Trap Bar vs Barbell Deadlift [Direct Comparison]

The trap bar and the barbell deadlift both use a similar motion, but they each have their own advantages and disadvantages.

The trap bar can be easier to learn because its movement originates from your hips and not your knees. This makes the movement more natural.

This also means that you can’t use as much weight with this type of deadlift, so if you’re just starting out, you may want to start with the trap bar.

The barbell deadlift is a little more complicated because it’s a bit more traditional in nature and uses less of your body weight for resistance.

Both exercises target muscles in the posterior chain including glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinal muscles.

However, there are some subtle differences between these two exercises which will be discussed in this article.

What is a Trap Bar Deadlift?

The trap bar deadlift is performed on the floor like the normal deadlift, but instead of using a straight bar, a “trap” bar (hence the name) with a hexagonal shape is used.

The trap bar makes it easier to keep the back straight and prevents rounding of the spine during the execution of this lift.

The trap bar deadlift is much more common than a traditional back squat because it does not require you to bend over as far to complete it.

The trap bar deadlift is a great way to work your hamstrings and glutes without having your balance be affected by a bar on your back or a heavy load on your shoulders.

This lift has been shown to have benefits for athletes of all levels because of its ability to increase hamstring flexibility and core stability.

Trap Bar Deadlift Benefits

  • Less strain on the lower back ✔️
  • It’s simple to learn ✔️
  • Less spinal flexion ✔️
  • It has the potential to reduce injury ✔️
  • They’re fantastic for gaining power ✔️
  • They do not cause you to lose your equilibrium ✔️

Trap Bar Deadlift Drawbacks

  • Smaller individuals may find the handles excessively broad❌
  • Sumo deadlifts are not permitted ❌
  • Less difficulty in terminal hip extension ❌
  • This product is not intended for use in competition ❌
  • They do not concentrate your posterior chain ❌

What is a Barbell Deadlift?

The barbell deadlift is an exercise that strengthens the back, legs, and hips. It is also one of the best exercises for strengthening your posterior chain.

There are two types of barbell deadlifts: conventional and sumo.

To perform a conventional deadlift, take a stance with your feet hip-width apart and keep your upper body straight as you bend at the hips and lower your torso to grab the bar with an overhand grip.

To complete a sumo deadlift, take a wide stance and grip the bar with an underhand grip as you bend at the hips and lower your torso to grab it.

Barbell Deadlift Benefits

  • Enhanced power ✔️
  • Balance has been improved ✔️
  • Lifts that are competitive ✔️
  • Reducing the amount of tension on the lower back ✔️
  • More Exercise Variations ✔️
  • Strengthened grip ✔️

Barbell Deadlift Drawbacks

  • They are more difficult to master ❌
  • More pressure on your lower back ❌
  • In the beginning, there is less power ❌
  • Unbalances may result from mixed grip ❌
  • increased chance of harm ❌
  • They may be unsuitable for those recuperating from lower back problems❌

What is the Difference Between a Trap Bar Deadlift and Barbell Deadlift?

trap bar vs barbell deadlift

1- Muscle Worked

It is a common misconception that trap bar deadlifts are less taxing than barbell deadlifts. This might be so because trap bars allow for a more natural back position and don’t require as much load to use as the barbells.

But we should not forget about the muscles that are used in both exercises, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, traps, and lats.

Barbell deadlifts require more work from these muscles because they’re supporting the weight of the barbell on your back throughout the set.

Trap bars can distribute this weight more evenly across your entire body by using your hips (quadriceps and hamstrings) and back (traps and lats).

2- Mobility

Both the trap bar and the barbell deadlift engage the hamstrings and glutes equally. The main difference is that the trap bar is simpler to use since it can be placed on a surface, while a barbell must be balanced on your back.

We also don’t know how much weight a barbell deadlift can raise vs how much weight a trap bar can lift.

Trap bar deadlifts have a limited range of motion and a greater demand for balance, making them an excellent method to improve your stability and mobility.

3- Grip

The grip on the barbell deadlift is wider than that of a trap bar deadlift.

This means that the grip on the barbell deadlift is more difficult to maintain and can lead to a decrease in overall performance.

The trap bar deadlift has a more secure grip, which makes it easier to maintain and perform better.

4- Weight Path

A trap bar is a great option for people who are looking to get into the sport of powerlifting without having to buy any new equipment.

The trap bar can also be more comfortable on the back for someone with back problems. The only downside is that the movement is not as natural as it would be on a deadlift.

The deadlift with a straight bar has more benefits in terms of being able to change the weighted path, which in turn will affect how much your hips have to work.

It also allows you to use your hands in a better way, which can be beneficial when trying to increase grip strength.

5- Competition Lifts

This is a very difficult topic to discuss, and we cannot say that one of the two exercises is better than the other.

The competition lifts are specific to certain situations, and it all depends on what you’re more of an expert in.

6- Accessory Lifts

The accessory lifts, such as deadlifts and overhead presses, can be done as a standalone exercise or as part of a workout routine.

The trap bar deadlift can be considered as an accessory lift for your workout routine while the traditional deadlift should not be used as an accessory lift but rather as a primary movement for developing strength and power.

Similarities Between the Barbell and Trap Bar Deadlift?

1- Strength

Strength is the ability to do or apply physical force. It is commonly measured in muscular strength, meaning the maximum amount of weight lifted per unit of time.

The similarities between barbell and trap bar deadlifts are both lifts work your whole body, but the trap bar deadlift targets more muscles than the traditional barbell deadlift.

2- Hip Hinge

The hip hinge is an essential part of any good deadlift because it allows you to generate maximum power by optimizing leverage and body position.

Conclusion

The trap bar deadlift is a good replacement for the traditional deadlift if you are experiencing any of these symptoms: back pain, wrist pain, shin splints, or difficulty locking out your knees.

A disadvantage to using a trap-bar is that it is not as effective for developing explosiveness or power.

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