Exercises You Should Be Doing: Trap Bar Deadlift



The word invokes strong opinions in trainers and trainees alike. Some believes deadlifts do everything short of curing cancer. Others believe they’re the ISIS of the exercise world.

The truth of matter is that deadlifts are fucking awesome. I think all the coaches writing for BroBible can agree that deadlifts should be a regular part of almost everyone’s program.

I believe everyone should be deadlifting.

Now before you jump down my throat for whatever reason you disagree with that statement, let me explain.

Notice I didn’t say everyone should be deadlifting, conventionally, from the floor, 600 pounds, for reps. The great thing about deadlifts is that there’s a different variation for every need, injury, body type, and mobility level.

And the one we’re talking about today provides the most bang-for-your-buck while also minimizing the risk of injury that can occur from poor coaching or improper form.

The Trap Bar Deadlift


The trap bar deadlift is a fantastic alternative to the conventional straight bar deadlift. Instead of the weight being centered in front of the hips like with a conventional deadlift, the trap bar deadlift places the weight over the center of the hips.

The biggest benefit to this is it makes how much you can lift more dependent on your legs, rather than your lower back. This places less stress on the spine and back, making it a great variation for those who suffer from lower back injuries.

Another advantages of the trap bar deadlift is it is superior for power development. With a straight bar, when you get towards the top of the lift, the bar decelerates as you get closer to your body. However, with the trap bar deadlift the bar never hits your body, meaning you don’t need to decelerate at any point during the movement.

The trap bar deadlift is also perfect for those with poor hip mobility (See: most people). In fact for a majority of the population, straight bar deadlifting is unnecessary and even dangerous. Conventional deadlifts require good mobility and proper coaching to achieve good form. The trap bar deadlift has a shorter learning curve and a lot less risk to those with less-than-ideal mobility.

Coaching Cues

  • Drop the hips. You don’t want high hips as this promotes more use of the lower back and less use of the legs
  • Pack the lats. You want to be pulling your lat muscles back and down. Think of trying to squeeze an orange in your armpits, or trying to put your shoulder blades in your back pockets.
  • Logo up. Keep your chest up. If I’m standing in front of you I want to see the logo of your shirt.
  • Drive into the floor. Focus on driving your feet hard into the floor. Try and “spread” the floor apart.
  • Grip hard. Squeeze the bar as hard as possible. This will help create tension.
  • Lower and reset. Lower the weight under control and take a second or two to reset before you do your next rep. This will help you maintain proper form. Trying to deadlift as fast as possible is a recipe for injury.

Deadlifts are the most beneficial exercise on the planet; probably the universe. But in order to get all the benefits you need to make sure you’re performing them correctly and safely. If you’ve struggled with conventional deadlifts in the past, I highly encourage you to give trap bar deadlifts a try.

Want to know what other exercises you should be doing? Send me an email.