Jump to content

Trap Bar Deadlift vs Barbell Deadlift For Gaining Mass?

Recommended Posts

Thanks guys!


Stuart McRobert author of Brawn comments caught my attention below. Particularly in relation to hardgainers.


History : Invented by Al Gerard, a deadlift record holder in ADFPA (US drug free powerlifting) - Deadlifting 625 lbs at a bodyweight of 205 lbs, and past age 40. The Trap Bar solved his way to training without aggravating old lower back injuries.


Gerard found that the Trap Bar could work his legs and hips extremely well, without aggravating his fragile back. In fact, his Trap Bar training replaced the Back Squat most of the year, even though he competed in powerlfting. He found he could squat 500lbs despite only training in the squat a couple months a year - the Trap Bar kept his legs strong.


The Trap bar has been championed by Hardgainer Magazine, Cyberpump, Bob Whelan's Natural Strength, Paul Kelso and Dr Ken Leistner.


Deadlift or Squat or "Squatlift"? : It's basically a hybrid of the deadlift and the squat. Very similar to doing squats with dumbells, except you can load up far heavier weights. It's a brilliant alternative to the Squat and regular barbell deadlift. Most people find the parallel grip very comfortable. On high rep sets, it can tilt backwards and forwards, but you can solve that with lifting straps. Although, obviously, it's gives your grip less of a workout.


Stuart McRobert says in Beyond Brawn "Do not consider the Trap Bar deadlift as just an alternative to the barbell squat. It is an outstanding exercise in it's own right....The Trap Bar deadlift is the equal of the squat for many hardgainers...In fact, it has the potential to be the number one productive exercise for many hard gainers"


How it works: Because you stand in it, rather than behind it - you can lower yourself down whilst keeping you back straight - rather than tilting forward like in the barbell squat and deadlift.


Again, I'll quote McRobert : "In any type of bent-legged deadlift with a Trap Bar there are some big advantages relative to the squat:


1. The Bar is held beneath the body rather than precariously near the top of the spine as in the squat, and thus there is no bar bearing down on you.

2. Good form is easier to maintain because the deadlift is technically less demanding than the squat

3. Spotters are not needed

4. No squat stands, power rack or safety bars are needed

5. The exercise is easily done from a dead stop at the bottom."

For home trainers it's by far the safest way to lift real heavy.


Trap Bar Exercises:


• Bent legged deadlift aka Squatlift - the main exercise as detailed above

• Stiff Legged deadlift

• Parallel grip upright rows

• Parallel grip high pulls

• Shrugs - Olympic lifter's staple - Paul Kelso has written a whole book about them.

• Farmers walk - load up and walk as far as you can. A 'finisher' as popularised by Dinosaur Training.

• You can even do overhead presses but will need to improvise some kind of rack to get it up to shoulder height.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing to note, while a trap bar CAN be easier on the lower back for some, it isn't necessarily guaranteeing it can't aggravate things. One of my nastiest lower back tweaks from my injured spot came from doing a farmer's handle deadlift, pretty much a trap-bar style lift, just with two separate handles held at the sides. In theory, it SHOULD have been easier on my lower back, but I still spent 3 weeks screaming every time I had to sit down or stand up


A decent device, but one thing's for sure, it's just one tool in the arsenal. Nothing wrong with using a trap bar, but for some, the carryover won't be much since it will definitely feel different as soon as you change back to a barbell!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...