Your dream body is something that requires hard work, discipline, and time to achieve. However, did you know that one tool can elevate your weight training to a whole new level? Yes! Let me introduce you to a piece of wondrous gym equipment: the trap bar.
In this article, you will learn more about the trap bar, how much does a trap bar weigh, what are its benefits, and how to use it properly. So, what are you waiting for? Scroll down and let’s get started!
What Is A Trap Bar?
A trap bar, also known as a hex bar, is a hexagonal or diamond-shaped weightlifting bar that somehow resembles the chassis of a car.
It was initially created and patented about 3 decades ago by a powerlifting aficionado named Al Gerard. Gerard intended the trap bar as a weight training alternative for people with lower back injuries.
The trap bar derives its cool, distinctive name from its original purpose of training the trapezius muscles which connect the neck to the shoulders.
Ever since its creation, the trap bar has been adopted and recommended by fitness coaches, trainers, and weightlifters as an alternative for straight bar deadlifts and squats.
While the trap bar looks weird, it is considered as one of the most innovative gym equipment ever to grace the weight training industry.
The bar’s design features a diamond or hexagonal shape consisting of an assembly of bars that are bent into shape and welded together. Upon completion, the bar is set to lie flat on a plane.
For a better perspective, a trap bar is made up of three main parts: the bar stock, the coaxial stub-bars, and the handles.
1. Bar Stock
The bar stock is the main hexagonal or diamond shape formed by welded-together bars. Its shape and size are designed so that the user can stand in the center while lifting weights.
2. Coaxial Stub-Bars
Most trap bars have two coaxial protrusions on the sides — these function in holding the weight plates in place.
The handles are welded within the hollow bar stock. The user holds onto these handles to lift the whole trap bar, whether with the weight plates or without them. The handles should form a 90° angle with the weight plates.
How Much Does A Trap Bar Weigh?
After learning all the essential information about trap bars, let’s get onto the primary concern of this article: how much does it weigh?
Well, the weight of a particular trap bar varies depending on its type. Generally, there are three main types of trap bars that you will see in your local gym. One is the classic original Gerard trap bar, extra-large trap bar, and the standard trap bar.
- The classic Gerard-type trap bar weighs around 20 kilograms or 45 pounds similar to an Olympic barbell. However, weights can still vary slightly.
- The standard type weighs about 30 pounds or 13.3 kilograms, which is about two-thirds of the classic trap bar’s weight.
- Finally, the XL (extra large) trap bar weighs in at 55 pounds or 25 kilograms and can rack up to 500 pounds or 225 kilograms
If you are not sure, you can always weigh the trap bar in your gym using a gym scale, which should be available in most gyms.
Benefits Of The Trap Bar
While you are already interested in using a trap bar, you may not know all of its amazing benefits. Listed below are the advantages of the trap bar compared to regular weightlifting bars:
1. It Protects Your Lower Back
Needless to say, experiencing pain at any point during your training may mean that you are doing something wrong. Many weightlifting exercises, the deadlift being among the top offenders, lower back pain is almost inevitable.
This pain quickly shuts your body down, halts your training, and can even interfere with future sessions due to leftover pain or discomfort.
For individuals with a history of lower back pain or for those wanting to prevent it before it starts, the trap bar may be your new best friend!
Performing a traditional deadlift using a straight bar puts the weight in front of the body, forcing you to lean forward to grab the bar. Then, you have to work versus the pull of gravity on the weight, all the while resisting the urge to round your back while lifting.
For many people, this set up puts them in a compromised position right from the get-go, and often going downhill from there.
In contrast to this, deadlifting with a trap bar puts you inside the bar, making a whole bunch of difference. First, because of the bar’s design and your position, you do not have to hinge forward to grab it anymore.
You do not have to rotate the shoulders internally either. All there is to do is grab hold of the bar by straightening your arms on both sides. Therefore, you can deadlift with little to no unnecessary stress on the spine, especially the lower back.
2. It Is Safer For The Shoulders And Arms
Trap bars are more comfortable to balance compared to straight barbells. This means that there is a lower risk of having weightlifting accidents. The design and shape also eliminate the chances of having the bar interfere with the knees.
Another difference between a trap bar and a straight bar is that the handles of a trap bar are positioned perpendicular to the sleeves. Because of this, you can go for a neutral grip instead of the supinated or pronated grip used on a traditional barbell.
This neutral grip has a couple of significant safety benefits:
For The Shoulders
If you lack stability or mobility on your shoulders due to typing in front of a computer or writing on a desk all day, you could be suffering from internally rotated shoulders. This can cause discomfort, especially when doing pressing movements.
For instance, a swiss bar is favored by many people who do pressing exercises because of the comfort provided by the angled or neutral handles. The trap bar functions similarly.
Performing an overhead press with a trap bar puts the shoulders in a much better position where the weight is more aligned with the midline, allowing you to press along a straight line.
This also allows you to work on shoulder stability since the shoulders are externally rotated when using the high handles.
For The Biceps
When deadlifting using a straight bar, you have two basic grip options: a mixed grip or an overhand grip. The downside of a mixed grip, however, aside from possibly causing imbalances, is that it positions the biceps of the supinated hand where it is prone to tearing. Bicep tears actually happen and can significantly affect your training as you recover.
