Way back we discussed the utility of the trap bar and how you can use it to your advantage in Weightlifting. I want to take that a step further and discuss a few reasons as to why it is a good tool for pretty much any person to use.
1.) Weight Distribution
The trap bar is a great tool to use in the deadlift because it centers the weight in the middle of your center of mass and not in the front like a normal bar would. This can be beneficial because it can take some stress off the lower back that newer athletes may feel, and allows them to use (and feel) their legs a bit more in the deadlift. Some people can’t deadlift all of the time because of the stress it places on the lower back. The trap bar can be a great substitute to keep someone deadlifting without causing unnecessary damage.
Branching off from the last one, the weight displacement of the trap bar also allows an athlete or client to learn the technique of the deadlift, and a more athletic position in general. Most people can struggle with the deadlift right away because the bar is in front of them and they can’t get their shins forward enough to feel a “right” position. This typically results in someone bending through their back to get down to the bar. Because the trap bar allows an athlete to center themselves inside the bar, they can get their shins forward more, their back flat and their legs involved in the lift. If someone’s deadlift technique isn’t up to your standard have them try a trap bar first.
3.) Increased Total Load/Volume
Because the trap bar distributes the weight in the middle of your center of mass, and therefore doesn’t put as much load on the lower back, many people can get a lot more training out of it. This takes place in the form of intensity (more weight on the bar), and volume (total load moved in multiple training sessions). The traditional lifts like the back squat and straight bar deadlift can tend to beat athletes up and therefore they can’t do them as frequent. The trap bar can be a great tool to keep the intensity and volume of training high without beating an athlete down.
In training and more specifically strength sports there is this common notion that we have to stick to the traditional lifts with the barbell. I think this knowledge is a bit outdated and we can optimize our training a bit more by utilizing a few tools at our disposal. As discussed in this article, the trap bar is one of them. It is important to not get too attached to one training model that you can’t create the best possible outcomes for your clients. If you know the principles, as in this article how weight distribution can influence the biomechanics and stress demands on the deadlift, then you can have a better understanding of what tools can be useful to create the outcomes you want.