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trap bar deadlift


In the realm of strength training, the trap bar deadlift has gained popularity as a powerful exercise that targets many muscle groups while minimizing stress on the lower back. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about trap bar deadlifts, including their benefits, proper technique, common mistakes to avoid, and variations to spice up your workouts.

Here you will know:

  • What is the Trap Bar Deadlift?
  • Benefits of Trap Bar Deadlifts
  • Trap Bar Deadlift Muscles Worked
  • Proper Form for Trap Bar Deadlifts
  • Common Mistakes to Avoid
  • Variations of the Trap Bar Deadlift
  • Trap Bar Vs Straight Bar: Which is Better?
  • Conclusion

What is the Trap Bar Deadlift? 

The trap bar deadlift, also known as the hex bar deadlift, is a variation of the traditional barbell deadlift. Instead of using a straight barbell, this exercise employs a specialized trap bar, which is a hexagonal or diamond-shaped bar with elevated handles. This design allows you to stand inside the bar with your feet closer together and keep your torso upright throughout the lift, changing the center of gravity of the load, reducing stress on your lower back and placing more emphasis on your quadriceps.

Benefits of Trap Bar Deadlifts

Full-Body Muscle Engagement

The trap bar deadlift is a compound exercise that targets many muscle groups , making it an efficient way to build strength and muscle mass. It works the posterior chain, including the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and core muscles, while also engaging the quadriceps, trapezius, and forearm muscles.

Improved Biomechanics

The trap bar's design places your body in a more upright position, reducing the strain on your lower back compared to the traditional barbell deadlift. This makes the trap bar deadlift a safer option for individuals with lower back issues or those new to deadlifting.

hex bar deadlift

Greater Quad Activation

Due to the more upright torso position and the placement of your feet inside the trap bar, the trap bar deadlift places greater emphasis on your quadriceps compared to the conventional deadlift. This makes it an excellent exercise for developing powerful legs and improving lower-body strength.

Increased Grip Strength

The neutral grip position of the trap bar deadlift allows for a more comfortable and secure grip, reducing the risk of grip failure during heavy lifts. This feature makes the exercise particularly beneficial for those looking to improve their grip strength.


The trap bar deadlift can be incorporated into various training programs, including strength training, powerlifting, and functional fitness routines. Its versatility allows you to customize the exercise to suit your specific goals and preferences.

Trap Bar Deadlift Muscles Worked


Trap Bar Deadlift Muscles Worked

The trap bar deadlift is a multi-joint compound exercise that engages many muscle groups throughout the body. By understanding the primary muscles involved, you can better appreciate the comprehensive benefits of this exercise and target specific areas for optimal strength and muscle development.


Quadriceps: The trap bar deadlift is a quadriceps-dominant exercise due to the more upright torso position and the placement of your feet inside the trap bar. This stance and body positioning place greater emphasis on the quadriceps muscles (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius) during the lift.


Hamstrings: As a hinge movement, the trap bar deadlift recruits the hamstring muscles (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris) throughout the entire range of motion. These muscles are responsible for hip extension and knee flexion, making them crucial for generating power and strength during the lift.


Glutes: The gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus) are primary movers in the trap bar deadlift. These powerful muscles play a vital role in hip extension and stabilization, driving the movement and contributing to lower-body strength and power.

core muscles


Core Muscles: The trap bar deadlift is an excellent exercise for developing core strength and stability. It engages the rectus abdominis, obliques, and erector spinae muscles, which work to maintain proper spinal alignment and prevent excessive rounding or arching of the back during the lift.


Trapezius: While the trapezius muscles (upper, middle, and lower) are not the primary movers in the trap bar deadlift, they are engaged to maintain the upright torso position and stabilize the shoulders throughout the movement.

Forearms muscle

Forearms and Grip: The neutral, overhand grip required for the trap bar deadlift places significant stress on the forearm muscles, including the flexor digitorum profundus, flexor digitorum superficialis, and flexor pollicis longus. Additionally, a strong grip is essential for maintaining control of the trap bar, engaging the forearm flexors and intrinsic hand muscles.

