Trap Bar Deadlift
Who does the trap bar deadlift? Do you know why? I have some ancient shoulder and elbow issues so the power lifter mixed grip (one palm facing you, one facing away) is completely out of the question. I have done classic grip (both palms facing you) which works especially well off of pins. That’s when you use a power rack with the rods set up to about mid-shin to mid-thigh to provide a different angle of pulling.
With the trap bar deadlift I can hold my hands in a much more suitable neutral grip, with the palms facing each other with me in the middle. This helps to protect my wrists, elbows, and shoulders. It also gives me plenty of room to bend my knees since my legs are quite long in proportion to my height.
Another important factor in the trap bar deadlift is that you can keep the center of the weights aligned pretty well with a line from your instep all the way to your hips. I feel this is much more centered. In the photo above note that I am doing the trap bar deadlift almost like a Romanian Dead Lift. My knees are only partially bent and I’m pulling quite strongly with my glutes and hams. Posterior chain training is one of my favorite days.
Be sure to keep your back arch consistent with good posture. If you let your back hunch or try to pull with the smaller muscles of your lower back you can cause serious injury. In the photo just above note that my back arch hasn’t changed. Note too that the center of the weights is in line with my knee hinge. That’s something you can’t normally do with a straight bar.
If you are training the deadlift for competitive powerlifting this trap bar deadlift might not be a good choice unless your coach offers it for supplementary training. Otherwise for most people who are just trying to increase their strength or strength endurance, it’s an excellent option for training.
Trap Bar Deadlift Protocols
Start with a lower weight, perhaps with 3 sets of 10 reps. Work your way up to 5 sets of 5 reps with a significantly higher weight. If you’re working for power or strength endurance 8 sets of 3 with a very heavy weight might be a good option for a 3-6 week cycle mixed with a 3-6 week cycle of 5 sets of 5. If you are a purely endurance athlete it would also be great to do a 3-6 week cycle of 4 sets of 25 at a moderate weight alternated with 3-6 weeks of 8-10 sets of 2-3 reps.
As usual, be careful, be smart, don’t get hurt, and if you have any doubts at all please consult a professional in-person who can teach you proper technique and help you avoid injury.