Fortunately, you do not need to use a mixed grip when using a trap bar. Your hands are in a neutral position, significantly reducing the risk of biceps tear.
3. It Allows You To Lift A Higher Load
Admit it or not, we all want to be as healthy as possible, and we desire to raise the weight we’re lifting to the max. However, this often leads us to sacrifice the proper form and technique.
With the use of a trap bar, you can enjoy a mechanical advantage and leverage by merely being within the path of the bar. This means that you can lift significantly more weight than a straight bar would allow, as long as your form and technique are correct.
4. It Is Beginner-friendly
Trap bars are great for those who are just starting to get into barbell lifting and powerlifting. As a beginner, you probably do not know precisely what you are doing.
So, because the trap bar is super easy and straightforward to use, it can be a great tool to start with. This intuitive piece of equipment does not require experience or a thorough understanding of biomechanics. Basically, you just stand in the center, and pick it up.
While the deadlift is pretty technical no matter how you look at it, the trap bar helps you avoid a lot of pain, mistakes, and “uh-oh” moments while performing this exercise. There is also a relatively small learning curve in mastering the trap bar.
Newbies in weightlifting may experience problems in hinging from their hips. Thankfully, the trap bar helps you dodge this issue altogether through the way the bar and handles are placed. It allows beginners to squat down a little more to grab the bar to build confidence and be comfortable with the movement.
Because your hands are placed on your sides, using a trap bar also makes it much easier to prevent your upper back from rounding and keep your chest up. This also benefits the lower back.
5. It Is Very Versatile
If you think trap bars are only for deadlifts, you could not be more wrong! In fact, it is an extremely versatile tool that can add variety to your routine.
Some of this depends on the type of trap bar you are using, but generally, all trap bars can be used for a wide range of exercises. For example, an open-ended trap bar offers more options.
Other trap bars are also rackable, come with two sets of handles, or provide bigger spaces. All of these factors will allow you to switch up your routine. Overall, here is a list of all the movements you can perform using a trap bar:
- Jump squats
- Split squats
- Shoulder shrugs
- Lunges (both Regular and Walking)
- Jump Deadlift
- Single leg deadlift
- Push press
- Floor press
- Overhead press
- Back Row
- Upright row
- Step Ups
- Heavy isometric holds
- Farmer Walks
Additional exercises exclusive to an open-ended trap bar include:
- Zercher squats, carries, and lunges
- Cambered squats
- Seated deadlift
Of course, there are other unconventional and creative ways to utilize a trap bar, but you get the point.
6. It Allows You To Build Serious Power
Are you aiming to build strength and explosive power? The trap bar has got your back! Numerous studies in the past have proven that the deadlifting using a trap bar develops more power than when doing straight bar deadlifts.
One study from the Robert Gordon University documented the performance of male powerlifters doing traditional straight bar deadlifts and compared these with their data while doing trap bar deadlifts. Based on their findings, the trap bar deadlift allowed higher maximum power, maximum force, and maximum velocity values.
The same findings were supported by another study by the Cal State’s Center for Sports Performance, which means that powerlifters can actually lift heavier weights faster using a trap bar than with a straight bar.
How To Deadlift With A Trap Bar
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to properly perform deadlifts with a trap bar:
- Stand inside the trap bar with your feet shoulder-width apart or a little closer together.
- Put a slight bend on your knees and try to keep them from aggressively sliding forward.
- With your arms straight down your sides, pull the shoulder blades downward and back as you puff your chest up, assuming a dominant posture.
- Without bending your knees any more, maintain all your weight on the heels and push your hips and buttocks back.
- Hinge your body down through the hips to reach and grab the bar. You can squat down a little more as long as you keep your butt pushed back the entire time to emphasize the hips. Do not let your knees drift forward since this can cause knee pain.
- Grab hold of the trap bar’s handles with your hands.
- Inhale through the stomach and hold your breath, making sure your chest does not rise.
- Stand up straight just so until the bar reaches the height of your hips and complete the movement by tightening your butt at the top. Stop moving once you stop squeezing. Remember to keep your knees slightly bent, your back completely straight, your chest up, and your head facing forward.
- Slowly lower the bar back down.
To avoid injuries, watch these trap bar deadlift tips:
The Don’ts of Trap Bar Deadlifts
- Never push your hips forward as you finish the movement as this places unnecessary stress on your lower back and can even lead to injury. Make sure your glutes are directly under your hips at the end.
- Do not crank your head too far back in an attempt to keep your chest up since this can cause neck strain. Maintain a neutral neck position by keeping your eyes locked at a spot about 45 degrees in front of you throughout the movement.
- Never round your back as this can negatively affect your posture and form.
There you have it! Now you know so much more than just how much does a trap bar weigh. I hope you learned a thing or two that you can use to achieve your fitness goals.
If you enjoyed this article, do share it with your family and friends or leave a comment down below for your suggestions, feedback, and recommendations as well! For your other gym, fitness, and lifestyle needs, you can also check out these product reviews!