Proper Form for Trap Bar Deadlifts

trap bar deadlift


Step 1: Set up the bar: Position the trap bar on the ground, ensuring the handles are parallel to your feet. Step into the center of the bar, with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Assume the starting position: Bend your knees, keeping your back straight and chest up. Grasp the handles with a neutral grip, ensuring your palms face each other.

Step 3: Engage your core: Take a deep breath, brace your core, and maintain tension throughout the lift.

Step 4: Start the lift: Drive through your heels, extend your hips and knees , and lift the bar off the ground. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement, avoiding rounding or excessive arching.

Step 5: Lockout and lower the bar: Once you reach a standing position, squeeze your glutes and lock out your hips. To lower the bar, hinge at the hips and descend, maintaining control and tension in your muscles.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While the trap bar deadlift is an effective exercise, certain mistakes can hinder your progress or increase the risk of injury. Here are some common errors to watch out for:

Rounded back

hex bar rounded back

Maintaining a neutral spine is crucial during the trap bar deadlift. Avoid rounding your back, as it places excessive stress on the lumbar region. Engage your core and keep your chest up throughout the movement. 

Incorrect grip

hex bar deadlift Incorrect grip

Ensure you have a firm grip on the handles, with your palms facing each other. Avoid using a mixed grip (one palm facing up, one facing down) to maintain balanced muscle activation.

Improper hip and knee alignment

The knees should track in line with the toes during the lift. Avoid allowing your knees to collapse inward or shoot too far forward, as it can strain the joints.

Neglecting proper warm-up

Focus on a dynamic warm-up routine before performing trap bar deadlifts. This helps prepare your muscles and joints for the demands of the exercise and reduces the risk of injury.

Variations of the Trap Bar Deadlift

While the standard trap bar deadlift is an excellent exercise on its own, several variations can target specific muscle groups or add an extra challenge to your routine:

Deficit Trap Bar Deadlift

Deficit Trap Bar Deadlift


Performed by elevating the trap bar on a platform or weight plates, this variation increases the range of motion and emphasizes the hamstrings and glutes.

Trap Bar Shrug

Trap Bar Shrug

By incorporating a shrugging motion at the top of the lift, this variation targets the trapezius muscles more .

Trap Bar RDL

This variation emphasizes the hamstrings and glutes by keeping the knees bent and hinging forward at the hips during the descent.

Single-Leg Trap Bar Deadlift

Single-Leg Trap Bar Deadlift

Performing the lift on one leg at a time challenges your balance and stability while engaging the core and stabilizing muscles more .

Trap Bar Deadlift with Chains or Bands

Trap Bar Deadlift with Chains

Adding chains or resistance bands to the trap bar increases the resistance as you lift, making the exercise more challenging and promoting greater strength development.

Trap Bar Vs Straight Bar: Which is Better?

Trap Bar Vs Straight Bar: Which is Better


When it comes to choosing between a trap bar and a straight bar for lifting weights, there is no definitive answer as to which one is "better." Both options have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on your specific goals, biomechanics, and personal preferences.

Trap Bar:

  • More upright torso position, reduced lower back strain
  • Weight closer to center of mass, more stable
  • Neutral grip, less bicep/forearm stress

Straight Bar:

  • Greater range of motion
  • Higher weight capacity for overload
  • Better carryover to other barbell lifts like squats, presses

Ultimately, the choice between a trap bar and a straight bar depends on your specific goals, injury history, and personal preferences. If your primary concern is reducing lower back stress and maintaining an upright torso position, the IFAST 2 inch trap bar may be a better choice. However, if you want to maximize range of motion, overload potential, and carryover to other lifts, the straight bar may be more suitable.


Trap bar deadlifts offer a multitude of benefits for athletes and fitness enthusiasts of all levels, making them a valuable addition to any strength training program. By mastering proper form, understanding muscle activation, and incorporating variations , you can unlock the full potential of this dynamic exercise. Whether you're striving for strength, hypertrophy, or fitness, trap bar deadlifts provide a versatile and effective way to achieve your goals and elevate your training to new heights.

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