do it. If not I would work with the high handles and throw in 2-3 sets of 10-20 rep RDLs (either BB or DB’s your choice) as assistance until your range of motion improves