The hex-bar, also known as a trap-bar, has become a main staple for gyms all over the world. This is not a surprise to me; there is a better risk-to-reward in a hex bar deadlift compared to a regular conventional deadlift. I personally have used the hex-bar to deadlift ever since I began lifting. Why? because the hex-bar puts the weight center-line to your body, instead of in front of you. If the weight is in front of you, that will put your body at risk of spinal disk injury, which can be a severe injury. The hex bar also helps develop athleticism by putting your body in an athletic stance. The bottom portion of doing a jump.
However, one of the arguments that you see a lot of people in the fitness industry make is that the hex-bar deadlift is a quad-dominant exercise. Therefore should not replace the conventional deadlift with a hex-bar deadlift. That argument, in my opinion, is a misconception of what the hex-bar does. In an Instagram post by Dr. Eddie Joe of the CPP Human Research Lab, states that there is a slight activation of the quads/knee extensions. However, that does not necessarily mean that it is a quad-dominant exercise. If that were the case, it would be called a squat, not a deadlift. He states that it’s not the bar itself that makes a difference in quad activation, but rather the technique you use. So here are the three ways you can best utilize the hex-bar in your program.
Here is me demonstrating a traditional hex-bar deadlift. This gives the most quad activation out of all three of the variations.
This variation will allow you to activate the erector spine more than a traditional hex bar deadlift, but also keep the weight at the center of your body. To perform this, have a slight been in your knee and pull back with glutes while keeping your lower back straight.
Here is a hex-bar deadlift with someone holding the bottom handles of the hex-bar (some might not have this feature). This allows you to put your hips in a hinged position and creates a similar movement and range of motion to the conventional deadlift. Also to note the weight will tip back on you, which will also require more of your lower back, hamstrings, and glutes to stabilize.
So now that you know the benefits of a hex-bar, now it’s time to try out one yourself. If you want to add these three variations to your workout, then I suggest you call your local gym and see if they offer one. If they don’t, then you should be able to go on eBay or Amazon and purchase it for about 75 to 100 bucks, not including plates. It’s an investment, no doubt about that, but it’s an investment that a lot of my friends and I don’t regret doing. Also, make sure you use the proper form as always and lift with a purpose.
Tell me how you liked these variations down below!