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Opinion on the Trap Bar?

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  • Jordan Feigenbaum

    Thanks for the post and I can understand how it would be hard to parse through conflicting views. Here's my take:

    1) I have no preference of one over the other for general strength training, e.g. someone who is not competing in powerlifting, as they both have similar potential to increase muscular strength and size of the legs, trunk, and back- but neither has a significant advantage over the other.

    2) I'd have beginners do both if they had access to them, as there's no reason to specialize on one type of exercise for a new lifter. Specialization reduces motor learning, increases risk of overuse injury, and impairs long-term development.

    3) The trap bar doesn't engage anything "better" than the deadlift using a similar relatively load, e.g. 70, 80, or 90% of the 1RM for that exercise. Similarly, the regular deadlift doesn't engage anything "better" than the trap bar deadlift. They are about the same, though the specifics of each movement, e.g. the range of motion and movement pattern, will confer slightly different specific fitness adaptations. Nevertheless, we wouldn't expect any different in an nonspecific metric of performance like vertical jump height, running velocity, or split squat strength.

    You might want to pick up our Beginner Template and read the programming section in there and, additionally, listen to our programming podcasts. We cover a lot of this stuff in detail


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  • Spartan040
    started a topic Opinion on the Trap Bar?

    Opinion on the Trap Bar?

    Having watched both Mark Rippetoe's and Alan Thrall's videos on the trap bar deadlift, I find myself conflicted on the subject. I don't know nearly enough about physics and anatomy to say if trap bar is actually better/more beneficial, and safer, than conventional, or vice-versa, so I'm hoping you guys have some definitive answers.

    If you could only do one, which would you pick and why? Which might be better for beginners?

    Which one is actually safer in terms of preventing back tweaks? Does the trap bar encourage too much movement in the saggital plane?

    Does the trap bar actually engage the traps, lats, and upper back better?

    What's the difference in training effect? Supposedly the trap bar is "more athletic" (the US Sprint team apparently found more of a carryover to their sport from trap bar), and can be used as either a leg or back exercise depending on your hip angle.

    If someone is just training for general strength for life, and not competing in powerlifting, is there a good reason to do both conventional and trap bar?