The trap bar, miracle invention of Al Gerard, is a training tool that is becoming increasingly common in most gyms. Originally intended to facilitate deadlift training without stressing the lower back, the trap bar has in fact a myriad of other uses. Aside from your regular squats and deadlifts, here are 4 other exercises that you should definitely try with your friendly hexagonal steel buddy:
There are two things that can really mess up training with barbell rows: grip strength and gut size. The conventional bent row is performed with a pronated grip, which forces the lifter to rely on straps should the weight exceed his/her ability to hold on to the bar. The position of the bar at the top of the movement also makes achieving a full range of motion hard for those with larger guts. Using the trap bar circumvents both these shortcomings.
2. Stiff-legged deadlift + shrug combo
Nothing reeks strength like a yoked back and thick forearms. While regular deadlifts are plenty enough to build a decent amount of grip strength and trapezius muscles, adding a little variety via extra time under tension can really take your progress to the next level. By combining the stiff-legged deadlift with the shrug, your body doesn’t get a chance to rest the barbell on the floor while your trapezius and forearms work overtime to hold on to and move the load.
3. Farmer’s walk
While you can technically perform farmer’s walks with dumbbells or kettlebells, doing so omits one of the core features of loaded carries which makes it so effective — instability. Loading up a trap bar and walking with it in hand not only tests your ability to move it and your grip strength, but also your entire core’s ability to keep it from rotating left or right.
4. Shoulder press
Everyone and their second cousin knows the barbell overhead press and its dumbbell equivalent, along with the many variations in between the two. But did you know that the trap bar can be used for overhead pressing as well? If you’re not able to use as much weight as you’d like with neutral-grip dumbbell presses and pressing with a straight bar irritates your shoulders, then you’d love what the handle bar placement of the trap bar will be able to do for you!
The ability to train with heavier loads safely and effectively is one the main reasons behind the popularity of the trap bar. And while you can’t beat a steady diet of deadlifts and squats, adding some of these movements into your training regimen will allow you to make your workout just a little bit more complete — all without having to switch equipment!