Trap Bar Deadlift

Question

I know you speak highly of the trap bar deadlift, but I’m hesitant because I usually deadlift sumo. Won’t I lose strength?

I’m not competing anymore, and just doing this to look better and stay strong.

Answer

The trap bar deadlift is in fact a tremendous exercise, but there are some nuances you should be aware of.

First, it’s really a hybrid squat/deadlift movement delivering the best benefits of each. It’s safer than a regular deadlift, given it centers your weight and there’s less temptation to lean forward, using more of your lower back to lift the weight.

Ironically, studies show you can lift around 7% more with the trap bar vs. regular deadlift. I say ironically, because (to me) it feels like you can’t involve your lower back to the same degree. As such, you’d think you’re not able to lift as much weight – at least that’s true in my case.

Be that as it may, it’s still a tremendous lift and I think you should give it a shot.

Another Nuance

It’s more of a quad dominant lift vs. posterior chain, because you can only use a conventional stance, your glutes/hams/lower back aren’t as strongly engaged. It’s a lot of quad work. And in a world of quad dominant people, that can lead to imbalances.

I would suggest box squatting to work the posterior chain, or if your lower back can’t take it either reverse hypers, glute ham raises or wide stance belt squats following your trap bar work. Another movement (and this one is way under-rated and utilized IMO) are wide stance leverage squats.

Glute ham bridges are also an excellent assistance lift to work the posterior chain.

One Final Note

If you plan to trap bar DL and occasionally go back to straight sumo deadlifts, use the “high” handles on the trap bar as opposed to the low ones

High handles more accurately reflect the shorter range of motion or bar stroke seen with a sumo deadlift, and will assist in the carryover

Hope that helps..

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Coach Rob Regish

Coach Rob Regish

Rob Regish is an internationally recognized name in the field of health and fitness. He's been a weekly contributor to Superhumanradio.net for almost a decade, answering listener questions from around the world.

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