Trash or Treasure!
So what exactly am I talk about then.......
The title for this post is pretty fitting considering the fact that we acquired our trap bar because someone was throwing it in the bin!!
If you're wondering what a Trapbar is its the bar Konstantinovs is using in the picture.
But this odd looking bar seems to be one of the most underrated pieces of equipment that you should have in your arsenal when it comes to building brutal strength and raw power. Unfortunately, this excellent tool is looked down on by an industry who cares more about sweat and Instagram selfies than progress you'll often find it collecting dust in the corner somewhere. So it might be time to blow the dust off it and grow yourself some spinal erectors and build devastating power.
A brief history on the Trap bar.
The trap bar was designed by drug-free powerlifter who goes by the AI Gerard in the '80s. Gerard suffered from lower back problems during his competitive years but like most of us who have been bitten by the iron bug not lifting was merely out of the question. So while in pursuit of bigger numbers in the squat and deadlift AI Gerard looked for a way in which he could mimic the movements but with less force on the lower back and hence the trap bar was born. The Trapbar allowed Geread to train pain-free around his injury and continue to better his competition max. I do believe that his competition max was 625lbs/284kg which is pretty impressive considering the fact that he was drug-free.
So what types of exercises can be down with this barbell.
1- Deadlifts - This is its primary use load it up and rip it off the ground.
2- Squats - Using a lighter load and smaller places this bar can be used as a squatting exercise the movement is similar to a hack squat/DB squat hybrid but its definitely very quad focused you won't need much weight to torch the quads. Probably a better assistance squat exercises but definitely has its place with beginners.
3-Row's - This bar is excellent for rows. Personally, I find that I'm able to contract by lats harder with neutral palms facing grip than with the traditional overhand grip used with barbell rows.
4- Carries - We already know how good carries are for adding functional strength and muscle mass and this bar can be used for precisely that, load it up deadlift it and go for a walk.
Trap bar deadlifts v traditional bar deadlifts.
- Less stress on the lower back by design. This is because you're able to stand inside the bar and reduce the level length along the horizontal axis reducing the shearing forces on the spine. You're only able to shorten the lever along the horizontal axis so much with a traditional deadlift because the barbell will always be in front of your legs. This shouldn't put you off deadlift just something to consider with beginners who have weak spinal extensors or someone with persistent back problems.
- More Power, two studies found that the trap bar allowed uses to develop more peak power as well as peak velocity. So users were able to lift greater weights with better speed. This makes it a better choice for those looking to develop strength and power for sports outside or strongman, powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting. As well as a valuable tool for strength sports athletes who are looking to increase there power and velocity which is pretty much all of them.
- Easier for beginners to learn. Deadlifts are a technical movement that takes time to master, but most beginners shove the bar way out in front out of fear of hitting the shins the trap bar removes this problem allowing them to focus on bracing and leg drive while building strength.
- Better for hypertrophy, two things make muscles grow high levels of mechanical loading and the time they are subjected to said loading. The trap bar allows users to on average lift heavier loads which develop high levels of mechanical loading. And because the setup will enable users to keep the weight closer to their center lowering the shearing forces on the spine, you should, in theory, be able to perform more reps without worrying about losing position and risking injury again giving more time under tension with similar or higher loads.
- Not a competitive lift. Not the same as the traditional powerlifting deadlift or any of the Olympic Weightlifting movements. I have seen it in a couple of novice strongman competitions but not enough to consider it a standard competition exercise. But that should put off those in these sports from reaping the benefits of this bar; it just means that at least two block or traditional deadlift should be done before competition to ensure they are technically proficient with the conventional barbell.
- Less terminal hip extension so if you have a weak deadlift lockout this might not be the best assistance exercise, and a glute bridge or 45-degree hip extension would be a much better option.
So as you can see I'm a big fan of the trap bar as it has lots of benefits, but one of its best attributes it's it allows a vast amount of users to lift heavy loads off the floor which is a somewhat lost art in modern commercial gyms. So dust of that trap bar and start building a fundamental movement pattern that translates into usable brute strength outside of the gym and also pack some muscle on to that frame.
Continue the awesomeness by watching Konstantinovs Deadlift 426kg(939lb) RAW,no belt I know its not a trapbar but hey its dam impressive. Click here